This ‘godly woman thing’ is a pursuit that initially required more of me than I thought I wanted to give. Yet it has freed me from the tyranny of self and transformed me into a woman who fully accepts God as my Sovereign Sculptor and assents to His power in my life. Submitting myself completely to Him would be a scary proposition without an accompanying confidence that God is kind and good and always acts in lovingkindness toward His children. How can I know that I know that I can trust God as He sculpts me into a pillar fashioned for a palace? The answer is found in the nature of God – love – and in the way God has chosen to relate to His people – in covenant relation.
The covenant relationship is one of love and loyalty between God and His people. Initiated, established and guaranteed by God, a covenant is a sacred agreement between two parties. The whole Bible relates God’s covenant purpose: that His people be joined to Him in love relationship and enjoy eternal fellowship with Him. To be in covenant with God requires me to love Him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and to obey His commands. How? By accepting and applying God’s grace. What God requires from me, He always provides to me. He provides everything pertaining to life and godliness to one that seeks Him with all her heart.
The overwhelming reality of covenant is God’s personal love relationship with His people. God is not a dispassionate, distant deity! He is an ever-present, active participant in the lives of His people, and He guarantees to fulfill His promises to them. The Apostle Paul calls Jesus the “divine Yes, God’s affirmation. For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Him” (2Cor 1:19-20). Studying Scripture, choosing to get to know God as my covenant partner, finding out what promises He actually has made and seeing His perfect faithfulness gave me the confidence I needed to trust His love and His sovereignty. He cannot and will not act apart from the perfection of His love and loyalty to me as His daughter. For a girl who had been deprived of her father’s love and faithfulness, this was the best news ever!
Developing the confidence and courage to accept God’s design and to submit myself to Him was not an easy, quick process. Often it was painful. For when I learned a beautiful truth about God, I usually learned an ugly truth about myself. When I saw Him in His perfection, I was keenly aware of my imperfection. Sometimes it seems easier to hang on to your hurts and hang-ups than to humble yourself and receive the healing you need. Often I debated with God, doubted Him and discounted the importance of the sculpting process. But it remains the single most rewarding and transforming pursuit of my life. Want a life of purpose and power? Want to be fulfilled and flourish in what God has called you to do? Accept the cutting and shaping process as an expression of His love and faithfulness and prepare to experience the fullness of life lived as a pillar fashioned for His palace.
The characteristics of a pillar that I discovered progressively throughout Scripture reinforced that God’s ultimate design for me was magnificent. I spent time digging through Scripture to learn everything I could about each one. Then, I had to go through the RRR process – recognize, repent, and replace – for each one so the transformation I desired could be made real in my life. I had to recognize each of these attributes as God’s plan for me and to examine my belief and behavior. Did my thoughts, feelings and actions align with God’s plan? If not, why not? I had to confess any error in my thinking or acting, then repent (change my thinking and acting). Only then was I ready to submit to the power of His Spirit to effect the change in me, to replace my fleshly characteristics with Christ-like ones. This process sounds slow and tedious, and oftentimes it was. But hear me, friend, this is how transformation takes place. I look to Him for truth, turn from my fleshly thinking and acting, and He sculpts and adorns me with His beauty and bounty. Don’t shortchange yourself by shortcutting this process.
Oh, how I wish I could spend time with each of you to go through these truths together in depth! This phase of my ‘godly woman thing’ was exhilarating, and I pray the same for you. I’ve noted in bold each pillar characteristic, a biblical definition, and some supporting Scriptures. Take as much time as needed to complete the RRR process for each characteristic before you move on to the next. Enjoy!
Specifications – the particulars imposed on us which by definition make us unique and useful to God. As Elliot points out, a pillar is cut and shaped, differentiated and limited to fit certain specifications and function in a certain place for a unique purpose. Here’s the challenge: to accept gratefully and graciously the physical, circumstantial, and spiritual specifications God has chosen for you.
Physical – Embrace the fact that you are an original, knit together in your mother’s womb, fearfully and wonderfully made by God! He designed you and skillfully chose each of your characteristics with His purposes in mind. Yes, that means you accept His choices for you: hair, height, bone structure, nose, etc. Yes, it’s difficult not to reject, criticize or be miserable about the creative genius of God as expressed in your physical characteristics. But it is necessary, freeing, and life-giving. Need some RRR time here? Psalm 139:13-16
Circumstantial – All that happens is your life is ordained by God and is designed to prepare, protect, and perfect you as His workmanship (that which is masterfully made by Him). You and I are uniquely formed by God to display His image and His glory through our physical bodies and the circumstances of our lives. He fashions and ordains the course of our lives to accomplish His plan and purpose. Who your parents are, where you live, the particular challenges you have faced….. whatever the difficulties or delights of your circumstances, know that they are divinely appointed by God to conform you to the image of Christ. Perhaps RRR time again? Psalm 139:16, Eph 2:10
Spiritual – The key to willingly submitting to God as He sculpts us is found in the spiritual specifications God has for believers. You are the redeemed of God and in Christ you have been given a new identity, reality, and destiny. He has adopted you as His child (Eph 1:5); it is in Christ that you live and move and have being (Acts 17:28); and in Him all things in your life hold together (Col 1:17). He has chosen you and made you complete in Christ (Col 2:9-10). What a difference it makes in my life to know my true identity, to live in the reality of it, and to look forward to all God has for me! Are you living on the basis of your true identity in Christ? Are you living on the basis of the reality of His presence, power, and promises? Time for more RRR.
Submission – to rank under, to arrange under the command of a leader; to subject oneself with a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating; to obey. God is in charge; we are not. We are to acknowledge His authority, to align ourselves under it, and to accept what He gives. Submission is a heart attitude not merely a behavioral adjustment. Rather than striving to be in control, I must surrender myself to God in order to be in position to receive the blessings of obedience. How? Learning to live by the power of His Spirit and not walking in my own fleshly desires. Gal 5:16; Phil 2:13; 4:13. Major RRR for attitude adjustment?
Support – to carry or bear the weight of; to hold up; to give courage, faith, or confidence to; to help. God designed us to serve in a support position and equipped each of us with the most comprehensive support system – Himself. As our support, God enables us to fulfill our unique calling as a helper and a holder. Accept and apply this truth: The eyes of the Lord are moving to and fro throughout the earth that He might strongly support those whose hearts are completely His (2 Chron 16:9). He is your Helper and your Holder. On whom or what are you leaning for support? Psalm 54:4; 42:5, 11; 43:5. Lean on Him – RRR.
Strong – having power to resist strain, stress; inherent capacity to endure, to resist attack; toughness, durability. God is our strength and gives us strength. As we exercise our strength, He increases our capacity to endure and to resist stress, and He gives inner strength that expresses itself in joy no matter what the circumstances. Eph 3:16; Psalm 37:39; 68:35; Rom 5:1-5. Stressed out? RRR.
Stand – to set, to cause to stand; to maintain a specified position, attitude or course; to remain resolute or firm. To stand is a call to resolute uprightness, no matter what the circumstances, the emotions of the moment, or the attitude or activity of the rest of the world. God makes Himself known in the stillness and solitude of the quiet place. We must stand still before Him. Our relationship with Him is deepened and strengthened when we do. 1 Kings 19:11-12; Psalm 46:10. Be still and RRR.
Stable – not easily moved, firm, steadfast; not likely to break down, to fall apart or to give way; firm in character, purpose or resolution. God has established (made stable) believers in covenant that we may stand steadfast and faithful, walking by faith not feelings. Your emotions will lie to you. God gave us emotions to enhance us, not enslave us. He has established us in truth that we may walk in hope and peace. Psalm 11:19; 16:8; Isa 26:3-4; 1 Cor 15:58. Falling apart? RRR.
Sound – thorough, solid, substantial; morally strong, honest; excellent in nature and character; based on truth or valid reasoning, free from mixture of error, reliable. All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in Christ, who reveals Himself to you so that you may apply His truth in all areas of your life. Every decision you make must be based on sound wisdom. Applying sound wisdom is the process of learning and living out God’s precepts. Job 12:16; Psalm 119; Proverbs. Need sound wisdom? RRR.
Splendid – shining, lustrous, brilliant, magnificent, gorgeous; grand, glorious. God created us for His glory and adorns us with His beauty that we may be pillars fit for His palace. Pillars that have accepted God’s idea of them and live out His principles by His power are radiant! Psalm 34:5; 45:13. Time to shine! RRR.
I sincerely hope you’ll take the time and put in the work to present yourself to the Lord for this transformation process. May the beauty and glory of the Lord be reflected in your life as He sculpts you into a godly woman, a pillar fit for His palace – His masterpiece.
Thanks, Megan, for the time and space to tell of the Lord’s greatness. To God be the glory!