Monday, June 15, 2009

What it Means to be a Helper

I am currently working through DeMoss' book, Biblical Womanhood in the Home, and I wouldn't say that I've had aaha moments during the entire read, but there are definitely many noteworthy portions and much to be learned from the book. One of these sections is on a woman's role as helper by Barbara Hughes. (The book is actually a compilation of articles/chapters from seven different woman ... DeMoss compiled them and edited the book.)

Now, I've recognized this role before and understood it to be part of my role as a godly woman, but I haven't fully gotten my head around it ... other than doing the obvious and helping my husband ... but that's kind of vague (this is part of the reason for my study on what it means to be a godly woman and for writing this blog).

But it's interesting because we see that the first mention of 'helper' in scripture comes at the very beginning, Genesis 2:18, when God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him," and this is right before He caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep and God created Eve from Adam's rib. Hughes says that this is where God established the foundation of marriage to communicate God's order and orchestrated it to be a reflection of the unity of God -- the three persons of the Godhead. Genesis 1:26 says, "Let us make man in our image," which reflects God's unity (Father, Son, Spirit) and the fact that He is not alone and is a God of relationship. Therefore, when God created man, he couldn't leave him alone either because God Himself is not alone and is relationship.

But even in God's unity, there is diversity ... diversity among the Father, Son and Spirit ... and that diversity yields differing roles even within the Godhead. And when God created man in his own image, He designed male and female to have their own roles too.

I am a complementarian, so the idea that men and women were designed to have different roles totally makes sense to me, but to then realize that the reason for that design is because we've been created in the image of God ... because God in and of Himself has different roles ... makes the idea of complementarianism even that more awesome!

And one of the roles that we see that God has created us for is to be a helper. Hughes says that as women "our blood pressure [seems to] rise at the mention of the word helper .... [because] No one wants to play second fiddle. But the fact is, without a second violin there is no harmony."

So, what does it mean to be a helper?

Hughes says that from the example we see in the Garden of Eden, Eve was supposed to help Adam. She was supposed to help him carry out God's order to rule and subdue the earth. She however failed and submitted to Satan instead. To live contrary to Eve, with Christ's help, Hughes says, "Our task is to encourage our husbands to obey God's Word and will for their lives." And when we see the word 'encourage,' we are to do so in the manner of the Holy Spirit, for God also called Him "another Helper" (John 14:16, NASB). Hughes says, "Trace the Holy Spirit's actions through the New Testament, and you'll find the Spirit repeatedly encouraging, comforting, coming alongside, and helping." And we see in 1 Peter 3:4 that we're to do this with the "unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit" and with humility (Mat. 11:29, NASB) and respect (Eph. 5:33b).

I find that it's easy at times to be the 'encourager' and 'comforter', but my sinfulness gives way ill-motives at times and my encouraging and comforting is solely done to accomplish my own desires, not that of my husband or the Lord. To remember that the Holy Spirit is the ultimate Helper is a beautiful reminder of the pureness of heart that needs to be present to perform my role well. (And to also think back to the new person (Eph. 4:22-24) that I am in Christ ... realizing that truth every day and pleading for God's help daily will be the keys to make this possible.) If performed with ill-motives, my 'helping' will only lead to folly and I will lead my husband and my family to eat poisonous apples like Eve!

Wow, there's a lot to learn here, but at least we have the stepping stones in place to begin our journey! Enjoy the ride with me!

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