home > Pastor’s Desk > 2021> October 29th > WHY MEN ARE STRONG AND WOMEN ARE BEAUTIFUL

[The glory of a man his strength. The glory of a woman is her beauty.]

WHY MEN ARE STRONG AND WOMEN ARE BEAUTIFUL

¶ Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.
First Corinthians 16:13

So they sought for a beautiful young woman throughout all the territory of Israel,
and found Abishag the Shunammite, and brought her to the king.
First Kings 1:3

God has created men with the capacity to be physically stronger than a woman. The design of the average man reveals that his arm and leg bones are designed differently to that of a woman and enabled to support longer, denser, and more muscle mass.

“I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, and keep the charge of the LORD your God, walking in His ways and keeping his statutes, His commandments, His rules, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn
First Kings 2:2-3

But God desires a man’s physical strength to be harnessed for the good and welfare of others — especially women. A man is not to use his strength for evil purposes such as for the malicious violence toward others. Therefore, while most men are physically stronger than most women, a man’s true strength is displayed when he harnesses that strength for the good of others. This requires self-discipline which is also a measure of man’s strength as evidenced by King David’s charge to his son Solomon as prepared to succeed his father (1Kings 2:2-3). As a man ages he is to learn that true strength is not merely determined by physical capacity but is also exercised by increased wisdom (Prov. 20:29). 

The glory of young men is their strength,
but the splendour of old men is their gray hair.
Proverbs 20:29

 A wise man is full of strength,
and a man of knowledge enhances his might
Proverbs 24:5

THE PERFECT MAN’S BODY

Jesus Christ was the perfect man. He would have been physically strong with a well-toned body. Apart from a couple of donkey rides, Jesus travelled up and down and across Israel on foot. He spent the best part of His first thirty years as a carpenter who probably had to cut the trees from which He would mill the timber He needed to ply His trade as a wood craftsman. Cutting down the necessary trees, cutting them to size, and transporting them to where He would work on them would have been heavy manual labour which would have caused Him to grow stronger physically (Luke 2:52).

I write to you, fathers,
because you know Him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men, because you are strong,
and the word of God abides in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.
First John 2:14

Jesus Christ was the perfect example of harnessed strength. He used His physical strength for the good and welfare of others — particularly when He entered into the intense phase of His passion (the week leading up to the Cross) (Matt. 26:53). Throughout His ministry He complemented His physical strength with courage. I am particularly impressed by the way He stood up to the mob of the scribes and Pharisees as they were humiliating the defenceless woman (John 8:2-11). I am also impressed that after He was beaten and physically abused by the Roman soldiers in which He suffered massive blood loss and would have been in tremendous pain, that He was still somehow able to carry and drag a huge splintery wooden cross, which probably weighed around forty kilos, at least part of the way out of Jerusalem — and was then manly enough to accept the help of another man (Simon of Cyrene) to carry it the rest of the way up to Golgotha. Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of a strong man.

 

THE IDEAL WOMAN’S BODY

God has perfectly designed the female body and made it beautiful. It might be true that a woman is attracted to a strong man (especially one strong enough to make her feel secure), but it is definitely true that a man is attracted to a beautiful woman. And it seems that most women really appreciate a man’s admiration of her beauty. And God has also perfectly designed a woman’s body to nurture. This means that her skeletal structure is designed to support adequate muscle mass to nurture, and there are aspects to her design that make her quite distinct from a man’s body. But there is an insidious evil that seeks to particularly attack a woman and distort her appreciation for how the Creator has made her. This insidiousness is promoted in many of the recent crop of female heroines (super-heroines excepted for the moment) portrayed in Hollywood movies where a one hundred fifty three centre-metre, forty-five kilo, underwear model is seen fighting off a one hundred and ninety three centre-metre, one hundred and thirty kilo ex-Navy Seal by punching him across a room. This kind of nonsense sends a terrible message to a woman about her inadequacy to be equal to a man when it comes to physical strength.

I recently heard one woman talking about this distortion of a woman’s feminine worth by stating that it sends a not so subtle message that a woman is physically defective because she is not a man — that is, a woman is defective in some way because she does not possess the natural physical strength of a man. This alleged defectiveness seems to me to be further perpetuated to young women in particular who hear the evil one’s accusations of their supposed defectiveness in their heads when it falsely tells them:

“Your hair is not the right colour.”

“Your fingernails are not long or bright enough.”

“Your eye lashes are not long or lush or curled enough.”

“Your lips are too thin.”

“Your breasts are not shapely enough.”

“Your waist is not small enough.”

“Your legs are not tanned enough.”

I’m not suggesting that a woman should not present herself well with attractive clothing, hair, or make-up, but I would like to encourage women not to see themselves as defective in some way and therefore in need of unnecessary artificiality. There is already something quite intrinsically beautiful about a woman without any artificiality. True beauty is not entirely about a woman’s appearance. The beauty of a woman’s soul becomes readily evident even when her appearance has been damaged through a physical tragedy such as fire.  

OUR BODIES MATTER

Most of us would like to have a healthy, functional, body. If you do, you are blessed. It’s usually in those moments when we go through sickness, injury, or disease, that we gain an increased appreciation for those times we enjoyed good health that, at the time, we took for granted. Sadly though, not everyone enjoys good health. Some diseases linger. Some injuries don’t recover. And some people are not graced with what most of us consider ordinary. Sometimes these illnesses effect a person’s physical appearance. But even when that happens, we must recognise that our bodies are wonderful gifts from God for which we need to be grateful and to steward with care.

[Christians should not regard themselves as “souls with a body”. Rather, we need to accept that the Bible describes us as body-spirit units.]

If you haven’t read Professor Nancy Pearcey’s book, Love Thy Neighbor, I hope you will. She makes a convincing case that we need to regard our bodies as: (i) God’s good design for each of us; and, (ii) God’s good biological gendering of each of us as either male or female is intrinsic to our identity. She also makes two rather profound points about God’s gift to us of our bodies. Firstly, male and female bodies are different for good reasons and these differences should be celebrated not denigrated. Thus, care needs to taken in understanding what it means to be “a man” and what it means to be “a woman”. Our sexual identity as either male or female is derived from our biology not from artificial stereotypes. These artificial stereotypes may present true manliness as being a tall, well-built, ruggedly handsome, testosterone charged man who hunts, fishes, and slays dragons; and, true femininity as a woman in her twenties with an hour-glass figure, long flowing hair, eye-lashes that could keep her feet dry, make-up that is always photo-ready, an over inflated sexual appetite, a gifted mother of six perfectly behaved children, and a wiz in the kitchen. The reality is that some strong men like to knit and some very beautiful women like to do carpentry! 

 

WHAT TWO ANCIENT MYTHS TEACH US ABOUT BEING A STRONG MAN AND BEING A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN

There is an ancient Christian myth that originate from the second century that tells of a small village outside of Jerusalem in the late first century that was being assailed by a dragon. The dragon would ravage the villagers’ livestock and crops causing great devastation. It refused to stop its assault until it was appeased by a human sacrifice. The villagers were terrified by the dragon. Then one day a brave woman from the village said to herself that this must stop and she would offer herself to the dragon. Armed with nothing but a crucifix in her hand as she held up as she approached the dragon, she bravely entered into the dragon’s mouth. But once in the mouth she then shoved the crucifix in her hand down its gullet. The dragon struggled to breath and soon vomited the woman out of its mouth but was unable to dislodge the fatal crucifix. Once she was spewed out of the dragon’s mouth she grabbed that the now asphyxiating dragon’s tail and dragged it back the village for the men of the village to finally dispatch. This is the myth of Saint Martha (who is featured in John 11).

The second myth comes about a thousand years later and also involves a dragon. One day a knight, Sir George, was passing through a devastated village and enquired of the villagers what had caused such terrible damage. The villages told the knight that it was a dragon and that this dragon could only be appeased by human sacrifice. At this point a young girl stepped forward and told the knight that she had offered to be the sacrifice to the dragon but the men of the village did not allow her to be so. Sir George scolded the men of the village for coming up with an alternative solution to this brave young girl’s offer and then declared that he would go out and meet the dragon. Armed with sword and lance George approached the smug dragon who lunged at him with mouth wide open. With the skill of a battle-hardened warrior George took his lance and drove it up through the inside of the dragon’s mouth. The dragon was now dead and the village was now at peace once again.

These two ancient myths describe a similar problem and a similar solution – except that the myth of St. Martha depicts how a woman’s wiles dealt with the problem and the myth of St. George depicts how a man’s strengths dealt with the problem. 

 

STRENGTH AND BEAUTY LESSONS

     The Bible places an extremely high value on our physical bodies and foretells that even in the resurrection we will live on as immortal physical beings. The Bible reveals that Satan wants us to hate our bodies — and he particularly wants women to hate theirs! The Bible describes how God had given men the capacity for greater physical strength which must be harnessed by wisdom, courage and virtue. The Bible also describes how God has made all women beautiful and that women must learn to harness their beauty with modesty, wisdom, and valour. Ultimately, a man’s strength and a woman’s beauty are both reflections of the aspects of the image of God that men and women share so that world might know that God is all-powerful and all-glorious. Let’s celebrate this!

Your Pastor,

Andrew

Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.

3 Comments

  1. Archibald Norman Macdonald

    Very well presented ,makes good sense.

    Reply
  2. Wendy Williams

    Thank you Andrew. But would stress to all, that taking the time to read all the way through your words is vital to grasp their full context.

    You have my agreement that not all men are born to be physically strong, but develop loving strength in other, more important ways and grow to tower over their stronger counterparts. Not all strong and physically attractive Men are able to develop good and loving hearts. Attractiveness of appearance has nothing to do with their worth and as a blessed woman, my father showed me how a man’s good heart is where his strength and attractiveness is found.

    And also agree that not all women are born with the natural ability to bear and/or nurture children, but no matter their gifts when they are born, each of them has loving worth in ways that God has provided. No man or woman has the ability to judge, or make comment on, what the word “beauty” implies. God had sole jurisdiction over the true meaning of the greatly manipulated word of ‘beauty’.
    And like all men, it’s a woman’s heart which provides the attraction to the man, or the path to the worth full single life, that God has lead them to. And makeup, like clothing, has nothing whatsoever, to do with a persons God given beauty in their hearts.

    And somewhat wryly and unsurprising then, that the God inspired words in First Kings 1:3, , show how rare it is for humankind to see true, God given beauty, if they had to search “throughout all the territory of Israel” to find just one such woman. If their hearts were filled with God’s grace, they may well have found any number of women close by. The King could have been given a choice of God’s beautiful women. But no, the blindness sets in and we find that the people who looked, decided there was just one. Perhaps she was even crowned Miss Israel?? And it’s highly likely my interpretation of First Kings 1:3 is colored by a lifelong bombardment of, and the striving against, social commentary on how the word ‘beautiful’ is manipulatively and wrongfully applied to every child born, male or female.

    ‘So they sought for a beautiful young woman throughout all the territory of Israel,
    and found Abishag the Shunammite, and brought her to the king.’
    First Kings 1:3

    Just one?? Give me grace God to not judge the judges.

    Reply
  3. LYDIA

    YES it is true as you wrote Andrew:
    “The Bible places an extremely high value on our physical bodies and foretells that even in the resurrection we will live on as immortal physical beings. The Bible reveals that Satan wants us to hate our bodies — and he particularly wants women to hate theirs! ”

    YES because she gives life which men cannot do…life which eventually brought the Son of God to earth as a little baby.

    Then you wrote:
    “The Bible describes how God had given men the capacity for greater physical strength which must be harnessed by wisdom, courage and virtue.”

    YES a very good thing to remember…

    Then:
    “The Bible also describes how God has made all women beautiful and that women must learn to harness their beauty with modesty, wisdom, and valour. ”

    A fantastic word: BEAUTIFUL. I have used it for all manner of things to the point where I have commented on a ‘beautiful’ meal, but if you do that in the USA they will wonder what on earth you are talking about! Yet the beauty that has been bestowed on all women is something that each in turn must consider, presenting themselves as truly ‘beautiful’ by being wise in what they wear or how they adorn themselves. Its the inner beauty that counts. To the point where you showed us an example Andrew of the physical beauty and the damaged beauty of a body burned, Turia Pitt, a most beautiful woman of courage indeed.

    AND THEN:
    “Ultimately, a man’s strength and a woman’s beauty are both reflections of the aspects of the image of God that men and women share so that world might know that God is all-powerful and all-glorious. ”

    YES…this IS it! That’s the kernel.

    AND LASTLY:
    “Let’s celebrate this!”

    Ah yes…this we can do, all of us, in purity…praising our Creator. Now that is really a love story which is indeed beautiful.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

THE PRODIGAL FATHER

 Does anyone know what the word prodigal means? Perhaps most people assume that it means: “wanderer”, or “rebel”, or perhaps even “backslider” or that it only applies to sons. This seems to be based on the story that Jesus told in Luke 15 to which most Bible Publishers assign the division title – The Parable of the Prodigal Son. But the word prodigal does not occur in this parable. Interestingly, there are three lead characters in this shocking and famous parable: the father and his two sons. One of these was genuinely ‘prodigal’, and, as Tim Keller points out, it was neither son! To appreciate what Keller means we might need to take another look at what the word prodigal actually means. It comes from the verb prodigious which means remarkably great in extent, size, or degree (New Oxford American Dictionary). It is a word often used to describe an author who regularly writes books – John Grisham is a prodigious author. A prodigal person is therefore, prolific, extravagant, excessive, and, lavish. Keller points out that even though most people ascribe this to the wayward son in the parable, it is more appropriately a designation for the lead character in the story, the father!

SUPER SUCCESSFUL CHRISTIANS

Spare a thought for those people who are often overlooked by churches—and if they are Christians—they frequently struggle to even find a suitable church where they can deepen their relationship with Christ. Often we think of those who struggle with life as those who are “down and out” and blighted by impoverishment, or destitution, or ill-health, or family breakdown, or poor mental health. But surprisingly, even those who are seen as super-successful because of their wealth, social stature, public acclaim or amazing achievements, are actually struggling with loneliness, emptiness, and poor mental health — even if they are a Christian. These super-successful Christians are CEOs of large companies, or world-class or national sporting champions, or internationally renowned performing artists, or A-lister actors, or media personalities, or highly sought after professionals such as surgeons or barristers. They often pay a high price for their success, including, long work hours, constant stress, public criticism, extended time away from their families, fierce competition, and strained marriages. These pressures are exacerbated by their constant travel associated with their work which also makes them vulnerable to exhaustion and extraordinary temptations. This is why these super-successful Christians need to join the kind of church that can provide them with the kind of support, counsel, and accountability that every Christian needs. Here’s how a church can become this kind of church.

MAKING CHURCH A WELCOMING HOME

For many people, making a decision to attend a church is a significant and potentially daunting decision. As they come through the front door they are entering an unfamiliar environment. It is also an environment that may be associated with preconceived ideas of what the expectations and rules of the church community may be. These people probably will not know anybody and they might have concerns that relate to their previous or current lifestyle. For those of us who are regular church attendees, it is possible that we may not fully appreciate the challenges a new attendee may be facing. When we can relate to these concerns, I believe we are better equipped to provide a warm and patient “welcome” to what we hope will become their new church home.

LOVE IN ACTION

Physical illnesses and stressful events are endemic in our society. They can be likened to the thorns that cause both pain and damage. It doesn’t take much for them to impact a person’s life in ways that they did not expect. I believe that we can become more resilient as followers of Jesus by applying an appropriate solution to a known problem. I believe that an appropriate and important part of the solution is for us to show love the way that Jesus demonstrated love during His ministry on earth.

THE TOOLS OF REMEMBERING

I like to think I have a pretty good memory.  I like to think I’m organised.  Generally, I am – I don’t double book appointments, I keep track of what I’m doing and when, I mostly turn up on time. But, on reflection, I’m not so sure this means I have a good memory.

TRUTH vs SOMETHING BIG AND HAIRY

“You were lying in your bed, you were feeling kind of sleepy.
But you couldn’t close your eyes because the room was getting creepy.
Were those eyeballs in the closet? Was that Godzilla in the hall?
There was something big and hairy casting shadows on the wall.
Now your heart is beating like a drum, your skin is getting clammy.
There’s a hundred tiny monsters jumping right into your jammies”!

These are lyrics from a song on the very first Veggie Tales video every made. The title of the song?  “God is bigger than the Boogie Man”. Junior Asparagus was lying in bed frightened, and Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber appeared to tell him that he doesn’t have to be scared of the imaginary monsters because, “God is the bigger.” My childhood night-time fears weren’t so much about big and hairy monsters, aka boogie men, or Godzilla in the hall. My fears were house fires – our home burning down, and “burglars” or “robbers”. But I certainly identify with lying in bed, my heart beating like a drum, my skin getting clammy, my imagination in overdrive.

CLOSING THE DEAL

In 1871, the American evangelist, Dwight (“DL”) Moody was preaching to huge crowds each night in Chicago. At the end of each message he would give an appeal for people to either respond immediately to the gospel message he had just presented, or at least go home and consider it. But on Sunday October 8th, 1871, a huge fire broke out in Chicago. It burned through the city for days and became known as The Great Chicago Fire. Around 10,000 people were homeless as a result, and hundreds of people lost their lives. Moody was heart-broken when he realised that many of the people who had died were the people who had attended that Sunday night meeting where he had urged them to consider accepting Christ. His deep grief over this tragedy led him to make a vow that he would never again merely urge people to simply consider accepting Christ. From now on, he vowed, he would plead with all those he preached to – to immediately turn away from their sins and turn to the Saviour. DL Moody committed his life and ministry as an evangelist to be someone who would always strive to close the deal because he was now aware—more than ever—that people’s eternal destinies were in jeopardy! 

BUILDING A MOODY CHURCH

The three things that make the Christian life exciting and enthralling are the same three things that enable a believer to develop a closer relationship with God. The combination of these supernatural gifts gives the child of God an awareness that there is more, much more, to this world than we can see, touch, taste or feel. When the Christian’s faith is grounded and buttressed in God’s Word, godly prayer, and God’s house he or she flourishes. But there are forces at play that are determined to stop the believer from reaching their spiritual destiny. While we might think these enemy forces only use the fiery darts of doubt to hinder the believer’s journey to glory, there is something that they successfully use far more often: our mood. This is why, for any church to be successful, it must discover how to build moody church.

PRAYING PRAYERS

The amazing thing about prayer, is that nearly everyone does it – but hardly anyone thinks they do it well. If you visit any Christian bookstore you will notice that the largest display of books is about prayer. And it’s not just Christian bookstores where you’ll find books on prayer. Regular bookstores also sell a wide range of books on prayer (even if they do classify them as books on ‘meditation’!). One of the most frequently searched questions on Google is, “How to pray” (which then points enquirers to over 2.3 billion web pages answering their question). But in all of human history – and two thousand years before anyone but one had ever heard of Google – there was just One person who was supremely qualified to answer this question. And fortunately for those of us who really want to know the answer to this question (without having to peruse more than 2.3 billion web pages!) He gave us the answer.

WHY SOME BELIEVE

Why is it that two people can look at exactly the same evidence and can come to completely different conclusions about it? Even more puzzling is how two equally qualified scientific experts can look at the same data and utterly disagree about what it means. This happens many times in court cases where the prosecution will call their “expert witness” to give his or her professional opinion to verify that the defendant is guilty only to have the defence to present their “expert witness” who gives his or her professional opinion as to why the prosecution’s expert witness was wrong and to prove that defendant is innocent! This at least illustrates why it is not always the quality of the evidence that leads a person to accept or reject a claim. This especially apply to the claims that Jesus Christ made. Of the four accounts in the New Testament written about His life, three of them were written by eye-witnesses and the other one (Luke’s) was written by someone who interviewed many eye-witnesses. It is with interest that we turn to the last one to be John’s Gospel, where he describes dramatic proofs that Jesus was who He claimed to be. Yet despite these otherwise inexplicable proofs that at times thousands of people witnessed, many still wouldn’t believe. But it seems among those who did believe they all had one thing in common.