Thursday, May 04, 2006

A challenge I will take...

A few weeks ago I found this challenge from Pastor John Piper. I have been reading it frequently and decided this morning that I will read it two times a day for the next 30 days. In the morning I will read it as a prayer, asking the Spirit for His strength to be more like Christ. In the evening I will read it as an evaluation to see what I did well and where I need to improve. It is quite lengthy, but well worth it for any woman who wants to become more like Christ in EVERY area of life. Idleness is a woman's destruction in so many ways and if one sets her heart on trying to accomplish everything on this list--- she shall NEVER have a moment to spare. She will also know Christ intimately, give freely of herself to others, love her husband and children to the fullest and find avenues for ministry wherever she goes.

Precious Savior, make more more like Christ and transform me into a woman who loves You with body, soul and spirit until I am completely abandoned to You. This is the cry of my heart and I want to do nothing but strive towards this goal!

I have highlighted what I see as the main point of each particular challenge.

A Challenge to Women
by John Piper

That all of your life—in whatever calling—be devoted to the glory of God.

That the promises of Christ be trusted so fully that peace and joy and strength fill your soul to overflowing.

That this fullness of God overflow in daily acts of love so that people might see your good deeds and give glory to your Father in heaven.

That you be women of the Book, who love and study and obey the Bible in every area of its teaching. That meditation on Biblical truth be the source of hope and faith. And that you continue to grow in understanding through all the chapters of your life, never thinking that study and growth are only for others.

That you be women of prayer, so that the Word of God would open to you; and the power of faith and holiness would descend upon you; and your spiritual influence would increase at home and at church and in the world.

That you be women who have a deep grasp of the sovereign grace of God undergirding all these spiritual processes, that you be deep thinkers about the doctrines of grace, and even deeper lovers and believers of these things.

That you be totally committed to ministry, whatever your specific role, that you not fritter your time away on soaps or ladies magazines or aimless hobbies, any more than men should fritter theirs away on excessive sports or aimless diddling in the garage. That you redeem the time for Christ and his Kingdom.

That, if you are single, you exploit your singleness to the full in devotion to Christ and not be paralyzed by the desire to be married.

That, if you are married, you creatively and intelligently and sincerely support the leadership of your husband as deeply as obedience to Christ will allow; that you encourage him in his God-appointed role as head; that you influence him spiritually primarily through your fearless tranquility and holiness and prayer.

That, if you have children, you accept responsibility with your husband (or alone if necessary) to raise up children who hope in the triumph of God, sharing with him the teaching and discipline of the children, and giving to the children that special nurturing touch and care that you are uniquely fitted to give.

That you not assume that secular employment is a greater challenge or a better use of your life than the countless opportunities of service and witness in the home the neighborhood, the community, the church, and the world. That you not only pose the question: Career vs. full time mom? But that you ask as seriously: Full time career vs. freedom for ministry? That you ask: Which would be greater for the Kingdom— to be in the employ of someone telling you what to do to make his business prosper, or to be God's free agent dreaming your own dream about how your time and your home and your creativity could make God's business prosper? And that in all this you make your choices not on the basis of secular trends or yuppie lifestyle expectations, but on the basis of what will strengthen the family and advance the cause of Christ.

That you step back and (with your husband, if you are married) plan the various forms of your life's ministry in chapters. Chapters are divided by various things—age, strength, singleness, marriage, employment choices, children at home, children in college, grandchildren, retirement, etc. No chapter has all the joys. Finite life is a series of tradeoffs. Finding God's will, and living for the glory of Christ to the full in every chapter is what makes it a success, not whether it reads like somebody else's chapter or whether it has in it what chapter five will have.

That you develop a wartime mentality and lifestyle; that you never forget that life is short, that billions of people hang in the balance of heaven and hell every day, that the love of money is spiritual suicide, that the goals of upward mobility (nicer clothes, cars, houses, vacations, food, hobbies) are a poor and dangerous substitute for the goals of living for Christ with all your might, and maximizing your joy in ministry to people's needs.

That in all your relationships with men you seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in applying the Biblical vision of manhood and womanhood; that you develop a style and demeanor that does justice to the unique role God has given to man to feel responsible for gracious leadership in relation to women—a leadership which involves elements of protection and care and initiative. That you think creatively and with cultural sensitivity (just as he must do) in shaping the style and setting the tone of your interaction with men.

That you see Biblical guidelines for what is appropriate and inappropriate for men and women in relation to each other not as arbitrary constraints on freedom but as wise and gracious prescriptions for how to discover the true freedom of God's ideal of complementarity. That you not measure your potential by the few roles withheld but by the countless roles offered.

That you turn off the TV and Radio and think about...

The awesome significance of motherhood

Complementing a man's life as his wife

Ministries to the handicapped:
hearing impaired
blind
lame
retarded

Ministries to the sick:
nursing
physician
hospice care—cancer, AIDS, etc.
community health

Ministries to the socially estranged:
emotionally impaired
recovering alcoholics
recovering drug users
escaping prostitutes
abused children, women
runaways, problem children
orphans

Prison ministries:
women's prisons!
families of prisoners
rehabilitation to society

Ministries to youth:
teaching
sponsoring
open houses and recreation
outings and trips
counseling
academic assistance

Sports ministries:
neighborhood teams
church teams
Therapeutic counseling:
independent
church based
institutional

Audio visual ministries:
composition
design
production
distribution

Writing ministries:
free lance
curriculum development
fiction
non-fiction
editing
institutional communications
journalistic skills for publications

Teaching ministries:
Sunday school: children, youth, students, women
grade school
high school
college

Music ministries:
composition
training
performance
voice
choir
instrumentalist

Evangelistic ministries:
personal witnessing
Inter Varsity
Campus Crusade
Navigators
Home Bible Studies
outreach to children
Visitation teams
Counseling at meetings
Billy Graham phone bank

Radio and TV ministries:
technical assistance
writing
announcing
producing

Theater and drama ministries:
acting
directing
writing
scheduling

Social ministries:
literacy
pro-life
pro-decency
housing
safety
beautification

Pastoral care assistance:
visitation
newcomer welcoming and assistance
hospitality
food and clothing and transportation

Prayer ministries:
praying!!!
mobilizing for major Concerts of Prayer
helping with small groups of prayer
coordinating prayer chains
promoting prayer days and weeks and vigils

Missions:
all of the above across cultures

Support ministries:
countless jobs that undergird major ministries

6 comments:

am said...

I will jump on the bandwagon with you! brilliant plan! So, it will be exciting to see how the Lord works in the coming days of deeper devotion to Him.

Hanifa said...

Hello Jaclyn

After reading your latest post about the "challenge" for women, I had some things on my heart to share with you but I did not want to post them here.

Would you be willing to share your e-mail address with me?

Hanifa

p.s. I'm Esther's mom.

Jaclyn said...

I did get an email from Hanifa and will post a response to her for all to read.

Sophia said...

Jaclyn, this is so inspiring. I posted it on my xanga, I hope that's ok. ;) May God use it in my life as well as yours. And yes, please do come visit me at Summit! I would love your company, it's so great to see another kindred sovereign grace girl online. I will be there from July 21-Sept. 3. See you soon!
Love,
Sophia

Jaclyn said...

Sophia,
I am glad that you posted this challenge on your blog too! Isn't it great??? I am always encouraged by your honest, God-glorifying posts! I will DEFINATELY be down to Colorado Springs to visit you! Do you know Ann Marie Liss? She staffed at Summit a couple years ago... her blog is linked on mine. She was recently hit by a car in Paris. :-( I might bring her with me to visit! See you then!

Hanifa said...

Hello Jaclyn

I just read that you will post your reply to my e-mail.

If you would like, you may also post my original e-mail.

Blessings
Hanifa