Sisters in Christ

I’m not the first, nor will I be the last, to make the obvious claim that being a woman is hard. The value of womanhood is constantly overlooked and dragged down from all angles, both historically and today. Some view women as less worthy than men, while others only deem women valuable when exhibiting male traits. In this broken world, there is little to no appreciation for the uniquely feminine gifts that God has given to women.

God understands our struggle, and we can find refuge and strength in Him (Psalm 46:1), but He has also provided us with another gift to help us in our Christian walk: female ministry. Women’s life experiences, dispositions, roles, and expectations are drastically different from men’s, and this is true both in and out of the church. This means women can feel less comfortable or understood when confiding in men; women need safe female friendships in which they can know each other closely and build each other up in our walks with Jesus.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!”
—Ecclesiastes 4:9–10

This passage from the Old Testament demonstrates the clear need for genuine, intimate friendships. Oftentimes, we might find ourselves not taking friendships as seriously as other commitments in our lives; friends are there to have fun with, study with, share memes with—they don’t require serious work. But here, Solomon reminds us that friends are in fact crucial to our lives, especially as Christians. We are stronger when we are united, and can achieve so much more with the support and wisdom of close friends. The latter half of the verse focuses on the ways that Christian women can help each other during difficult times. In order to provide this assistance, we must make conscious efforts to develop our relationships with one another, so that when the inevitable fall occurs, we are close enough to notice, address, and lift up our fellow women.

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
—James 5:16

Accountability is one of the most important aspects of female ministry. God commands us to be honest and confess our sins to one another, not for the sake of being shamed, but so that we may be better equipped to fight that sin moving forward. When women share their battles with sin, we can share deeply that which we might not feel comfortable sharing in front of men. With Christian female relationships, we can create an intimate environment in which we are able to be honest, and in turn keep watch for, pray over, and ensure we are living in a godly way. Women are called to speak God’s truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) into each other’s lives to protect and strengthen our sisters in this broken world.

“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good.”—Titus 2:3

Later in this passage, Paul goes on to say that older women are to train younger women in how to live in a godly way in all aspects of their lives. It presents a biblical model of women teaching women that we are instructed to participate in; female friendships among peers are valuable, however, there is another type of female relationship that is not only encouraged but in fact commanded in the Bible, and that is mentorship style relationships between older and younger Christian women. Wisdom is with the aged (Job 12:12) and having those ahead of you in the Christian walk is an invaluable tool to your own journey. Younger women can glean wisdom from older Christian women about situations that they might have experienced themselves, or may know someone who has. Older women can also set strong examples and be powerful forces in shaping the pathways of those that God has placed in their sphere of influence. These examples serve to not only nurture Christian women, but also protect the witness of the church to the rest of society. Christian women behaving in loving, forgiving, and respectful ways speaks as a powerful witness to the love of Jesus and His gospel, which is our primary calling as Christians on this earth.

This article doesn’t seek to discourage Christian women from gaining advice from those who don’t share your exact beliefs. Of course, relationships with people from all walks of life are important, special, and enriching, but they are not a replacement for Christian fellowship. You may have already found yourself in situations where you have struggled to cope because the advice received from friends was fundamentally at odds with Christian values. This can lead to feeling unheard, lost, or perhaps even making choices you later regret. By building relationships with older Christian women, you can share your true heart in its position relating to Jesus, and receive guidance that you can trust is in line with God’s word and desire for your life.

It’s also important to note that every female Christian is at once a younger and older woman; there will always be women to minister and to be ministered by. Consider which women in your life are providing Christian mentorship to you, and any younger women you know who God may be calling you to disciple in turn. As we pass on spiritual maturity and share God’s love with one another, an accountability chain is established and—returning to Ecclesiastes 4:12—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

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