Have you ever had one of those weeks where you feel like every man in the world is a dog, and you will never find one good enough to marry? This has been one of those weeks. In the last seven days alone, I have had several guy friends who I trusted and respected put me in extremely compromising situations that threatened both my purtiy and my reputation. And these are all Christian guys. Go figure.
Right now I am struggling not to lose faith in the integrity of all Christian guys after this onslaught of difficult situations. If you can’t trust Christian guys, then who can you trust? But what is even more difficult is that I’m left wondering what I did to invite this negative attention. Am I bringing this on myself? Am I doing something wrong? Do I have a sticker stuck to my forehead that says, “Shady guys are welcome here”?
To be honest, I don’t know the answer to that yet–it might be a little of both. Maybe I do need to be more modest, and maybe the guys need to be more careful. After all, there are good guys out there. Not all guys are dogs. But no matter the reason for this string of unfortunate events, I have realized now more than ever, that maintaining my purity and guarding my heart are battles I have to *fight* for. Protecting my purity and my heart are not passive endeavors–we’ve got to engage in spiritual warfare, because oftentimes our brothers are unwittingly being used by the Enemy to tear us down.
You know, we don’t often think of ourselves as warriors. Our “Wild at Heart” generation portrays the men as the soldiers, fighting the dragon and wielding a sword while we are locked up in the tower, in need of rescue. Unfortunately, that’s not the picture we get of Biblical femininity. On the contrary, there are times when we need to climb down out of that tower and stand beside the men, wielding our own swords.
That being said, how do we fight this battle of guarding our hearts? How do we fight for our purity and integrity? Well I find the Armor of God described in Ephesians 6 to be extremely helpful, and here are some unique ways that we as women can take ownership of our various weapons…
1. Belt of truth–Women tend to be very emotional creatures, so we’ll often believe what our emotions tell us, even if they are counter to reality. As a result, we are easily swallowed up by the “what ifs” of life, and we are subsequently immobilized by fear. For this reason, we have GOT to train ourselves to stand on truth. If a guy treats you badly you’ll be tempted to believe that you deserve that treatment, thereby defrauding your heart, so instead of believing those lies, stand on truth.
2. Breastplate of Righteousness–The breastplate is the piece of armor that literally protects the heart. With that in mind, the best way to guard our hearts is remembering the righteousness that is ours in Christ. Oftentimes guys will treat us like trash, and it will be easy to believe that we are trash, but the truth of the matter is that we are in Christ, which means we possess his righteousness, and all that goes with it–purity, holiness, love, peace, blamelessness, etc. Grounding our identity in the righteousness of Christ will help protect our hearts when others hurt us.
3. Feet Fitted with the Gospel of Peace–Ancient Roman soldiers used to wear cleats for shoes so that when they were fighting their feet could dig into the ground and they could stand firm. Similarly, the Gospel of peace gives us rest and comfort amidst the storms of life, even those storms involving guys. We might have guys in our lives who undermine everything we believe about ourselves and about our faiths because they treat us so poorly, but if your feet are fitted with the Gospel of Peace, then you can dig in your heels and rest in Christ amidst the craziness of how guys treat you.
4. Shield of Faith–Another tactic of ancient soldiers was the practice of dousing their shields in water so that flaming arrows would be extinguished as soon as they reached them. I think this is a great analogy, because guys can throw all kinds of flaming arrows at us that just destroy our self-esteem. Fortunately, strong faith serves as a kind of shield that quenches those attacks. If we stand on faith in Christ to protect us, then he’ll extinguish the power of those attacks before they penetrate your heart.
5. Helmet of Salvation–The helmet is the piece of armor that guards the head, and even though women are emotional creature, it’s also important that we guard our minds. Our thought life can clobber us if we are not careful, so we need to make sure that every thought which creeps into our brains is compatible with the salvation gained for us on the cross. Remembering our identity in light of our salvation should shape our minds and the kind of things we think about. If any thought enters your mind that is not compatible with Christ, then you must immediately dismiss it, and replace it with the truth of your salvation. In doing so, you will be protecting your mind.
6. Sword of the Spirit–This weapon refers directly to Scripture. An intimate knowledge of Scripture is vital for us as women, because we are constantly being shaped by the world in which we live. The music we listen to, the t.v. we watch, and the conversations we have can all shape us in subtle but profound ways. For this reason, we need to decide what will shape us–the world, or Scripture? If we are faithfully spending time in the Word, then it will shape our minds and hearts into conformity with it so that whenever we face attacks, the Word of God will act as a sword that cuts through any lies that try to hurt us.
So that’s what I consider to be the woman’s approach to reading Ephesians 6. And this armor can be used to fight other battles as well–if you come from a bad family, suffer from low self-esteem, or have any other wound that plagues you, sin is always going to attack you with lies, so you must be ready to fight! And for those of you single ladies who are navigating the rollercoaster that is dating, remember that one day, you might be lucky enough to have a man pursue you who is intentional about guarding your heart and your purity, but until that day comes, stand strong and fight well. It can be hard at times, but don’t let guys determine your worth or your identity. Fight for your integrity, and God will bless you, because you, sister, are a mighty warrior. Fight like one.