By Cindi McMenamin, Crosswalk.com
We live in a culture where it’s finally politically correct to empower women. But how we do it makes all the difference in the world. Neither men nor women get their power or strength from within themselves, nor from others who give them opportunities, promotions, or positions of authority.
Psalm 75:6-7 says, “For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another” (KJV). Scripture makes it clear the Holy Spirit is the One who empowers (1 Corinthians 10:11). When we understand and acknowledge the true source of empowerment, we can strengthen and empower others far more effectively than training courses and positive affirmation. We can also lead them to a well of power that is constantly available to draw from themselves.
With the recognition of where true empowerment comes from, here are seven ways to empower other women, biblically.
1. Encourage them to rely on God’s strength.
The Apostle Paul, one of the strongest, most empowered believers in the First Century Church, readily admitted that he was strongest when he was at his weakest because Christ’s power was made perfect in his weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9). In other words, the more he had to rely upon God, the more empowered through Christ he became.
It works that way with us too. We can’t tell a woman (or anyone for that matter) that she is strong in and of herself, or we are being misleading and unbiblical. Christ is the key to our strength and empowerment, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, ability, or opportunity. Encourage women to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might (Ephesians 6:10).
2. Encourage their faith that with God, all things are possible.
A woman of faith is a woman who is empowered. And a woman of faith believes Jesus’ words in Matthew 19:26 that “with God all things are possible.” Philippians 4:13 also says Christ is the One who strengthens or empowers us to do all things through His strength and power.
Empower a woman by convincing her that she serves a big God who can handle everything she thinks she must or is convinced she can’t. Our faith is stretched and strengthened when we look to God to do the impossible. Encourage and empower women with the truth that God can do through them what is beyond them.
Photo credit: © Unsplash/Priscilla Du Preez
3. Teach them to be humble.
It sounds counter-intuitive, but you can empower another woman by encouraging her to be humble. James 4:10 tells us: “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”
Furthermore, James 4:6 tells us: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” To be humble means you recognize the truth of 1 Corinthians 4:7 that everything you have has been given to you– including abilities, authority, position, possessions, and even principles. When we are humble before God, we will be gracious with others, and that makes us servant-leaders rather than controlling ones. Encourage women to be humble, and you will be showing them a secret doorway to godly empowerment.
4. Share your own weaknesses and vulnerabilities.
We tend to think that if we model strength to others, they’ll be able to imitate it. Yet our strength doesn’t come from our own abilities, nor does empowerment come from imitating another’s power plays. Empowerment comes from the Lord, primarily as we admit we are weak.
Paul said in his weakness, humility, or lowliness, he was stronger in Christ’s power because Christ’s power in him was made perfect in his weakness. “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-11).
When you share your weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and struggles and let people know HOW God strengthened you through it, you are helping another woman realize she, too, can be strengthened through her struggles.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/monkeybusinessimages
5. Help them understand their new identity in Christ.
It’s popular today to talk about finding one’s identity. Taking personality tests, discovering our “number” on the Enneagram (and describing ourselves that way to others) is another way of trying to understand ourselves. Yet apart from God’s design for us, that self-discovery is meaningless. There is One who knows us better than any other. And in addition to having a purpose for the unique way in which He created every one of us, He also gives us a new nature so we can accomplish what He has ordained before the beginning of time (Ephesians 2:10).
Empower a woman by helping her see who she is in God’s eyes – redeemed, forgiven, cherished, loved, precious. When a woman understands her value is not found in her education, personality strengths, relationships, status, or the amount of money she makes, but in Who loves her and gave Himself for her, the result is a newfound confidence in not just who she is, but Whose she is. And that results in empowerment through which Christ can accomplish much for His kingdom.
Instead of explaining to her the Enneagram, explain to her what God’s Word says about how much she is loved and how that aligns with her new nature in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17). A woman who truly grasps who she is in God’s eyes – and what she’s capable of because she is a daughter of the King – is truly unstoppable.
6. Pray for and with them.
Ask how you can pray for a woman you’re hoping to empower – and then do it. If you’re talking on the phone or via zoom, pray for her right there. If you’re having coffee or lunch together, pray for her at that moment. Saying “I’ll pray for you” and then doing that outside her presence might rob her of the blessing of being empowered by your actual prayer. It also teaches her how to pray. Prayer is empowering in itself. Let women see it through your willingness to pray for them at the moment.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/monkeybusinessimages
7. Encourage them to suit up with the armor of God.
Take the concept of “power dressing” to a whole new level when you teach another woman to suit up with the armor of God. After we are instructed in Ephesians 6:10 to “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might,” we are then told in verse 11 to “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.”
To put on the whole armor of God (as covered in Ephesians 6:12-18) simply means to abide in Christ in every area of our lives – covering every part of our bodies with Christlikeness, so we can withstand the spiritual battle that rages around us. Scripture says, “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” (verse 12). There is no better way to be prepared for and empowered against the satanic realm than to literally “wear” Christ by abiding intimately with Him.
Specifically, we are told in that passage to fasten on the belt of truth and – because Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6) – that means we are to be centered in the truth of Christ. Tell a woman to put on the breastplate of righteousness by explaining that the LORD is our righteousness (Jeremiah 33:6), and we are to cover our hearts with Him or make Him our first love. Encourage her to wear the helmet of salvation, covering her mind with the truth that salvation exists in no other name but Jesus (Acts 4:12), and she is to love Him with all her mind (Matthew 22:37). By encouraging her to suit up daily in the armor of God, you are giving her a whole new perspective on how to “dress for success.”
Be faithful in these seven ways to biblically empower women in your circle of influence, and you will be unleashing within them the power to change the world around them, as they glean the truth from 1 John 4:4 that greater is He who is in them than he who is in the world.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Lyndon Stratford