Whatever you want it to be.
That’s the answer you’ll get according to our society today. However, that’s not the truth, the Bible tells us that there is a difference between men and women, and there is purpose, and responsibility attached to each gender. Only God being the creator, can define what something is, no matter how much we would like to define it for ourselves. So, what is a man and woman’s purpose? Identity is usually found in the the function something does . In genesis, God says to man: "Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26 NKJV
After reading this , we can conclude that a man’s ultimate purpose is to steward what God created. Proving that man’s ultimate identity and responsibility is to Gods creation “Earth” and everything in it.
What is a woman’s purpose?“And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”” Genesis 2:18 NKJV
The woman’s purpose and identity is to help God’s earth by partnering with the created man and making sure he does his job correctly. She is the “helper” … responsible not just for the earth but also for the man, a greater responsibility. Christian men and women don’t strive for so-called biblical masculinity or femininity, but Christlikeness. Rather than striving to prove our sexuality, the tone of our sexuality will express itself as we do this. I do see in Scripture that God made man and woman as true complements in this mission. My contributions, my living and moving, are distinctly feminine because I am a female. I do not need to do something a certain way to be feminine (such as receive my mail in a way that affirms the masculinity of the mailman). I simply am feminine because I am female.”
So what’s the purpose behind the genders?“Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”” Genesis 1:28 NKJV
Without both respective responsibilities, there can be no life. One gives and the other receives, both are necessary to bring life into the world and to propel the mission of church for this age. What if we don’t follow this order? This is what happened in the garden, the woman became the initiator, the active role (eating the fruit from the tree) and the man became the receiver (partaking of the fruit), the responsibilities and roles were reversed. The man did not stand up for truth (he became passive), he did not lead, he did not fulfill his purpose as head, protecting creation, protecting himself and his wife (an extension of himself),bringing death and destruction. What happens when we do follow this order? The man fulfills his responsibility first and foremost, to the creation, helping the woman as part of the creation find fulfillment in her shared purpose and responsibility, that he cultivates . As the woman discovers her abilities, she helps the creation and the man (fulfilling her identity), she brings a return investment back to creation and the man, which ultimately returns back to God. The woman brings life to whatever the man initiates. One completes the other, they truly become one again. Paralleling our relationship to God, Christ to his bride, helping us to fulfilling our purpose as representatives of his image and receiving the fruit of his investment in us. Both sexes should be working together and submitting to God to fulfill each other’s lacks and produce life / fruits for God. In doing so, each will fulfill the fullness of their gender. That is what it means to be a manly man, and a feminine woman biblically.
So what is manhood? What is masculinity? It’s not easily defined in scripture, because masculinity is not a singular character quality, It is a purpose fulfilled through obedience. Paul tell us: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” I Corinthians 6:9-10 NKJV
The word “effeminate / homosexual” would prove to be the opposite of what a man is supposed to be, the Greek word is μαλακός (malakos) this word can be defined as a passive homosexual partner, or soft to the touch. A man according to Paul, should never be the receiver but instead the active partner. A man should not be passive, but active. Active to what end ? the responsibility of the creation that God has given him that returns us back to Genesis chapter 1. A man cannot receive because he cannot bring life to something, he is the organizer, the start, he is the initiator. He is limited and locked to this purpose, we can try to fight this purpose but ultimately it will never produce fruit. Even in sexual terms, a man initiates the activity, in childbirth, the woman finishes it by receiving and creating and birthing life.
So how can I be masculine? How can I walk in manhood? Many people think that if you act a certain way, that defines your masculinity. For example strength can be considered a masculine quality. However, there is error in this premise that specific characteristics define manhood or womanhood. All good admirable character qualities come from God. God is male but he is also spirit, in him is the fullness of what society defines as masculine and feminine characteristics. Does this make God feminine? No, as the beginning the initiator, the active, God is the first in order, He is everything. In the image of God is both male and female, he is all encompassing. “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27 NKJV
I am masculine when I am walking in what God has given the responsibility to accomplish. My identity is found in his order and submission to that order. My identity is in the purpose he has chosen for me, and the submission to the work he has set before me. As long as I walk in obedience, I am acting in masculinity; I am walking in my manhood. Manhood / masculinity equals active in obedience to God’s purpose and order.
What is biblical womanhood? What does it mean to be a woman? A woman is defined by God through her responsibilities to God, the creation, and the order he has established. I’m sure you’ve all heard the quote “Anything you can do, I can do better”, technically this is accurate. While the woman may not have the exact skills or ability to do things exactly as man, she comes from the man she has been built as the upgraded extension version of a man. She has been built on an already good template, and now has things that the man lacks in himself. “Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.” Genesis 2:22 NLT
The woman’s purpose is locked now not by Adam, but by God. He has defined women as the receiver, the bringer of life, a womb that cultivates life, spiritually and physically. She builds on foundation already laid, improving and refining what she is given. When walking in her purpose, she serves mankind, but most importantly she serves her God by abiding to his heavenly order.
Isn’t it unfair that I have to live in this order? Technically, we all live in God’s order, it is a matter of submission to the father’s will and what he believes to be correct. I see the woman’s position as one that is empowering, as they hold the greater responsibility being the last of creation. If they refuse this responsibility they do not refuse men, they refuse God. As Jesus said “So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.”” Matthew 20:16 NLT
Does that mean I live for man? Will I ever be able to lead? You do not live for man, you live for God. When the man, refuses his responsibilities God will call on the woman to fulfill the lack. After all she is certainly able to lead, there have been plenty of times in the Bible where a woman has taken a dominant active role, Examples include: Deborah, Ruth, Mary Magdalene, Huldah, Rahab, Abigail and much more. Were these women in rebellion? Absolutely not, they were walking in perfect femininity. They were under obedience from God himself, and in their submission they were the perfect representation of womanhood. Even though they exhibited active roles, or characteristics of “masculinity”, they were still perfectly feminine. Their femininity is defined by their actions towards obedience, not by the societal traditional standards for women. Womanhood / femininity equals active in receiving & submissive to God’s purpose and order through obedience.