I’ve heard the phrase “God’s gift to women” used quite a few times in my life. In all the times I’ve ever heard a woman use that phrase, I don’t think I’ve ever once heard it used in a positive way.
Who are women talking about when they describe a man as “God’s gift to women?” He’s a vain, arrogant, self-absorbed narcissistic man who believes that his appearance, and/or his wealth, and/or his success, and/or his fame, and/or his physique, and/or the size of his “equipment” – and heaven help you if you meet a man who checks off all of the above as applying to himself – make him irresistible to women. And, of course, once he’s gotten what he’s wanted from one woman, he’s off to be “God’s gift” to the next one. He might literally be narcissistic enough to reason that he’d be selfish to remain with one woman when there are so many others desperate for “the gift” that he believes he is.
That’s a shame and a tragedy, because the fact of the matter is that God truly intended men to actually BE God’s gift to women.
The purpose of the rest of what you read is to describe and explain HOW a man truly CAN be “God’s gift” to a woman.
I need to specify something in advance: what I will be talking about is how to be “God’s gift” to a GODLY woman. While one could reasonable argue that God created women to respond a certain way to the right kind of love and support, I believe that the Fall of Adam and Eve messed up both man and woman alike. And just as Lucifer rebelled even against God’s perfect love, I believe that an ungodly, unrighteous woman will rebel against even the most perfect man’s love.
If you’re a liberal, progressive, secular humanist feminist woman, I don’t have a doubt in my mind that you’ll reject the kind of man I’m going to describe who would be “God’s gift.” You reject God HIMSELF; of COURSE you will reject God’s gifts and any man who professes to believe in either of them – if not all men in general.
The kind of woman who will rejoice to find the kind of man I’m describing is the kind of woman who has placed her trust in Jesus Christ, been saved by Him, been filled with the Holy Spirit and made it the purpose of the remainder of her life to follow Jesus as His disciple and live according to His teaching in His Word, the Bible.
At some point, therefore, I need to talk about a woman’s proper response to the man who strives to be “God’s gift” to her according to God’s Word. But let me begin with the responsibility of a man to his wife.
The key verse is found in Ephesians 5:25, which says:
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her”
What does it mean to love your wife just as Christ loved the church?
To begin with, it means literally being willing to DIE for her. A husband’s duty is to literally lay down his life for his wife, if that’s what it takes to keep her safe.
Given the fact that a husband’s role model should be Christ, and that husband’s should love their wives the way Christ loved the church, another passage illustrates this concept as well as an even more radical one for a husband:
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” — Mark 10:45
The notion that a woman exists to serve and service a man is simply flat-out WRONG.
A godly husband SERVES his wife. A godly husband SACRIFICES for his wife. A godly husband lays down his life for his wife.
Let me now introduce a wife’s proper response to this kind of love and explain why it is the right response.
We actually have it told to us several times:
Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord — Colossians 3:18
Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. — Ephesians 5:22-24
In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. — 1 Peter 3:1-2
We are ALL – men and women alike – to submit to Jesus Christ. But the Word of God instructs godly women to be willing to submit to their husbands.
We don’t know precisely why that is. In the aftermath of the Fall, God cursed every participant (even including the earth that bore the two trees!). See Genesis 3:14-18. Particularly relevant to our discussion, God cursed the woman, saying:
“To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.” — Genesis 3:16
One might argue that “men rule over women” as part of God’s judgment/curse for Eve’s part in the rebellion against Him. But I do NOT believe that is what is being played out in a Christian marriage. Rather, I believe that Eve usurped her rightful role and God pronounced a curse – you could call it a factually correct prediction – on her sinful role in a sinful world system.
But women were ALWAYS intended by God to be helpers rather than the leaders of their men. God created the man first, and then He created woman as “a suitable helper” (Genesis 2:18).
Paul commented on this in another passage that liberal progressive secular humanist feminists find frankly evil:
But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. — 1 Timothy 2:12-14
Let me begin with the fact that St. Paul is NOT talking about a woman as a business leader or even as a political leader; he is speaking spiritually in a spiritual context.
What St. Paul is pointing out is that man WAS created first and intended by God to BE first and to LEAD. He created woman as a suitable helper, not as a usurper who would take man’s legitimate role away from him and unrighteously supplant him. And he further points out that there is something about man’s makeup and woman’s makeup that equips them to perform their God-given roles but that which KEEPS women from performing the roles that God intended men to have. There are many attributes about women that made them wonderful for the roles that God intends for them to have: they tend to be more compassionate than men, for instance, more gentle, less harsh. And these things and many other things that make women different from men are all good in themselves, and help balance men out in a godly relationship with women. But when women usurp men’s roles and rule over men, then these very good things become bad things: because all of these differences between men and women result in the fact that women are more easily deceived by Satan masquerading as a good, caring, sensitive, compassionate, sophisticated angel of light. The very same emotional and psychological differences that make women more caring also make them more likely to be spiritually deceived. Where men – who are more equipped and more empowered to stand up and FIGHT – see the true nature of evil more clearly.
Adam KNEW what he was doing was wrong. In his case his wife had already committed the deed and he frankly chose Eve over God. But Eve had been deceived to believe what she was doing was actually good.
I’d put it in its simplest form thus: the same sensitive nature of women that make them more sensitive to other points of view make them more open to deception from the wicked point of view that they are by their nature also more sensitive to.
We’re seeing that a great deal today. And the polls clearly demonstrate that women are on the wrong side of most of the most serious cultural departures from God, whether it be abortion or homosexuality or socialism where the State replaces God.
As a caveat, I submit that women can and should be pastors, but not senior pastors, according to the clear teaching of St. Paul. A woman pastor should be under the overall authority of a senior male pastor. That would satisfy the requirement of 1 Timothy 2.
That was a necessary digression to try to provide some grounds for explaining why God has ordained a system in which husbands do more leading and wives do more following. And I don’t state that because I’m a man and I get to rule over women; I say it because the Word of God says it. And since liberal progressive secular humanist feminists defiantly won’t place themselves under the Word of God, it is no wonder they will refuse to place themselves under any man, either.
That’s one nasty pill for any liberal progressive secular humanist feminist woman to swallow, I have no doubt whatsoever. It is clearly not even a very easy thing for a godly, Christ led woman to willingly choose: a submitted life.
But here’s how it should work in a biblical marriage:
A wife submits to her husband. Wherever there is more than one mind/soul, there needs to be a leader. If we always take a vote and we each get to do what we want, I’ll just skip to the end of the story and tell you what happens: divorce, where both “partners” choose to go their separate ways. It literally cannot end much any other way if taken to its conclusion, can it? Which is why our divorce rate is so sky-high in this “emancipated” age of ours.
So the biblical wife makes the choice to humble herself and submit to her husband.
And what should the biblical husband do? Should he rule over her, dominate her, make her his servant if not his slave?
Only if that’s how Jesus related to us, it is.
But that’s NOT how Jesus related to us.
The godly husband, recognizing that his wife made the sacrificial decision to submit to her husband and follow him, ought to LAY DOWN HIS LIFE FOR HIS WIFE. Every day and in every way.
She’s trusting him, trusting his leadership, trusting that he will take care of her, and will love her, and will protect her and lead in such a way that blesses her and seeks her highest good and well-being.
The godly man’s duty is to respond with “servant leadership.”
“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.
“The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?“
A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.
As a servant leader of his wife, as a husband who is willing to lay down his life for his wife, a godly husband makes every meaningful decision of his life with the blessing and happiness and joy of his wife and his family. He’s not seeking his good; he’s seeking HER good and the good of his FAMILY first. His needs come second to theirs.
A godly wife doesn’t tell her husband how to serve her. She doesn’t tell him how she needs to be blessed. She trusts him and she waits to see how he will bless her, what direction that blessing will take, how he will lead her to a better life and a deeper relationship with him and with their Lord.
And a godly wife will blossom and bloom and thrive with that kind of a husband. He will be God’s gift to her and she will thank God for him every day of her life.
What follows may not be a perfect analogy, but I had an opportunity to live this out for a young woman I know. Please understand, I am not trying to claim that every woman would be like the one I am describing below in the same situation.
She learned that I love to take frequent long hikes – and I’m talking ten miles – in the desert and she wanted to go with me on one of my hikes. She said that she had wanted to go hiking out in the desert for quite a while, but was afraid to go alone or even with another woman.
She knew I’d been a paratrooper – and presumably knew what I was doing – and that I am a Christian and she could trust me.
Anyway, due to the 110 degree heat of the Coachella Valley that’s routine in the summers, I usually leave around six o’clock p.m. I take my dog with me, and when you do all your sweating out of your tongue, you just can’t release enough body heat in the heat of the day. She needs late afternoon shade to get out of the direct sun and she just needs it a little bit cooler. If I leave early in the morning on one of these long hikes, I’ve got the same problem backwards: it’s pitch black when I would have to leave at 4 AM. Because by 8 AM it’s already baking and too hot for the dog. It’s easier to go in the early evening than an hour plus before the crack of dawn.
So we’re hiking along up the last of one of the few blind canyons I take – where you just keep going up and up and up but not so steeply that it’s overly hard to come back down – and it is getting DARK. It had just so happened that our first hike together occurred on an overcast evening right near a new moon. And the steep, high walls of the blind canyon just took what little light there was away. You could see the white sand beneath your feet, but the rest of the landscape was just pitch black.
And she began to become frightened.
During the daylight, she’d been peppering me with questions about coyotes and rattlesnakes – and I had told her how a couple of weeks before I had encountered two rattlesnakes on the same hike – along with a number of other questions such as how often I ran into scary men out here. I’d told her that a lot of guys shot guns in the area, and I think she had the idea of hillbillies in pickup trucks and then the people who came to shoot were of course driving pickup trucks. And when the darkness came it simply began to overwhelm her overstimulated imagination.
I stopped walking and asked her, “If I were to suddenly leave you right now – just walked away in the dark and left you on your own – would you be scared?”
And she said, “I’m scared RIGHT NOW. If you left, I’d be absolutely terrified.”
She also said, “Please don’t play any games with me.” And I could tell she was extremely frightened by her voice.
I assured her right away that I wasn’t playing any games – that only a true fool would play a vile game like that – and that I wasn’t going to leave her out of my sight until she was safe.
It was a good thing that she told me she would have been scared if I’d left her, because that helped make my following point a lot more impactful.
I made her a solemn promise: that as long as she was with me out there, I would protect her, I would take care of her, I would if necessary lay down my life to ensure her safety. I promised her that it would literally be over my dead body that anything would harm her.
And so I led the way home and she walked behind me, most of the time either holding my hand or my shirt. I know that she could see me in the dark, but I think she wanted some kind of physical connection as a form of reassurance. She was – appropriately I might add – most afraid of running into a rattlesnake. Unfortunately, they’re out the most during the same times that we tend to be out the most: in the evenings, nighttime and in the early mornings when it’s cooler. I’ve encountered dozens and dozens of rattlesnakes in the desert. You either deal with them or you stay home and hide. I told her to follow me, to walk behind me and follow my steps, so that I would be the one to deal with whatever was in our path. If there was a rattlesnake in the darkness, I would be the one to come upon it and deal with it. That was MY job. It was MY job to keep her safe and to put myself between her and anything that could harm her.
And that was where I gave her the example of a husband and a wife, and a husband leading while his wife trusted him to lead her. And I asked her to trust me. I was literally asking her to let me be what God wants me to be as a man.
We made it home, safe and sound. And she’s actually been on several of my long hikes since. She goes a little bit nuts with her flashlight – if there’s so much as one bush in the desert she doesn’t shine her beam at I would be shocked – but it’s truly nice to have her company. We’re not romantically involved, but it is still a considerably more pleasant walk than it is to be alone or to be with a male friend. It’s nice to be a man alone, it’s even nicer to be a man among other men; but there’s just something special about being a man with a woman who appreciates it when that man acts like a man.
Obviously, not every situation where a man and a woman are involved is like that. But it certainly provides a visceral illustration of how God wants a man to act. It’s not about the glory of leading; it’s about the duty to provide a place of safety and security. But as every gallant little boy who ever killed a spider for a girl knows, it feels good to be the noble knight in shining armor riding to the rescue of his damsel in distress.
The more fundamental question is how that knight acts when there’s no longer a spider to kill. Does he think he’s entitled to slavish devotion and gratitude for his wonderfulness? Because that is the worst possible attitude to have as a man. And of course women who encounter it very rightly resent it.
I digress at this point to mention that I actually prefer to follow the path of my dog – who has something like 100,000 times better sense of smell than I have to go along with her dramatically superior night vision and hearing – as opposed to overly relying on my flashlight. If there’s a rattlesnake, she’ll tip me off. I use my flashlight for brief spot checks to look for coyotes (their eyes glow green in the beam of the light) – who will try to lure her away from my ability to protect her. And when I see a coyote in the area I’ll put her on the leash rather than risk her racing off to possibly get ambushed by a group of killers.
It’s an interesting experience to be completely out on your own in the desert. For one thing it’s incredibly romantic, with the pitch black silhouette of the hills beneath a sky filled with stars unless a giant moon is crowding out their light. Sometimes its really spooky, with the wind making it seem like something is moving around in every one of the thousand shrub bushes all around you. I do my praying on these walks. I do my meditating. I do my reflecting. It’s just you and God.
I’ll also say this: in my youth, I went through my own “God’s gift to women” phase. I wasn’t interested in marriage because there were SO many women out there and I didn’t seem to have an awful lot of problems finding a new one. I took a lot of women for granted in those days.
But experience is a marvellous teacher. On the one hand, good decisions are invariably the result of experience; but on the other hand, experience very often unfortunately comes from making bad decisions. As you get older, you finally begin to appreciate things that you just weren’t capable of appreciating when you were younger and racking up all that “experience” from making all those bad decisions.
Now I know that a good woman is worth more than her weight in gold, that when you find the right woman, and the right woman finds you, you are a truly fortunate man. And if you treat such a woman as anything less than a queen, you are a fool.
Those final words don’t come right out of the Bible – although there are Proverbs such as found in chapter 18 and 31 that come real close – but they are very much in harmony with it: “A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds,” Proverbs 31:10 begins. And damn right she is.
I end this by pointing out a fact: that my mother is my life hero. I’m a mamma’s boy through and through. My mother was for all of my life and remains to this day a foundation of love, of integrity, of virtue that I have depended upon in times good and times bad. If it weren’t for my mother, if it wasn’t for her teaching when I was a child, for her prayers as I became older, I wouldn’t be saved.
Anyone who wants to demonize me as having some harsh, hateful attitude against women is simply profoundly wrong. I’ve got the Bible and I’ve got the noblest and godliest woman I’ve ever known on my side to tell me that.