A note from Kelly King: There are a lot of uncertainties in this life, but as Christ-followers, there are many things we can know for sure. In today’s article, Kim Whitten gives us three things leaders can know based on our faith and Scripture. To hear Kim, attend You Lead events in 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina or Cincinnati, Ohio. For more information and registration, click here.
She stepped up to the podium in jeans and the casual look of a famous writer who prefers pen to platform. A 61-year-old woman with dreadlocks and glasses about to deliver a televised TED talk to an eager audience. She began by elegantly confessing her age and then made this informal yet bold statement: “I decided to compile a list of everything I know for sure. There’s so little truth in the popular culture,” she continued “and it’s good to be sure of a few things.” Renowned author Anne Lamott then cited 12 truths she learned from life and writing. Her audience gobbled it up with a standing ovation.
I remember thinking that twelve things is a lot to be certain of—to be absolutely sure. (To be honest, some of us aren’t even completely sure that we put on deodorant this morning…I mean, I’m pretty sure I did…but absolutely sure? That might be a stretch!) Yet, her talk somehow inspired me.
As a believer in Christ, aren’t there things we can know for certain? More importantly, as God-called leaders of women, shouldn’t we be teaching our ladies that in this uncertain day and age, there are things of which they can be sure and certain? What if, for the next few minutes, we made a list of our own? Walking through life with women from all over, here is my short list of things that I know for certain…
1. God is only good.
Leaders, I beg that you grab on to that statement with your convicted core. God is only good. His character and nature reveal to us that He actually cannot be anything but good because being God makes Him good and His goodness is an outpouring of being God. I have Psalm 119:68 highlighted, underlined, scribbled over, circled, and tearstained on the right hand column of my Bible. It says, “You are good, and you do what is good; teach me your statutes.”
Not only is God good, but what He does is good. What a hard thing to teach the woman whose husband walked out. What a painful truth for the mother whose child just died. How tear-stained is this truth for ladies who long for a husband or children or reconciliation or freedom from addiction or any number of things that do not bear evidence of God’s goodness. But God is good, despite what I see or feel or experience because God is God and He can only be good.
More than ever, the women in our ministries need to be reminded of this hard yet simple truth. Even as leaders, there will be times when we have to remind our hearts and minds of this certainty because blaming God is all too easy as a default emotion. But the truth of who God is does not depend on how I feel about Him. He is simply and outrightly God.
If you’re sitting with a woman and the bottom has just fallen out of her life, please tell her that you know for certain that her God is good. Here is more black and white evidence of God’s goodness:
“Give thanks to the LORD for He is good; His faithful love endures forever” (Psalm 107:1).
“The LORD is good to everyone; his compassion rests on all he has made” (Psalm 145:9).
“Taste and see that the LORD is good. How happy is the person who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:8).
“Hallelujah! Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his faithful love endures forever” (Psalm 106:1).
I believe we are seeing an epic battle in our society that main stages this message: If God were good, there would not be bad.
We see the headlines when we watch the news. We read the updates on our Twitter feeds. We hear the simple prayer requests of the ladies in our Bible studies. The earth is groaning, and things seem to be getting worse. But as believers, it is our responsibility to fight the lie that God is a passive, unfeeling, or elusive God. He is our God who sees and knows, and His only nature is goodness (Genesis 16:13; 1 John 1:5).
When ladies ask you where God is, how God could allow, or why something is happening, point them to the truth that God can ONLY be good. Beginning with this premise does not excuse suffering, but rather it places hurt and pain under the control of a good God (Romans 8:28).
2. Scripture has everything we need.
In culture today, it is incredibly tempting to believe that while Scripture is authoritative, it is not completely sufficient. The conflict over the sufficiency of Scripture is not new. Scripture declares itself sufficient in Psalm 19, stating that it is perfect, sure, right, pure, righteous, and true.
Martin Luther passionately declared, “Therefore, whenever any one is assailed by temptation of any sort whatever, the very best that he can do in the case is either to read something in the Holy Scriptures, or think about the Word of God, and apply it to his heart.”
The question that we face today is not “Can Scripture be trusted?” but rather “Is Scripture enough?” As leaders, we affirm this answer when we choose to use the Word of God as our defense instead of cultural understanding. We confirm sufficiency when we rely solely on the instructions and consolations of Scripture as we minister to women, teach children, love students, make a home, and use our God-given gifts. I had some sweet college gals teasing me the other day, and honestly it was music to my ears! They said, “Well you know what Miss Kim is gonna say, her favorite line is—’Well, the Bible says…’ or ‘What does the Bible say about that’?” I nearly doubled over in delight!
We have scads of women who assume they need a little bit of Scripture and also a self-help book. They need some Jesus and some pop psychology. A great big THANK YOU to all of our Bible study leaders out there who fight this battle every week, as they keep pointing to the sufficiency of Scripture. Oh, sister…is Scripture enough? Yes! Declaratively yes! We can never give ground on this. Like nothing else in our lives, Scripture has everything we need.
3. People matter.
In the past few months, this is the conviction that has borne the sweetest perforation in my spirit. As a leader of ladies, I want to love well. I want to love well those who are unlovely and make it hard to love. Some days, that is a fight. If you’ve been leading long enough, you know that’s true. Some people are just downright hard to love! They’re the little prickly pears of creation! But Scripture tells us in Genesis that we were all created as image-bearers of God (Genesis 1:26-28). Have you ever considered that each person you come in contact with is actually bearing the image and mark of the God you worship? And what if you got to know her? Would you know a little bit more about the image of God?
What an awesome privilege to be called to love and care for the people that God created in His own image! The Bible says that God is mindful of mankind, and He made us a “little less than God and crowned [us] with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:4-5). You have a crown of glory. That woman who is hard to love? She has a place of honor. God is mindful and thoughtful of your neighbor.
People matter. All people matter to God; therefore all people should matter to us.
Author and TED talk speaker Anne Lamott is absolutely correct that there is little truth in the popular culture. But our belief in Jesus Christ makes us certain of truths that supersede time, culture, or popular opinion. If you were going to make a list of things that you are sure of, what would be on it?
Kim Whitten is pursuing a Master of Divinity with a concentration in Women’s Studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Before moving to Texas, she served as a Girls’ Minister at Idlewild Baptist Church in Florida. Kim has a genuine love for people, a love for the Church, and a desire to see others grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ through meaningful relationships.