Culture

Adam and Ezer: Raising Girls to Be More Than “Helpers”

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“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” and it was good. The light was good. The land and the sea were good. All of the vegetation was good. The separation of the light from the darkness was good. Every bird and sea creature was good. Every animal God made was also good. Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness,” so he created “man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.” “God saw all that he has made, and it was very good (Gen 1:31).”

After God created man to work his beautiful creation (Gen 2:4-7), and steward its resources causing all things to flourish as he desired, man took responsibility. He physically worked and cared for God’s creation alone (Gen 1:15). Then GOD said, “It is not good for the man to be alone (Gen 2:18).”

Adam and Ezer

What God created from man was not an animal, nor was it like anything else in all creation. God created woman, in his own image and in the image of Adam (Gen 1:27 and Gen 2:23). She was created to be like Adam, yet different. She was created as a solution to right what God saw as a problem, “Adam’s aloneness,” and to also carry the responsibility, Godly leadership and stewardship of God’s creation.

In Hebrew, the Word states that God’s created an ezer for Adam. Our English language simply translates the word to “helper” which does not capture the essence of the original language. This word ezer is used throughout the Old Testament often referring to God himself as a helper, warrior, or military aid to his chosen people, Israel. It has connotations of being a strong power or force.

God’s created an 'ezer' for Adam, a helper, warrior, or military aid, a strong power or force. Click To Tweet

According to the Bible, an ezer does not create more work but rather lifts the burden or lightens the load because none of us, in our human condition, can do the work of God alone. Author Carolyn Custis James writes extensively about this research beginning with her book Lost Women of the Bible. On this topic, I also recommend, Reclaiming Eve: The Identity & Calling of Women in the Kingdom of God.

When I think about fundamentals of Christian discipleship, specifically as it relates to women, I am convinced that women need to first Know and Love God, only then can they affirm their identity in Christ Jesus, and love their neighbors as they love themselves. These are the tenets outlined in my work, Mentor for Life. The identity piece is so important because from the beginning of all creation, women need to know that we are created in God’s image and are ezers in God’s kingdom.

Setting Men and Women Free

All women are ezers. We are leaders. This is an identity we must embrace from a God we desperately need to know, who in love has called us his very own and given us a new family and community where we will never again be alone. This truth shakes the gates of hell, transforms lives, and changes generational curses on families and community. This truth sets men and women free!

Women as leaders was God’s good plan from the very beginning. Indeed, this was a gift to Adam. It is sin that caused the curse and division between men and women, and it is Christ who resurrects it. Christ did not die for us to live a little bit better than our sin. Christ died for us to live as God originally intended in the first place. Therefore, we must unlearn our cursed behavior, and walk in the newness of Christ and live!

This is why I offer leadership education that cultivates character development and spiritual formation. Through the nonprofit, Leadership LINKS, Inc., female and male leaders partner together to model and teach biblical leadership to the next generation. We have begun by first offering education through an annual leadership summer program for girls. Girls who lead become women who lead.

Photography Credit: Yuri Vaysgant
Leadership LINKS Summer Program for Girls 2016, Photography Credit: Yuri Vaysgant

The Fall and the Gap

Because of The Fall, we must unlearn bad behavior and then model and teach new ones. Last summer, the Harvard Graduate School of Education released a report for the Making Caring Common Project. The title was “Leaning Out: Teen Girls and Leadership Biases.” The report stated what many of us already know:

Gender gaps persists: male leaders still far outnumber women leaders in many fields, including business and politics.

Many teen boys and teen girls appear to have biases against girls and many women leaders and teens perceive their peers as biased against female leaders.

These problems are all heightened when you consider the prevalence of racial and ethnic biases.

Some mothers are part of the problem, and mothers can indeed be part of the solution.

One of the recommendations to encourage leadership among girls, and to address the unconscious bias against girls as leaders was to use programs and strategies that build girls’ leadership skills. The report recommends that high quality programs include exposure, skill development, collaboration, mentorship, and high expectations and meaningful opportunities. We offer this and more through our summer learning opportunity.

Because of The Fall, we must unlearn bad behavior and then model and teach new ones. Click To Tweet
Photography Credit: Yuri Vaysgant
Leadership LINKS Summer Program for Girls 2016, Photography Credit: Yuri Vaysgant

Our week long leadership program includes professional skill development, leadership and team learning opportunities, and features youth-led projects and opportunities for the youth to teach. We also provide a biblical framework for community service and global advocacy.

Our Leadership Exploration Series provides exposure to career fields where women are traditionally underrepresented or underpaid: Military and Government, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), Media and Arts, and Business and Entrepreneurship, while providing access to inspiring female and male leaders in these various fields. Our entire program is managed by Jesus-loving, military veterans with a wealth of leadership and mentoring experience in the military, government, education, community, church, and nonprofit sectors. Find out more about the leadership program of Leadership LINKS, Inc.

Leadership LINKS Summer Program for Girls 2016, Photography Credit: Sunset Hills Photography
Leadership LINKS Summer Program for Girls 2016, Photography Credit: Sunset Hills Photography

When I became a Christian, it gave me the opportunity to walk in the fullness of what I already knew as a girl…I am a leader. If we believe that #SheLeads, and the “Blessed Alliance” of men and women working together to advance the kingdom is God’s way of getting things done in his very good creation, then we must model this truth and teach it to the next generation.

We must raise up girls who lead!

We must raise up girls who lead! Click To Tweet

If you are a man or woman who resonates (or simply wants to further explore) with the theme of God’s design for co-leadership of women and men, join us for this unique multi-regional Summit coming up on Saturday, October 29. With the main location in Chicago, regional venues across the country, and options to participate remotely as a group or individually, this is something we’re excited to make available to as many people as possible!

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Lyon Fitch Saxton James

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5 responses to “Me and Homebrewed Christianity

  1. David & Tripp – Great interview. Led me to search my own heart for how I use those 3 “drivers” self-righteously to justify myself before God and others. Keller might call them “functional Saviors.” We must keep a close watch on the “teaching”, but we must also keep a close watch on ourselves; our hearts, our attitudes, our tone, our posture – making sure we’re in the faith.

  2. I think you’re exactly right, we need to renew those “drivers.” I think one of the most pressing issues in the Church is that illiteracy in the Bible and the lack of authoritative view of Scripture. Those are key issues that are being overlooked so easily and I think the results from that are becoming very apparent in the Church today.

  3. A friends facebook lead me here…he is actaually a former student of mine….and there you are the author of the Great Give Away…some parts of that book I was cheering, others in agony (mostly your confusion of biblical Christianity and the free market and how as christians we interact with the issues of poverty)….I’ll have to find my post and post the link here…one on which I commented on your book. I look forward to reading the end of everything…I mean the end of evangelicalism…peace, chip

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