Social media is full of chatter and many opinions. In the realm of Christianity there is much chatter about gender roles and women in the church. People take sides in these issues and write their opinions, arguments or come-backs to someone else’s opinions or arguments. There is so much time spent in circling the wagons around these issues that we lose the gospel in the battle.
Are there issues in the church to be discussed concerning gender roles and women? Yes, absolutely. My point is that the amount of time and energy spent on these issues would be better served spent in promoting the gospel. When we spend too much time on issues, the issues take a greater place in our thinking than the gospel. We can’t live this life well without our thinking being saturated with the gospel daily. The issues of the day will change but the gospel is eternal. If we put our thoughts and efforts on the eternal, these issues will be and can be discussed from a different perspective.
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:1-2
The gospel is defined by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 as being the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Those of us who have been called to believe this gospel have been made into new creations.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 God makes us new in that we are no longer bound by sin but are now free to not sin as Christ lives in us. This is our new identity. We become followers of Christ and with Paul can say, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21
Our identity in Christ should be the engine that drives all we do in our lives. It affects our understanding of issues. This driving force is strengthened in us when we take the time to study the Word of God and put the principles into practice. As we do this then everything we speak of has the gospel driving it. This is the road of progressive sanctification. We are to put-off old habits of sin and put-on righteous deeds. This is a lifelong process for all of us. As we walk this road, we should focus on our identity so that we grow to be more like Christ.
The truth is we focus elsewhere on a daily basis. We are more focused on what we want or issues we think are unjust than on who we are in Christ. We focus on what we want in our lives not on what God desires in our lives. The focus that we have has to be the lens of the gospel. If it isn’t then we spend more time on issues and opinions than on truth. The gospel is truth and whatever we discuss should be run through that grid. The truth is issues don’t save only the gospel saves.
Our chatter should be about Jesus and what He has done to set us free from sin. This is truth and not opinion. Jesus changes things in our lives even our opinions. He can lead us in a way that brings Him glory and is for our good. Remember when Jesus spoke with Martha. She was so concerned about her service and need for help. She was accusing Jesus of not caring because her sister, Mary, was sitting at his feet. But Jesus said to her, “…Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary, Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42 Do you see the focus? The focus was to be Jesus. It is the same today with so many opinions about so many issues. We need to get back to the gospel and make the focus Jesus.
What is the gospel message for women? Believe in Christ, love God and love others. Life is more about God and others than about me. Are we spending enough time pursuing this gospel? Can we discuss issues of gender roles and women in the church? Yes, but not without the gospel being the driving engine. When the issue becomes my soap box, then I need to look down because I’m standing on my idol. What’s the problem? The idol won’t hold me up, only Jesus can do that.