I just read an excerpt from a book in which the female author speaks of finding her all-time greatest inspiration from a particular woman in Scripture, and I was bothered by her statement. I am a woman. Jesus is a man. Does this disqualify me from looking to Him for my identity?! Not according to Scripture.
Phil. 2: 5-8 says that our attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. Romans 8:29 says that God predestined us all (with no distinction of male/female) to be conformed to the image of His son. And the wording of Genesis 1:27 indicates that He created both male and female in His image.
Lately, I’ve heard/read several women publicly pondering how they can identify with Jesus or learn from His example when He never experienced PMS and other girly things. Instead, they look at Ruth, the Proverbs 31 woman, or Mary of Bethany as their highest model. I like all of these women in Scripture and am fascinated by Abigail, Lydia, and Phoebe as well. But they must all take a backseat in terms of role models. These women are great for only two reasons—they are like Jesus, or they model repentance for the ways they are not like Him.
I actually get sick when I hear women talk this way. I don’t want to be like Ruth (thought I like Ruth and am reading a really good book on her). I want to be like Jesus. And I hate, hate, hate hearing talk that makes it sound like Ruth is the ideal for women because Jesus is for the men. It makes me feel so hopeless. I know deep down in my heart of hearts that my identity, even as a woman, is completely tied to who Jesus is and what He’s done for me. He is the vine and I am the branch. He is the head and I am part of His body. And apart from Him, I can do nothing (John 15). If I can’t look to Jesus to be completely equipped for my life’s work, I know I am sunk.
Whether we are struggling with PMS, boyfriend problems, a wayward husband, pregnancy fatigue, or disobedient children, Jesus is our example. He was tempted in every way like us (Heb. 4:15). He sympathizes with our weakness and is fully able to equip us to deal with every hormonally induced, non-male type struggle we face.
The gospels especially are a deep well from which to drink for inspiration and example as a wife, mom, sister, daughter, and friend. May we always as sisters in Christ encourage each other to look to Jesus as our first example. And then we may praise God for Ruth and the Proverbs 31 wife for how each points to Him and encourages us to be like Him.