We live in a world where girls are usually taught ones of two things: they’re “just” pretty, or they’re absolutely equal to men and should do the exact same things. The first was an unfortunate development of self-esteem movements, and the second is the ugly mission of feminism. I don’t agree with either.
Girls should be taught that they are beautiful. It’s important. God has created them to be beautiful and He finds joy in their recognition of His work. But let’s face this logically. Girls aren’t equal to men. We aren’t as strong, we aren’t built to do hard labor, and many of us find little, if any, joy in the work of a man. We’re made differently. Wonderfully, but differently.
But where does this leave us when it comes to bravery? Many girls are taught to be the damsel in distress, waiting for the man of their dreams to save them from the dragon. I don’t buy that. I’m not that kind of person. I also don’t buy into the fact that the girl needs to slay the dragon. There must be an in-between.
There is. God calls girls to His beauty, and also to His bravery. He calls them to be intercessors, prophets, healers, worship leaders, teachers of the Word, the list goes on. And His gifts are best manifested in us when we step into those callings in bravery.
Let’s look at beauty first.
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” – 1 Peter 3:3-4
In this verse, Peter calls women to something higher. In today’s world, many women see this verse as a restriction, but I see it, and I believe Peter wrote it, as a freedom.
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment…”
Peter says that this is not where your beauty should originate. We’re not restricted to what people see (hallelujah). He doesn’t say that fancy hair, pretty jewelry, and nice clothes are a sin or evil in any way. That’s just not where your beauty should start. Many good Christian women wear plenty of jewelry and have snazzy clothes (some of us live in running shorts), and they’re not living in sin. They enjoy it, and it’s something that God has given them to enjoy. But it’s not where they get their beauty, their identity.
“Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit…”
This. This is where your beauty should come from. There’s something deeper than what people see. Your beauty should come from what’s inside of you. A gentle spirit that loves people and loves God. A quiet spirit that builds others up and serves. That is the beauty that God has created within women. It is to be cherished. It is a gift.
This is beauty. This is the beauty that God has designed for girls, for women. It is something that we need to grasp and allow God to work in and grow in us. It’s a wonderful gift, but it’s not the only gift.
That brings us to bravery.
“Be strong, and let us show ourselves courageous for the sake of our people and for the cities of our God…”-2 Samuel 10:2
Courageous is defined as not deterred or brave. To be brave is to not be deterred, to be ready to face danger or pain.
Following Christ is not an easy life. Even if we lived in a world that was mostly Christian, it would still be hard, because God calls us to do hard things. That’s what builds our faith. If we are not brave, we will be deterred by the first bump in the road. When your baby is sick, when your house burns to the ground, when your best friend passes away … you will quit. You will sit down, and you will say I’m done. Without bravery, without faith, we can’t face the pain of this life.
I don’t believe that the Bible says to be courageous or have courage over 25 times just to encourage men. I don’t believe that’s the case at all. God has intended women to be courageous, to be brave. So what does that mean?
We NEED to teach girls to be brave.
I’m not really talking about physical bravery. If God calls a woman to join the Army or the police force or some other position that requires physical bravery, then that is honorable and she should obey. But deep down in our girls, in us, we must develop a sense of bravery. A sense of courage. A sense of being ready to face whatever God has for us. A sense of not being deterred, no matter the cost or the fight.
In this verse in 2 Samuel, it says to be courageous for the sake of our people and for the cities of our God.
We are not called to be brave just because it helps us. We are called to be brave for the sake of our people. I said earlier that God calls women to be intercessors, teachers of the Word, and so much more. If we are not brave and if we do not bravely step into our calling, other people miss out on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As my pastor would say, “Who is going to miss heaven because you didn’t do what you were supposed to do?” There are people that only you, only I, only the checker at the grocery store, can reach. If we don’t step out in bravery, they might miss heaven.
We are also called to be brave for the cities of our God. If your church doesn’t make a difference in your city, you may want to re-evaluate your attendance. If YOU don’t make a difference in your city, you may want to re-evaluate your FAITH. Now, I know I live in a town of 600 people. If I make a difference with one person, that’s a good percentage of the town. Some of you live in huge cities. But what are you doing for your city, your neighborhood, the person that you share a fence with? Are you serving, is your church serving? Maybe that scares you. You know what scares me? People going to hell. Be brave.
If we don’t teach our girls to be brave, the world will teach them that they don’t have to be brave. We need to teach them. They need to be brave because God has called them to step out in faith, and that can only be done through bravery. They need to be brave because people need to hear about Jesus, and you can’t witness without bravery. Finally, they need to be brave because our cities need saving, and it takes bravery to keep people out of hell.
I’m not saying girls need to be Katniss or G.I. Jane. They also don’t need to be Barbie or Sleeping Beauty. But we must teach them to be brave, for the sake of our people, our cities, our God.