In today’s culture we are increasingly confused about what it means to be human. Evolutionary theories declare us to be cosmic accidents with no inherit purpose or meaning. The Bible declares us to be creatures created in God’s image. As popular culture increasingly tells us we are simple machines with parts, we as the Church must celebrate our creaturehood by putting it on display for the world to see.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 19:3-6, that part of what it means to be made in the image of God is that we are gender beings, each of us made either male or female. Therefore, as people we are not merely image bearers of God, we are engender image bearers who express His image uniquely in our maleness and femaleness. Therefore, gender is not accidental. God created gender on purpose, and for purpose.
Since God created us male and female, part of glorifying Him is living out our specific God-given gender for His glory. But what does this look like? Does it mean girls must wear pink and shop at the mall, and boys must wear blue and throw footballs? The short answer is no. These are narrow views of gender driven by culture, rather than cultivated by God’s word. If you survey the Bible, you will find that the road that gender drives on is broad, rather than narrow.
Not all girls are Cinderella and not all boys are Peyton Manning.
We often assume what masculinity and femininity looks like. We judge one another and ourselves based on those assumptions. So if our little boys like theater rather than football, they must be feminine rather than masculine, and if our girls like sports rather than ballet, they must be masculine rather than feminine.
What about David? Was he a real man? After all, he killed a giant and God called him “a man after My own heart”. We view David as a man’s man because he killed Goliath. We forget David played a harp. He didn’t only play a harp, he also wrote poetry, sang to other guys, and loved to dance. This doesn’t put him neatly into our box of masculinity.
What about Ruth? The Bible tells us that she was a honorable woman, yet she doesn’t fit neatly into our feminine box . Ruth was brave and courageous, she worked hard to provide for herself and her mother-in-law. She was daring and adventurous all while being beautifully feminine.
The truth is David didn’t play football, and we are not told that Ruth shopped at the mall, yet they both expressed true manhood and womanhood in their own unique way. For at the heart of manhood is a willingness to lay down ones life to lead, provide, and protect. David did that by slaughtering a giant. At the heart of womanhood is a willingness to follow Godly leadership, help others, and nurture the next generation, which Ruth did when she met Boaz and became his wife.
Both David and Ruth show us that expressions of masculinity and femininity are broad rather than narrow.
So if you are a girl who likes to get dirty and farm, don’t farm like a boy, farm like the girl God created you to be. If you are a guy who likes to write poetry, write poetry like a man after God’s own heart.