Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make
him a helper suitable for him.” Gen 2:18
Helpmate: God’s intention from the beginning.
All of the animals created had mates created with them so that they could procreate. But I find it interesting that God did not say that Adam needed someone with whom he could mate and procreate…that was one of the benefits of being given a wife, but Eve was created so that Adam would not be alone and would have someone to come alongside of him in his life and his work and be his helper and companion. And I love the picture of God bringing every creature to Adam so that he could see for himself that the cow and giraffe and alligator just would not work as a helper and companion!
Now, this did not necessarily mean that Adam FELT he needed a companion or helper. It meant that God knew and saw that it was not good for him to be alone; God understood his deep needs and longings even when Adam might not have. How often does this happen to us? We think:
“I am fine, I really do not need a companion. I am a loner and a companion would just mean sacrifice that I really do not want to make.”
But God, in His infinite wisdom, knows our real needs and supplies all of them.
So now you have a husband.
Maybe your husband doesn’t live in the Garden of Eden needing you to help him as he tends the ground and begins to populate the earth, however, you fill a very real need and help to your husband in the work God has given to him. You are the one who helps to make him successful; successful in the work God has given to him, in the ministry before him, in the raising of the children. You have heard the term, “behind every successful man lies a woman,” well for the believing husband this is true. When we are fulfilling our God-given role as a helpmate to our husbands, we have a strong and powerful role in the success he has in his life.
Does being a helpmate mean that I have no life of my own?
This is such an interesting question and one that, I am convinced, is a product of our time. When we look at our life in the eternal scheme of things, the concept of having a life of our own is absurd!
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body. 1Cr 6:19-20
Granted, the context of this verse is about immorality and how it affects us, but the truth of God’s ownership of our lives still rings out in it. We are not our own…our lives no longer belong to us, they belong to God.
We are His handmaidens because He paid a very heavy price for us.
So, this means that all of our lives, our hopes, our dreams, our plans and our goals belong to Him and must be surrendered to Him. He is the One who decides the path and pattern of our lives.
We are poured out as a drink offering to His glory.
Just as Jesus was called to lay down His life for us, we, too, are called to lay down our lives for God and in service to others. Now, in light of this biblical understanding of the Christian life (quite different from our American Dream ideals or the recent ideas about looking out for Number 1), let us revisit that question again about a life of my own.
Once we marry and/or when we have children, this IS our life.
From here on out we are to focus on serving the Lord through serving and ministering to our family – primarily our husbands. We were created uniquely specific to his needs. We have the ability to fill up where he is lacking, we are his other (not his better) half. Unfortunately we do not always function in this capacity, and we are still working through so many of our own sin issues and areas of deception in our hearts and weaknesses, but this is the ultimate goal for which God has designed us.
Now that we have established the framework and vision for being a helpmate, what does it really look like?
- I am not a doormat…I do not lie down so my husband can trod on me; I am valuable in the eyes of the Lord in my own right and my ministry is vital to the maturation of my husband (just as his is to me) and to the church
- I am a vital vibrant child of God and have value in who I am before the Lord for all eternity
- I willingly lay down my own wants and desires for the sake of the Lord and to help meet the needs of my husband
- I am my husband’s greatest counsel; God gives insight and wisdom and concerns to me that my husband my not see without me… part of my job is to lovingly share these thoughts with him so that, together (whenever possible) we can make the wisest and best choices for our family
- I am not my husband’s slave although I am called to serve him (God has given him very definite responsibilities in how he is to treat, honor, protect and nurture me), but like Jesus’ service to the church, it is not out of obligation but love
- I am not allowed to take all of my husband’s responsibilities on my shoulders to relieve him of pressure and stress (either out of frustration that he is not doing a good job or out of a desire to help him in times of stress); God has given my husband his own responsibilities and I cannot take over God’s job in my husband’s life
- I need to figure out what my husband’s priorities are for our family and home and work to line my priorities up with his, with his help and guidance if necessary
- I am intelligent in my own right, I do not need my husband because I am stupid or cannot understand scripture for myself, but in my marriage I am not complete without him – God no longer provides the grace for me to live apart from the gifts and talents of my husband (while we are married)
- God gives the responsibility for the direction for our family to my husband, along with input and insight from me, and it is my job to help the children see and follow that direction (as long as it is within the bounds of scripture)
Some of these ideas might seem strange or antiquated.
That is because very often today churches are not teaching women how to live according to the biblical view. Churches have too often gotten sucked into the world’s ideals and purposes. But God calls us to be a peculiar people, set apart for His purposes and will. That makes us look a little strange, makes us act a bit weird, makes us function on a whole other plane. However, it also gives us power and fruitfulness and joy in our lives that people in the world long for and only dream about.
- Our power is not financial or political, our power is spiritual and internal.
- Our joy is not merely happiness in good circumstances.
- Our joy is deep and abiding, regardless of the circumstances around us.
This joy and power give strength to us as women to help our husbands grasp a glimpse of heaven in our own homes here on earth.