Real Women: What They’re Like & How To Become One…
Introduction: Henri Nouwen Quote
“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”
And to be a friend like the one in the quote above, we need to be real men and real women.
1. Why We Are Talking About This: We learned in January during the series on “Knowing Yourself” that God made us in His image, that we are priceless masterpieces of God because of this, that God made us to know/love Him, be like Him, and represent Him on earth, and that our potential is to shine for Jesus like stars in the universe.
But we didn’t specifically learn what it means to be a real woman and a real man—what are they like, and how do I become one?
And the only way we know this is to look at examples of those who are, and who have become, real women and real men. We don’t have to start from scratch in figuring this out—we can learn from those who have gone before us. Just as scientists build on the work and understanding of previous scientists—each generation of scientists doesn’t start from scratch!—we to will look at those women and men, in the Bible, to learn what it means to be a real woman and a real man.
Illustration: Real & Counterfeit Money: Do you know how bankers know which money is counterfeit—fake—and which money is real? They don’t study the fake copies; they study and learn the real ones. Then, once they know what real money looks like, they can never be fooled by the fake stuff.
Young ladies, there’s a lot of counterfeit money out there, and it looks great on the outside, but it is fake, not real, and cannot help you get what you need and want. Similarly, there are a lot of counterfeit women out in the world who might look great on the outside but are not as real in their character and minds and hearts as God wants them to be. But God has made you to be real women so that you can reflect God to the world & enjoy this life completely as an amazing woman of God. How does that sound!?
2. For The Girls: So please listen up, my friends—I believe and pray that you are going to be amazed at what God has made you to become—real women of God! And I hope that you will look for other girls in school and at church here who have these qualities because being friends with them will have positive effects on you! I have three young daughters who are already on their way to becoming amazing women of God, but they need older ladies to show them the way, to show them what the real deal looks and acts like. Will you show them?
3. For the Guys: Now please listen up, gentlemen—please don’t check out this morning that think you have nothing to learn! Listen closely because the characteristics of real women that you will learn about today are the ones you want to look for as you start to be friends with girls more and more and as you begin to look for a wife someday. Choosing a godly wife is one of the best, most important, and most powerful decisions you will ever make, so no snoozing this morning!
Characteristics of Real Women
So we are going to look, where else, to the Bible to learn what a real woman looks like. After we briefly look at the phenomenal lives of some “ordinary” women whom God did great things through, you will see that women play an extremely important role in the Bible. You will see that in this Book women are co-stars with men in important roles, not just “bit parts,” in God’s story of saving and healing a lost and hurting world.
Scripture: Acts 18:24-28 (NIV): “Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.
When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. On arriving, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. For he vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.”
Scripture: Romans 16:3-5 (NIV): “Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. Greet also the church that meets at their house.”
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 16:19 (NIV): “The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house.”
Question: So what do we learn about the woman Priscilla from the passages above?
A. A teacher of God’s Word to an up-and-coming pastor named Apollos!
B. A generous friend
C. A tent-maker with her husband
D. A fellow worker for Jesus with her husband
E. Risked her life for Paul (and all the churches are grateful!)
F. Worked & ministered powerfully with her husband
G. Generously allowed a local church to meet in her home
What an amazing woman of God!!!
Scripture: Luke 1:5-7, 23-25, 39-45, 57-61 (NIV): “In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly. But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years.”
“When his [Zechariah’s, the husband of Elizabeth]time of service was completed, he returned home. After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. ‘The Lord has done this for me,’ she said. ‘In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.'”
“At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!'”
“When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy. On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, but his mother spoke up and said, ‘No! He is to be called John.’ They said to her, ‘There is no one among your relatives who has that name.'”
Question: So what do we learn about the woman Elizabeth from the passages above?
A. Born with a great family history of loving God—part of the priesthood of Aaron
B. Not perfect, but faithful & obedient to God in the details of her daily life
C. Honored by God to be the mother—in old age!—of John the baptizer who was talked about in the Old Testament!
D. Filled with the Holy Spirit
E. Humbly gave credit and thanks to God when she was blessed with a child
F. Had great faith in God that Mary’s son Jesus was the Savior of the world even before He was born!
G. Was a great wife to her husband—how else could Zechariah be honored as a priest?
H. Was a great mother to her son—how else could John have faithfully obeyed and loved God as a young man?
I. Was filled with joy and peace
J. Was strong to handle peer pressure & obey God even when others told her not to!
K. Was courageous to dare to speak up and do the right thing & risk her reputation
L. Was gracious and patient as she opened up her home to Mary for three months!
M. Was humble and secure enough to accept help from a younger person!
N. Persevered and didn’t give up on loving and trusting God even though she experienced serious pain and disappointment at not having any children
O. Modeled to her niece Mary how a real woman of God looked & acted
Let’s look at one more real woman from the Bible (but there are many more!):
Scripture: Luke 2:36-38 (NIV): “There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.”
Question: So what do we learn about the woman Anna from the passage above?
A. Was chosen and gifted by God—she was a female prophet!
B. Had a great and deep love for God—she chose to worship, fast from food, and pray at the Temple every single day!
C. Was thankful to God
D. Was excited about God making the world right again
E. Had great faith in God—believed Jesus to be the Savior even when He was just a little baby!
F. Was courageous, wise, and strong—she told others about Jesus!
G. Was honored by God in her old age. So don’t stress about getting older—God can still do great things through you!
Wow Wow Wow!
Question: So now we know some of the great characteristics of real women…but how do we become one? How do we get those characteristics in our own lives?
How to Become a Real Woman
1. Surrender (or Rededicate) Your Life to Jesus
A. The Bible is not meant simply to be a book to teach us how to live; it is first and foremost THE Book that helps us understand how to get reconciled (reconnected) to God and that we NEED to get reconciled (reconnected) to God.
Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:15 NIV: “…how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
2. Read the Book (The Bible)!!!
A. Pepto Bismol & Vitamins:
This medicine only works when we drink it, not when we simply know that it exists, have it on our shelf at home, carry it around with us, or even read the label. It only heals us when we actually drink it!!! Also, vitamins only nourish us when we actually swallow them once per day consistently over time. They do not do much good when we take them every once in a while!
B. Basketball & Football:
Some athletes literally carry around a basketball or football everywhere they go to get used to the feel of the ball and to learn to take care of it; to not lose it! So how about carrying the Bible around with you everywhere you go? You just might read it more when you have nothing to do, you just might use it for those moments when you are bored…
You don’t get stronger by having a membership to a gym or owning weight machines at your house—you get stronger by actually doing the exercises, using the weights, and working hard at it!
D. Musical Instruments:
You don’t learn to play an instrument simply by buying one, or even by going to music class. Eventually, you have to pick up the instrument and put what you’ve learned into practice. If you don’t, you really won’t be able to play!
3. Ask God for Help—Daily!
4. Ask Others to Tell You How You Are a Real Woman Already!
5. Journal About Where You Succeed & Fail at Real Womanhood!
6. Ask Your Mom or an Older Christian Woman to Meet & Pray with You!
7. Invest Quiet Time Each Day Listening to Jesus & Sitting In His Presence!
A. Pots ‘n Pans:
When a pot or pan is especially caked with hardened grease and other foods, it’s usually better to soak the pot or pan overnight in soap and water to loosen up the caked on food; do not try and scrape them clean right away or you will damage the pot, ruin the sponge, and get yourself frustrated and in a bad mood!
Similarly, the more we soak in God’s presence through prayer, silence, and Bible reading, the more He will loosen up the hard (disobedient) parts of our character so that He can make us the real people He wants us to be!
8. Choose Friends Who Have the Qualities of Real Women!
Scripture: Proverbs 27:17 NIV: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
Closing Challenge: Making the Choice:
-Scripture: Jeremiah 23:18, 29 (The Message):
“’Have any of these prophets bothered to meet with me, the true GOD?
bothered to take in what I have to say?
listened to and then lived out my Word?’…
…’Nothing else is like God’s Decree.
Isn’t my Message like fire?’ God’s Decree.
‘Isn’t it like a sledgehammer busting a rock?’”
Young women, I hope that you are excited about being a woman, a real woman in God’s Kingdom and in God’s family!
It is a glorious privilege, an exciting honor, a thrilling adventure, a dangerous role, and an important part.
But you cannot take part in it completely, you cannot have the full joy that Jesus offers you if you do not become a real woman, if you are content with being like most of the gals on t.v., in movies, in the music industry, & on the magazine covers;
You cannot experience the complete thrill of following Jesus if you do not become a real woman, if you are content with being just like everyone else;
And you cannot become a real and complete woman if you do not read
this Book (the Bible),
if you do not grow in your love for Jesus,
if you do not spend time with Him.
So will you choose to become a real woman?
Will you risk popularity,
as these women in the Bible did,
to become the real women who
Jesus made you to be?
If you do,
you won’t regret it, &
you won’t be alone!!!
Other Real Women of the Bible For Future Study:
4. Mary (Mother of Jesus)
5. Proverbs 31 Woman
Small Group Questions: Real Women
1. Tell me something interesting or confusing from the lesson.
2. So what does it mean to be a real woman?
3. Why is it important to be a real woman?
A. Not being a real woman makes your life less
Fun (true fun, because sinful fun eventually gets boring and leaves us feeling empty)
Powerful (Impacting Others)
B. Not being a real woman brings more of the following into your life:
4. Where do you find out what it means to be a real woman?
5. What were some of Esther’s characteristics from the Bible?
6. Do you want to be a real woman? What will you do to become one?