When I was growing up in the 70’s/80’s, the “Women’s Lib” movement, which started in the late 60’s, was gaining momentum & starting to become enmeshed in our lives. Most kids don’t think too much or question their culture & environment, but it’s funny how certain things get imbedded in one’s mind without even realizing it at the time. I remember a commercial for the perfume Enjoli getting stuck in my head. In this ad a beautiful woman sauntered around and sang, “I can bring home the bacon—fry it up in a pan—and never, never, never let you forget you’re a man because I’m a woman—Enjoli.” The tag line for Enjoli was: “The new 8 hour perfume for the 24 hour woman”. I grew up with 3 brothers (& a sister too) in a highly competitive family where ‘sports ruled’, being that my Dad was head of the Phys. Ed. Dept. & head football coach at our high school so naturally I was drawn to scenarios where females getting the upper hand (in any form) was appealing. With these commercials and TV shows like Charlie’s Angels being popular as well, I bought into the lie that women could do anything men could do (& look great doing it)!
If we go back to the beginning, in the garden, it was the woman who was deceived by Satan’s 3 lies, not Adam (Gen. 3:1-7, 13, 1 Tim. 2:14, 2 Cor. 11:3). Adam knowingly disobeyed God by going along with Eve without objecting as he should have (Gen. 3:6, 12, 17, Rom. 5:12). This demonstrates that even being the weaker vessel, a wife has the power to influence her husband (and not always for good) (1 Pet. 3:7). A horrible example of this can be found in Jezebel and her evil influence on her husband Ahab (1 Kings 21:25). The pattern that’s needed for women to emulate is the one found in Proverbs 31:10-31, the Ideal Woman or “Virtuous Wife” (virtuous meaning “strong in moral qualities”). This ‘homemaker’ was no slacker. She took care of herself so that she was able to take care of what she was entrusted (vs. 17, 22, 30): tending to her husband (as a helpmate the way God originally designed) (vs. 10-12, 23, Gen. 2:18, 20-24); willingly working tirelessly with her hands to manage her household efficiently (vs. 13-21, 24-25, 27-28); and giving to others outside her household (vs. 20). Her outward appearance of strength & honor (vs. 25) emanated from her inner dependence on the Lord, knowing that the strength to accomplish all she did came from Him (vs. 30, Prov. 14:26, 1 Pet. 3:2-4).
As important as it is to take care of ourselves (by getting enough of the right exercise) so that we’ll be up to the physical tasks that we’re entrusted with in this life, it’s the spiritual life of the inner man/woman that’s most vital (1 Tim. 4:8). The apostle Paul prayed that the Ephesian believers would be strengthened in this area (Eph. 3:16). Thankfully we’re not left to live the Christian life in our own strength, just as salvation is not through our own efforts; rather a gift from God (Eph. 2:8-10). Our duty then is to reckon our flesh (the old sinful nature) as dead—much like a baseball that’s ‘out of play’ and instead alive unto God, through Christ. Only then can God’s resurrection power operate mightily through us to fulfil the good works He’s prepared in advance for us to walk in (Rom.6:6-11, Eph. 2:10). Daily feeding upon God’s Word continually along with diligently rightly dividing it, will renew our mind with His truth which will enable us to stand against the wiles of the devil and not get entangled with the affairs of this life (Rom. 12:2, 2 Tim. 2:15, 4, Eph. 6:10-11).
God’s ways are contrary to the world’s ways. It’s the humble who are lifted up (not the prideful) and the weak who are given strength (not the powerful) (1 Cor. 25, 27-31, James 4:6-7, 10, 1 Pet. 5:5-9, Phil. 2:5-11). It’s through the weak, earthen vessel that places their faith in God (not in self or man) where God’s mighty power is best displayed (2 Cor. 4:7). Those listed as faithful and commended in the book of Hebrews “out of weakness were made strong” (Heb. 11:30-34). Unique to the Christian life is a risen Savior Who can sympathize with our weaknesses, as he too was tempted according to all things, like we are, yet did not sin (Heb. 4:15, Phil. 2:5-11). The apostle Paul had no confidence in his flesh (Phil. 3:4). He knew that the Lord’s strength was made perfect only in weakness & that God’s grace was sufficient for him (2 Cor. 12:9). Paul was able to fight a good fight, finish the course God had entrusted him with, and keep his faith due to the strength he received through Christ (2 Tim. 4:7, Phil. 4:13, 2 Tim. 4:17). We can as well when we’re mindful of putting off the old nature, renewing the spirit of our mind, and putting on the new nature that’s equipped with the armor and strength of God (Eph. 4:22-24, 6:10-17).
So outsource your strength from One Who is Almighty and be strong in the power of His might (Ps. 24:10, Isa. 40:26, Eph. 6:10).