Posts Tagged ‘soul’

grandparents & grandchildrenNot long ago, I was approached by a gentleman following one of my presentations. “I know your focus is on biblical womanhood,” he said.  “And I appreciate that you’re trying to contrast the myths of feminism with God’s magnificent design of women, so I want to affirm what you’re doing from my professional point of view.”

“As a compounding pharmacist,” he explained, “I’ve developed a special interest in the health care of menopausal women.  It is absolutely amazing to me that a woman’s body is literally built for child-bearing and mothering.”  He didn’t say it, but it comes to me now that he was describing how a woman’s body is also built for grandmothering.”

I think that pharamacist  was referring to a harmonious symphony of female hormones through the natural cycle of life.  But there are those who oppose God’s design and direction.  They have little regard for the cultural influence of mothers and grandmothers.  (They deem fathers and grandfathers “unnecessary”.) Who are these people?  They are the social scientists who deceive women to a sexualized life and perpetual self-satisfaction.

Dr. Judith Reisman writes that Alfred Kinsey encouraged “the idea that women are supposed to retain an aggressive libido well into old age.  [Today’s women] report anxiety and depression triggered by their belief that they should, despite hormonal changes, still be sexually aggressive.  Yet, the blessings of the aging process naturally incline them toward the joyful role of grandmother, with the many rewards that noble calling implies.” [1]

Clinging to a “sexual” identity, a woman might expend every effort trying to maximize or minimize all that is female.  Such a woman—at every age and in any circumstance— might never see herself as any more than a body which seems perpetually disappointing.

But a woman who trusts her identity as a daughter of God in Christ can navigate the changes and challenges of life.  Her physical body may frustrate or disappoint her, but she knows that she is more than just body.

She is body, mind and soul.

[1] Judith A. Reisman, PhD., Kinsey: Crimes and Consequences (Crestwood, KY., The Institute for Media Education, 1998, 2000), 124.

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thumbnailScarlett O’Hara, in the movie Gone With the Wind, believed her figure would be perfect only if she had an 18 inch waist.  Every day, Scarlett instructed her “mammy” to push, prod and tightly lace her into a corset.  The experience was literally breath-taking.  (It was no wonder that women of Scarlett’s era fainted so easily.)  Scarlett may have been a story-book character, but the fashionable corset was a cruel reality.  Thousands of American women attained the so-called perfect figure, but at a high price.  The following true story explains.

When Hiram Powers, the great sculptor, was visiting in the U.S., he attended an elaborate party.  A friend observed Mr. Powers watching a beautifully dressed and fashionable woman.  The friend said, “What an elegant figure she has, don’t you agree?”

“Well,” said Mr. Powers, “I was wondering where she put her liver.”

You see, Mr. Powers had studied the human body, and he knew that in order to shape a female body in the outline of the woman he was watching, some internal organs would have to be forced out of their properly functioning place.

A physician during that same era, Dr. J.H. Kellogg, examined thousands of women in a year’s time.  He stated that it was almost impossible to find a woman whose stomach was where it belonged.  This was a serious matter because no organ can function efficiently when it’s out of its proper position.

Dr. Mary Wood-Allen, a physician and the author of a series of books for young women growing up in the early 1900s, wrote: “The reason we admire the tapering waist is because we have been wrongly educated.  We have acquired wrong ideas of beauty.  We have accepted the ideals of ‘fashion’ rather than those of the Creator.” (Purity and Truth: What a Young Woman Ought to Know, Vir Publishing, 1898)

In the late 1950s, a toy company defined the so-called perfect figure by creating the Barbie doll.  Almost every American girl not only wanted a Barbie, she wanted to look like Barbie.  But Barbie’s figure is abnormally out of proportion.  A real girl with Barbie’s measurements would fall over on her face.

Perhaps we, too, have fallen over on our faces and caused our brains to stop thinking.  In what ways do we put our health dangerously at risk in order to have a “perfect” figure?  Who determines the “perfect” skin color?  How many piercings and tattoos are enough to suit the trend-setters?

Why do we let fashion designers (who don’t know us) tell us how we should look?  Why do we let department stores (who profit from our purchases) tell us what to buy?

We’ve listened to the world long enough.  Don’t you think it’s time to hear what the Creator of our bodies has to say?

Take a breath.  Pick up your Bible.  What does God say to you in Isaiah 43:1, 7; 45:9-11; 1 Samuel 16:7; 1 Peter 3:3-5; and 1 Corinthians 6:18.

From Lesson Eight: “Beauty at Any Price?”
Dressing for Life: Secrets of the Great Cover-up
A Bible Study by Linda Bartlett
(Lutherans For Life or Concordia Publishing House)

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God says: “You shall have no other gods before Me.”  It is His first commandment (Exodus 20:3).  But, when we label ourselves “sexual beings,” we are tempted to put our “sexuality” — our flesh side — before God.

Doubt me?  Take an honest look at the culture.  Only one thing is “holy of holies” above all other things; only one thing is untouchable, my “right,” and to be revered no matter the cost.  That is “human sexuality.”  Beginning early in sex education, children are told: You are a “sexual being.”  Therefore: It is who I am.  It is me.  It is what I do.  It is even my excuse for what I should not do.

Telling ourselves and others (especially children) that we are “sexual beings” is bestowing the wrong identity.  Bestowing the wrong identity, we put ourselves in God’s place.  We call ourselves something that He did not.

God does not identify us as “sexual beings.”  God clearly identifies us a “human beings” or “humankind” or “man created in His own image” (Genesis 1:27).  Reading on, we learn that God created mankind to be “male and female.”  Is this where some Christians get the notion that God made us to be “sexual beings” or to possess “sexuality?”  Well, I don’t think Martin Luther or other church fathers would agree.  Luther writes, “Moses put the two sexes together and says that God created male and female in order to indicate that Eve, too, was made by God as a partaker of the divine image and of the divine similitude, likewise of the rule over everything.  Thus even today the woman is the partaker of the future life, just as Peter says that they are joint heirs of the same grace (1 Peter 3:7).  In the household the wife is a partner in the management and has a common interest in the children and the property, and yet there is a great difference between the sexes.”  (The Lutheran Study Bible, commentary on 1:28, p. 14).  How interesting that Luther did not take this opportunity to proclaim: Look, here, believers!  God has made humans to be sexual beings!  It is who we are!  Luther does, however, point to our real identity: Bearers of God’s divine image.

We do not bear the image of animals.  (Thus, we are not captive to animal instincts.)  We do bear the image of God.  God’s image is holy.  Even though we no longer bear the perfect image of God, He still calls us to holy living!  The kind of living that honors His name and reflects His glory rather than our own.  The kind of living that does not tempt others to sin but, instead, guards both our soul and the soul of our neighbor.

Ahhhh.  Now, we’ve come even closer to our true identity.  We are more than body or mind.  We are spirit, created by God who is Spirit.  We are immortal souls.  “Sexuality” has nothing to do with our souls.  Our souls will live forever.  (In heaven, Jesus tells us, there will be no marriage; in other words, no expression of “sexuality,” no “one flesh union” [Matthew 22:30].)

There is spiritual danger in choosing to identify ourselves as “sexual beings.”  True, we are male or female creations of God.  As male or female believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are God’s children.  Even when we fail to act as His children, He is still our Father.  The Father-Child relationship doesn’t change because of our sin.  But, when we sin against God by calling ourselves what He does not; when we focus on ourselves as “sexual beings” and not His children with immortal souls, then our wrong identity shapes our behavior and our behavior changes our attitude toward God.

A changed attitude toward God can dangerously tempt us to put ourselves in the place of God; to, in fact, become our own god.  A god who defines “self” and “sexuality” as being supreme.

The pagan defines himself and lives however he pleases.  But, the believer proclaims: It is God who made us and not we ourselves.  God says: I have called you by name; you are Mine.  In Jesus Christ, God calls us His children.  We are treasured souls bought with a price.  That is our identity.  Anticipating Jesus’ return, “sons” and “daughters” live their lives as male or female: two eyes of the human race.  Both are needed for a clear understanding of life.  It is folly to think of every interaction of male and female as being sexual in nature.  What an abhorrent mess that would be!  Being male and female is not so much sexual as it is the partnering of our complimentary differences to bring glory to God, proclaim Jesus Christ, and affect the culture for good.

Only in marriage does our “flesh side” – our “sexuality” – find its home.  Only in marriage is the “one flesh” union a divine gift to humanity.  It is a power from God.  Who, but the Creator God could join with man and woman to procreate, to bring new life — new body, mind and soul — into existence?  Husband and wife respond to God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply.”  Yes, in the act of sex, male and female are “sexual.”  They procreate sexually.  In Scripture, all things “sexual” pertain to the act of sex.  It is the “will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his (or her) own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like [those] who do not know God”  (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4).  The commentary on verse 4 found in the Lutheran Study Bible brings clarity.  “Our sexuality is God’s gift for use within the parameters of marriage.”  Do you understand what is being said here?  Our gift of sexuality, or the ability to have sex, is reserved for marriage between one man and one woman.  To be male or female, however, is a gift for daily use in glorifying God.  We are not to abstain from being male and female.  We are not to do battle with the attributes of maleness or femaleness, but with “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry . . . [T]hose who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:19-24).

It matters how we identify ourselves.  It determines our behavior.  It can become the argument for homosexuality.   It can help – or hinder – our neighbor.  It honors – or dishonors – the sanctity of human life.  When we identify ourselves as “sexual,” we may be tempted to give ourselves license; to, in fact, worship and serve ourselves rather than God (Romans 1:24-25).  But, re-created in Christ, male and female identify themselves in a different way.  A Christian’s body is the “temple of the Holy Spirit who enables the believer to turn away from a “sexy” life to a “holy” life.  When we identify ourselves as “holy” and “immortal souls,” we are encouraged to guard the treasure that Jesus bought at tremendous price.  “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs — heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:16-17).

We “are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh” (v 12).  In Christ, our fallen nature has no claim on us.  Our “flesh side” may tempt us, saying: “This is who I am,” or “I owe it to myself,” but we aren’t obligated to obey its impulses or satisfy its desires.  Why?  Because we “did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear” or idolatry.

We cry: “Abba Father!” (v.15)

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Today, I was invited to speak for a few minutes on Issues, Etc. — Lutheran Talk Radio.  How does one “speak for a few minutes” on two life-sized topics: Abortion and Sex Education?  It was impossible!

I’ve posted multiple blogs in recent weeks on sex education, yet have only covered the surface.  There is so much history!  So much experience!  Such bold contrast between the world’s idea of sex education and God’s command to instruct in purity.  Identity — how the world defines us vs. how God defines us — is core in this discussion.  At the very least, I hope one person was made more curious.

Well, go ahead…  if you wish.  Click on the link and listen 🙂

Abortion and Forgiveness & Sex Education, with Linda Bartlett, 11/16/2011

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