Feminine Zeal

Feminine Zeal

By Genevieve Smith

    The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines zeal primarily in Biblical terms:??denoting ardent feeling (taking the form of love, wrath,??jealousy’ or righteous indignation). ?? It also defines it as??Ardour in the pursuit of an end or in favour of a person or cause; active enthusiasm. ??Have you seen a zealous person before? Someone who emanated zeal? Wasn’t it electrifying? Didn’t you just want to follow along behind? Didn’t you just hope that some of their enthusiasm would rub off onto you? Didn’t you want to be around them? Didn’t you want to be just like them?And yet have you witnessed misdirected zeal? The type of zeal that takes a person and others down the wrong track? Which makes mountains out of molehills? Which detracts from life’s goal and purpose? This sort of zeal is pointless and dangerous.Zeal/enthusiasm/ardour are all very attractive to us when we observe them in others. If we are zealous or enthusiastic, we soon learn that we can use our passions to influence others mightily. Our influence could be in something small, such as a decision over whether to drink Coca-Cola or Pepsi, or it could be in something bigger, such as a decision to purchase a Holden or a Ford. And it could even be over the direction of a person’s life, ambitions, and purpose.

    As Christians, our purpose in life is to apply our zeal towards bringing glory to God and (this is pretty exciting to me) enjoying Him forever! We are to be actively enthusiastic in the pursuit of obeying God in order to bring Him glory. Wow!

    If we could be zealous about obeying God, what would that mean? It’d mean we’d enjoy obeying God. We’d like it. We’d love it. We’d want to do it always. We’d be visionary about it. It would give us purpose. We’d never want to stop obeying Him! We would be enthusiastic it about it. We’d want to tell everyone else around us,??Hey, y’all, this is the way to go! ?? We would be like bright lights burning on a hill. Our zeal would attract others.

    Of course, our responsibility as Christians is to ensure that our zeal is not misapplied and that we are actually being obedient to God in our enthusiasm.

    Whether we are being obedient should be easy for us to determine. Rather than relying on extra revelation from God to help us figure out what God wants us to do, we should be guided by His Word as revealed in Scripture.

    This is where our subject of zeal becomes real exciting for us girls (guys too, but I’m writing for us girls)! God tells us what He wants us to do (how we can be obedient) in Scripture. He tells us for what reason(s) He has created us. He tells us what our purpose is. He tells us what we need to learn and know. He tells us what our duties are. He has been, in fact, perfectly merciful and kind to us girls in spelling out in Scripture exactly what He wants us to do, for we can be hopelessly befuddled at times.

    Mind you, it is not surprising that we would be hopelessly befuddled at times, or that we would misdirect our zeal more often than not, since it is the stated ambition of our enemy, the devil, to turn us girls from God and cause us to disobey His commandments.

    And to what is it that God wants us to direct our zeal, as women?

    ??And the LORD God said,??It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.’ ?? ~ Genesis 2:18

    God wants us to be zealous about helping our future husbands (and in the absence of husbands, our fathers).

    ??Then God said,??Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them,??Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’ ?? ~ Genesis 1:26-28

    Here God elaborates on how we are to help our husbands. He wants us to be enthusiastic about having children. He wants us to love and to be jealous of the children that He gives to us. And He wants us to have an ardent enthusiasm for working alongside our husbands in raising our children and in assisting them as they seek to fulfil the mandate to take dominion.

    ??A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the LORD your God. ?? ~ Deuteronomy 22:5

    God wants us to be zealous about being women, about being feminine. He wants us to embrace the role He has for us as women and glory in it!

    ??The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behaviour, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things-that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. ?? ~ Titus 2:3-5

    This could be the passage that makes me the most enthusiastic about where God wants us to direct our zeal! He wants us to love our husbands. If it does not excite you that the Lord wants us to love our husbands, I don’t know what will! The Lord wants us to have zeal in loving our children! Wow. He wants us to be zealous in being discreet! He wants us to have zeal for chastity! He wants us to be zealous for our purity. He wants us to be zealous in being homemakers! He wants us to have zeal for cooking and cleaning and keeping house! He wants us to have zeal in being good and in obeying our husbands!

    This passage is not just for the married women. Unmarried women can be zealous in learning how to love husbands and children. Unmarried women can have great zeal in learning to be discreet and chaste and pure and good. In fact, there is nothing quite like an unmarried girl pursuing and learning these things to give hope back to a community and to warm the hearts of older folks. And God has given unmarried women fathers so that they can learn to love and be obedient to their future husbands by learning to love and be obedient to their fathers. And He has given them siblings so that they can learn to love their future children by learning to love their siblings.

    In the face of how the devil has convinced our culture to believe things contrary to each of these passages, can we be zealous for the things of God? Can we do this girls? Can we bring glory to God by obeying Him in the things He wants us to be obedient in? Can we be feminine with glorious zeal? Can we learn how to be chaste and how to pursue purity with zealous abandon?

    Of all the things in life we could have zeal for–money, friendships, makeup, jewelery, cars, music, clothing, entertainment, books, politics or whatever–I pray that we can all develop a zeal for obeying God in the things, in the role, and through the duties He has for us.

    May He give us all such a zeal!

Genevieve Smith is the eldest daughter of Craig and Barbara Smith. Her Dad is the National Director of the Home Education Foundation in New Zealand. She enjoys assisting him in his ministry as well as working with her Mum in their home and playing with her younger siblings.

Profile of the Smiths

Since November 1998 the Home Education Foundation has contracted Craig & Barbara Smith to serve the home education community full-time. They have eight children aged 8 months to 26 years, (Genevieve, Zach, Alanson, Charmagne, Jeremiah, Jedediah, Kaitlyn and Grace Ariana) who are all totally home educated. These two are building on their volunteer work since 1986 in the areas of publishing (such as Keystone journal for Christian Home Schoolers, TEACH Bulletin and the booklet “Preparing for an ERO Review”), counselling, correspondence with politicians and educationalists, lobbying, running National Christian Home Education Conferences (six since 1987) and National Leadership Forums (annually since 1996), moderating various home education email discussion groups, media releases, speaking at local seminars, hosting overseas speaker tours and networking among local support groups and with overseas home schooling organisations. Their efforts are conducted under the eye of the Home Education Foundation’s Trustees and a Board of Reference, which represents 19 locations all over New Zealand.

Craig and Barbara Smith

When our oldest, Genevieve, was knocking on 5 years old, I started asking about schooling and didn’t like the answers I was getting. The secular clause (S.77) of New Zealand’s Education Act means “with no religious instruction or observance”. The Bible says fathers are responsible to train up children in the way they should go, in the nurture and instruction of the Lord. These two positions seemed incompatible to me, so we helped start Cornerstone Christian School in Palmerston North. The hassle and work involved in that is a nightmare I would not wish on anyone. When it opened its doors for business, we had been home educating for a year and had discovered so many benefits, there was no way we would ever send them off to “prison” (as I consistently called the place): having fun and friendship with the children, not just watching but causing the light of understanding to go on in their eyes, feeling more fulfilled as a parent than anything else I’d ever done, seeing their rapid advancement potential and innate curiosity heightened rather than dampened, etc.I gave up a cushy job with Air New Zealand (plus all the free world travel) to become a door to door salesman (Rawleighs), to the horror of all my university degree toting rellies back in the US. But it allowed me, the children’s Dad, to have the mornings completely free to do the academic teaching. We did the school at home thing for two years until I discovered the “Delight Directed” method of unschooling: whatever I delighted in directed our studies!! Our 7, 9 & 10 year olds and I did nuclear physics to the exclusion of everything else one time for three solid weeks! We all remember that as the highlight of our home education days.After about 11 years, though, the door to door thing folded up, and I became a full time student at Massey University, doing a BA in Social Policy. Barbara hesitantly took over the home education. She felt extremely inadequate because, although her parents did all they could to give her a good education, including sending her to boarding school, the conventional classroom never suited Barbara’s kinaesthetic learning style. But then she found how much the children could learn as they learned along with her and caught her excitement about learning and seeing the connections with the everyday real world.None of our eight children, three being adopted, and one fostered, have ever been to school.

Here are a couple of links introducing our family. One from Time Magazine and one from the Listener.

Time Magazine:

http://www.time.com/time/pacific/magazine/article/0,13673,503060417-1181679,00.htmlor http://tinyurl.com/rlhsv

Photo Essay: School’s Out Forever(Our family’s photos are numbers 1 and 4.)

Listener (2 pages):


Genevieve Smith

DOB 1980,
Work experience: Went to work for lawyer; he put her through night school; she achieved Legal Executive qualification. Worked overseas for a couple of years. Decided to come home and work with Dad & Mum (for no remuneration) for Home Education Foundation, a charitable trust, while continuing training and education in large variety of skills.




Zach and Megan Smith

Zach: DOB 1981,
Work experience: Got into Massey by talking to Admissions Officer; took only one paper and tied with another home schooler for top grade in class; went overseas and worked up in a family business (Rainbow Resource Center) to present position of Marketing Director; married owners’ daughter – Megan Smith (nee Schneider). http://www.rainbowresource.com/index.php

Zach and Megan’s first baby born 15 September 2007
Our first grandchildCheyenh Marie
Cheyenh is pronounced Shy-an. The Enh ending instead of the American Indian tribal name of Cheyenne, pronounced the same, is in honour of Megan’s best girlfriend, Enh.

Alanson Smith

DOB 1984,
Work experience: Technically failed entrance exam for RNZAF, but won trophy for academic excellence at Boot Camp; finished off Avionics course at RNZAF Woodbourne; now working at Ohakea

Charmagne Smith

DOB 1987,
Work experience: Worked in NZ and overseas; returned home to work with Dad & Mum (for no remuneration) for Home Education Foundation, a charitable trust, while continuing training and education in large variety of skills.



Both Genevieve and Charmagne have calendars overflowing with events, activities and commitments. Both say a regular job would not only be intolerably boring, it would prevent them from enjoying the huge variety of work, service and self-improvement they are currently immersed in.

Jeremiah, Jedediah, Kaitlyn and Grace