Womanhood Series: Bearing the Image of God on Campus
original photo by anna hughes
BY ANNA MAITLIN HUGHES
The gospel of Jesus Christ calls us to a womanhood of authenticity and boldness. Wimpy theology will only make for wimpy women. So what does it mean to be solid women grounded in doctrine and theology that propels us toward the Lord? As women in college, often surrounded by shallow hearts and wimpy theology, could we be so brave to ask God for a deepening of faith? Here are eleven questions and truths to challenge us in this season:
1. Is our entire life devoted to the glory of God?
God is jealous for his glory and, as king of creation, he deserves it. Culture, on the other hand, bids us to come and live for the glory of self: grades can define us, Instagram likes can easily determine our worth, and sexual pleasure can be our god. But if we have been transferred from the domain of darkness to light, then by grace, we are called to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord (Colossians 1:10). By doing so, we glorify God by consistently pointing to the life, death, and resurrection of his son Jesus.
2. Can we say that we delight in Scripture?
Does it bring us joy to know that we have a Spirit-inspired book that is living, active, inerrant, able to refine and redefine our hearts? Do we meditate on the truths within day and night (Psalm 1:2-4)? Let the Bible challenge and change us. In a season where we run from one activity to the next, filling our schedules with yoga class, Starbucks runs, and brunch eateries with friends between classes, we need to intentionally create space to delight in the living Word of God; it will change everything.
3. Do our hearts overflow with prayer?
We should be women constantly interceding for others around us, making known to our father the joys of our thanksgiving, the anxieties of our hearts, and the troubles of our sisters. Do we rejoice always,pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances in the secret space of our dorm rooms or apartments (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)? Let’s bend the knee and approach the throne, asking God to move in powerful ways in our hearts. Let’s pray for the sister who is struggling with a porn addiction or intercede for the small group member whose mom was diagnosed with cancer. Let’s be bold and intentional.
4. Do we view sex as sacred and something to be treasured?
Culture says that sex is casual and for pleasure and experimentation. God says it should be upheld by the covenantal bond of marriage (Hebrews 13:4). This bond has been established from the beginning of creation, when God made one partner, a woman, for Adam (Genesis 2:18-25). This covenantal bond is still relevant today, because it points to Christ and the church. Marriage is sacred and designed to point to holiness, so therefore sex is sacred and designed to point to holiness. Do we live our lives and protect our honor in a way that reflects God’s heart on sex?
5. Is our self-worth built on other people’s opinions or a cultural standard?
Satan can whisper lies of self-doubt on a daily basis. Has a relationship left us feeling worthless and sexually objectified? Maybe the pressure to excel in our degree stacks on heavy shoulders? A woman is not defined by an outward beauty, or accomplishment, or an inward worth. Instead, a woman’s value is defined by her king. She has been shaped and formed, before time began, by a God who knows even the hairs on her head (Psalm 139:13-16). Through the power of the Holy Spirit, let us flee from the devil and his lies, and cast our gaze to the God who defines us.
6. Are we passionate about the sovereign nature of God?
He is creator of the universe, yet he still holds together the very intricate details of our physical nature and hears us when we cry out to him. He knows our words before they are even on our tongue and is acquainted with all of our ways (Psalm 139:4). Though such knowledge will always be too high to understand (Isaiah 55:8-9), we should not excuse ourselves from thinking on the doctrines of Scripture. We should love and treasure the divine characteristics of God, for without them, we would be hopeless. As college women, this sovereignty should hold us steady in times of doubt, confusion, pain, and longing for direction in life. Nothing escapes the providential hand of our father – not a moment of sickness, a single heartbreak, or even natural disaster. He holds us steady.
7. Does the grace of God stir us to love others, both friend and foe, on a daily basis?
Selflessly loving others points them to the love of the Lord. We are not called to half-hearted kindness or apathetic love; instead, we must intentionally pursue others in a spirit of deed and truth (Matthew 5:16, 1 John 3:18). We can look for opportunities to share God’s love by striking up conversations with those around us. When someone gossips about us or a professor treats us unfairly, could we boldly love anyway? Let the gospel propel us toward kindness and kingdom-minded intentionality.
8. Are we radically devoted to seeing the Lord glorified in our lives?
We must not be crippled by our relationship status. Within many Christian circles, marriage can feel expected for the twenty-somethings. The world begs for sex or personal fulfillment to define the relationship. While society sets standards on dating that are false and shallow, we can live for a higher calling. Though marriage is a good desire, the call to glorify Christ is higher and applies to all. We must cast aside the lies of the world and Satan’s whispers. Marriage will come in due time, if the Lord wills. Until then, our call is to glorify the Lord, in whatever relationship status, and with sexual holiness and honor. Christ is our life (
9. Do we work in a manner as for the Lord?
We are called to glorify the Lord and not ultimately work for man (Colossians 3:23). Our attitude about work can convey a lot, whether in the classroom, bussing tables on the weekends, working full-time, or at home. Can our coworkers and peers see a Christ like attitude from us? Has the Lord captured our hearts? Has God become our exceeding joy, overflowing into every corner of our daily lives?
10. Do we let our friends wound us in accountability?
There is a sister that is sweeter to the spirit than others; she holds nothing back for the sake of our heart and spiritual growth. Letting her in is the tough business, for she will point to higher living and call sin into the light. It’s a vulnerable relationship to welcome, but her friendship is too sweet to pass up (Galatians 6:1-2). Let’s be accountable to one another in the hard things, like sexual sin, gossip, or a lack of kindness. Sin is real, Satan is prowling, and trials are promised to come, so let’s walk with one another in love.
11. Are we committed members to a local church?
There is a great disconnect between young adults and the body of Christ. More often than not, infrequency is the theme and inconsistency is the heartbeat with this demographic. In my own church, out of the eight-hundred and fifty that gather regularly for worship, three-hundred and seventy-five of them are college students; however, only about thirty-five percent of that number are covenant members. So, let’s break the mold and find joy in serving those around us, while taking the time to know others and be known in return. This is the call we have as believers to be a part of the bride of Christ (Ephesians 4:1-7). We can also lean in to older women in the body; learn from their heart and reap from their harvest of life experience (Titus 2:3-4).
Awoman saved by grace is brought into the family of God, adopted as a daughter, and made a citizen of a heavenly kingdom, awaiting an eternal crown of glory. Women of any season of life are intended for this full, godly womanhood. This womanhood does not start when we graduate college, get married, or secure a “big girl job.” Now is the time; college is the season to throw away wimpy womanhood and begin deepening our walk with the Lord. He is a good father who longs for his daughters to know him intimately. So take heart, my sister. Dive in with me. There is abundant life ahead.