This blog post was inspired by my recent experience at a Hillsong Colour Conference where the words "Vision-Carrier and Armor-Bearer" were used to describe women of God. These traits were not preached about during the conference but they resonated in my spirit long after it ended. A few weeks later, this blog post came from meditating over what those traits mean to me.
WOMANHOOD. The very word invokes various emotions, ideologies, and definitions. With Mother’s Day around the corner the general celebration of women is under fire in some circles. The idea of womanhood and women’s roles has been controversial since the beginning of time.
PERHAPS THE ENEMY SPENDS SO MUCH TIME CONFUSING A WOMAN'S GOD-GIVEN PURPOSE TO PREVENT HER FROM WALKING IN HER GOD-GIVEN POWER.
Living in the purpose of God naturally means living with the power of God. God Himself empowers and equips us to live out what He's placed in us. The enemy knows what a lot of us have forgotten: when women are walking in and fulfilling their destiny in Christ, they are an unstoppable force!
(But that’s for another blog post!)
I love women and I love seeing us walk in our God-ordained destiny in our sphere of influence. It’s a powerful testimony to the world to see a woman living out all God has for her, whenever and wherever He’s called her. Because I'm so passionate about what God has for women I have always paid special attention to women in the Bible. I am so thankful God values, empowers, and places women in strategic points throughout redemptive history.
Two particular women come to mind when I think of God powerfully displaying His work through women. Not surprisingly, they are both found in the book of Judges; Judges is a book of ordinary people doing extraordinary acts. Some stories are not for the faint of heart and can be challenging for us as modern day readers. Judges reflects the real life troubles and triumphs of God’s people as they wrestle with national identity, war and peace, and prosperity and captivity. Judges is filled with stories that are brutal, tragic, violent, and yet, with God, victorious. If you made a tv series out of Judges it would be a lot like the captivating and harrowing storyline of The Game Of Thrones.
I find it fascinating that smack in the middle of tumultuous times and cyclical ups and downs in Israel’s history that God would choose to raise up two women to positions of power and influence. In Judges 4 and 5 we read about two women who, although strangers, together changed the course of Israel’s history. Two ordinary women, one Extraordinary God; I’m listening!
Both Deborah and Jael powerfully demonstrate the effectiveness of a woman submitted to the purposes of God.
DEBORAH SHOWS THE POWER OF WOMEN AS VISION-CARRIERS AND JAEL DISPLAYS THE STRENGTH OF WOMEN AS ARMOR-BEARERS.
Mighty Women Of God As Vision-Carriers:
Deborah is the first female leader in Israel’s history and she was raised up as a judge and prophet for the people.
As a judge she is used by God to serve as the leader of her nation. She adjudicated disputes among the people, displayed superior leadership skills, had confidence in her God-given ability to govern, and was full of wisdom and discernment.
As a prophet she spoke God's vision, truth, and life to the people. As one who spoke on God's behalf she demonstrated her role as a vision-carrier; she knew God’s truth and spoke God’s words. No doubt serving as a vision-carrier in this hostile period of history meant having an unwavering relationship with the Lord in order to make some tough calls.
Deborah’s role as vision-carrier is displayed magnificently when she summoned Israel's Army Commander, Barak. It’s fascinating to me that it is SHE who informs him of the battle plan to defeat their enemy. She is the one who casts vision of victory and explains the precise military strategy he must undertake, and in the true spirit of Deborah, it is nothing short of bold and audacious!
As women, we have the natural ability to carry life and the strength to birth it forward. How much more, in faith, do we have the spiritual ability to carry life and vision and the strength to birth it. Deborah’s reputation as a leader and visionary won her the trust, respect, and favor of the people; when Deborah spoke God’s words to Israel, people listened intently.
LIKEWISE, IN CHRIST, WE ARE POWERFUL VISION-CARRIERS FOR THE LORD; WHEN WE LIVE AS SUCH PEOPLE WILL LISTEN AND WATCH INTENTLY OVER WHAT IS BEING BIRTHED IN AND THROUGH US.
Once Deborah birthed the vision her General, Barak, agreed but with one telling condition: Deborah must go with him (Judges 4:8). Barak was bold and obedient enough to lead 10,000 men into hand-to-hand combat with a well-armed, sophisticated enemy but make no mistake, he needed a mighty woman of God and vision-carrier to embolden him and his army!
God does not discriminate or show partiality. Do you see something in your home, community, church, or nation that requires the leadership you can offer? Do you feel a strong call to take assertive action for a human rights cause, fight against injustice, or take the role as a homeschool teacher for your kids? Deborah not only understood the problems around her but she knew her role as part of the solution. She answered the call of God on her life and stepped up to cast vision, lead, and build others up.
Judges 5:7 says, “Villagers in Israel would not fight; they held back until I, Deborah, arose, until I arose, a mother in Israel.”
THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE, CAUSES, AND DESTINIES WAITING ON YOU TO STEP INTO YOUR GOD-GIVEN CALLING, TO COME FORTH FROM THE SHADOWS AND SHOUT, "I, ARISE!"
Who or what is waiting for you to back them as a vision-carrier, life-giver, and truth-speaker? Whether it’s our husband, kids, friends, school, workplace, church, or community let us be prepared, like Deborah, to answer the call and shout, “I, arise!” for the purpose and cause of Christ!
Mighty Women Of God As Armor-Bearers:
Deborah, in all her discernment as a vision-carrier, was the one who prophesied about the honor of the battle’s victory belonging to a woman. Later, we see the woman she prophesied about was named Jael.
HOW I LOVE THAT A WOMAN PROPHESIED OVER, PRAYED IN, AND PREPARED THE WAY FOR ANOTHER WOMAN TO STEP INTO HER PURPOSE.
Deborah was a vision-carrier for other women and for the next generation. She wasn’t so insecure as to feel the need to take the victory or limelight for herself; she gladly recognized God's call over another woman and ushered her in. What women are you speaking life over, casting vision for, and encouraging to step into their God-given destiny? As a vision-carrier we have a responsibility to recognize and encourage the strengths and gifts of others so the Lord can empower and use them for victory! Ultimately, Jael's victory was Deborah's (and Israel's) victory. Where one woman in Christ advances, so we all do. Let us be quick to recognize the call of God on other women and gladly champion them forward.
Step now into the story of a simple, yet fierce woman, Jael. She was the wife of Heber the Kennite, and belonged to a nomadic people. Jael finds herself face-to-face with the enemy, Sisera. At the opportune moment Jael kills the enemy while he’s sleeping and she used a surprising weapon…her tent peg. She didn’t need any sophisticated piece of weaponry, she wasn’t armed with the finest or best gear; she simply used what she had and what she knew.
As women of God, we have a call on our lives to be armor-bearers. We have all been equipped with the armor of God (Ephesians 6:13-18), but not only that, He also equips us with armor specific to our needs and our calling. For Jael in a nomadic culture, it was a tent peg. It was something she held and handled everyday. She knew the weight of it and the force she’d need to drive that peg down into the ground.
SHE DIDN'T FEEL THE NEED TO USE SOMEONE ELSE'S ARMOR BECAUSE SHE KNEW HOW TO VALUE AND HANDLE HER OWN!
As a modern day armor-bearer we do not need to use the weapons, gifts, talents, or purpose that God has given other women because He has given us our own. It’s up to us to recognize our weapons, to value them, and know how to wield them!
What is your tent peg? What is the weapon, instrument, and armor God has uniquely and distinctly given you to use to defeat the enemy? What is it that you are familiar with, that you handle everyday, that you are an expert at? THAT is YOUR weapon. Your weapon is your talent, money, and energy you use to serve your church; it’s your fervent prayer over your wayward family member; it’s your voice of truth to speak into your broken marriage; it’s the light of Jesus you bring to your struggling workplace; it’s the sacrifice you make to raise up children who love and serve the Lord.
As armor-bearers we have a call to fight for our families, communities, churches, and whatever sphere of influence God has placed us in so we can defeat the enemy. If we all committed to live in light of that, we’d be an army of mighty women of God who would storm the gates of hell and take back that which belongs to Jesus.
In light of the New Covenant in Christ, we no longer live in an age of territorial warfare of flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12) or national identity. However, the Bible is clear that we do live in a spiritual battle as Christ’s Church where the weapons of our warfare are not of flesh and blood (2 Corinthians 10:3-6). We do not cower at this reality, but like Deborah and Jael, we arise to meet the challenge head on. We don’t need to pray and ask God to send warriors of the faith to minister to our surroundings. Instead, He has put the ultimate warrior, the Holy Spirit, within us and He sends US out to this world to fight the good fight of faith.