On Tuesday night I spoke to a women’s group at church about one of my favorite passages for women: the Armor of God. Whenever I read Ephesians 6:10-20 I like to think of myself as a mighty woman warrior for God! (And not in the dogmatic, “attack people with proof-texted Bible verses” sense, but in the “fighting against the powers of darkness by sharing the love of Christ and setting the captives free” sense!)
Battle imagery is rarely used in relation to Christian women, so whenever I talk about the armor of God I preface the message with this: Before we can put on our armor, we have to climb down from the tower. The tower I’m referring to is the one that holds the helpless damsel captive. As the popular fairy tale goes, the damsel remains trapped while she awaits the rescue of her prince. She is fragile, she is weak, and she needs someone else to save her.
For all intents and purposes, this is what many popular books for Christian women communicate about our identities. We are wounded. We are victims. We are broken. Our lives are a mess. We need someone to rescue us. Cue Wild at Heart.
To be fair, there is an extent to which the above adjectives are true of everyone, both men and women. We all need someone to rescue us, and his name is Jesus. However, those descriptors are only true of our identities prior to salvation. As Christians, none of those categories defines us. We may feel broken and wounded and messy at times, but that is not who we are.
As Christians, who we are is in Christ. Romans 8:37 tells us that “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Ephesians 1:3 tells us that God “has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” All that is true of Christ’s identity is true of us.
And Christ was no victim. He was not defeated, and most importantly he is not still on the cross. He overcame, he won, and he rose again.
We have that same strength in us, not of ourselves but from him.
Even so, many Christian women still live in that tower. Their faith is a life support system. And a lot of Christian literature caters to that brand of Christian identity.
Now please don’t hear me saying that healing is unimportant. I cannot stress enough that it is. Books on healing certainly have an important ministry, and it is crucial that we take time to heal and recover from a blow. Grieve and cry and rest. But remember that that wound and that pain does not define you. That weakness is not who you are.
If you’ve been stuck in that proverbial tower and you’re ready to climb down, consider these words from John 8:31-32:
“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
If truth is what sets us free, then what holds us captive is lies. Lies about who we are and lies about the God we worship all combine to paralyze us. These lies result in insecurity, woundedness, and an inability to FULLY trust God. Satan, after all, is the Father of Lies, so that’s exactly where he wants us.
But ladies, God does not think of us as damsels in a tower. The rescue has already taken place. We are now free, and God did not pluck us from our distress so that we could sit daintily on satin pillows and look pretty. He didn’t even rescue us so that we could get married and have babies and have a beautiful life. Husbands and babies aren’t bad, but there’s a bigger picture at work:
Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Eph. 6:10-12)
There is a cosmic battle waging, and you belong on the battlefield, not in a tower.