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Strong Biblical women use different strategies to succeed — and we can learn success tips from every one of them. These seven female Bible heroes are Eve, Naomi, Ruth, Esther, Mary, Martha, and Mary of Nazarene.
Our Biblical sisters surrendered to God in different ways, depending on their position, personality, and predicament. No two lives were the same, except for one thing: they all said yes to God. And that’s the most important strategy of a female Bible hero: say “yes” to God! Fighting His will — or ignoring Jesus’ call on your life — will not lead to success.
These strong women of the Bible show us how to succeed at work, school, home, and in our most important relationships. Embedded in these strategies are tips for healing a broken heart, because every female Bible hero had to heal from loss. Our Biblical sisters were constantly growing forward because they couldn’t go back, and we can apply their wisdom to our lives.
Strong women get scared. Healthy women feel pain, grief, and guilt. Smart women fail and even falter in their faith. Spiritual women face disease, death, divorce because we live in a fallen world, and God doesn’t shelter us like precious fragile roses in a hothouse. He lets us live fully, madly and deeply, just like He let our Biblical sisters experience rich, deep, full lives.
While writing Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back I noticed that the female heroes of the Bible didn’t waste time asking “why me?” They didn’t second-guess themselves, or allow grief to destroy them. Our Biblical sisters didn’t always feel strong, healthy, or whole. They felt fear, doubt, and pain. Yet these women of the Bible stayed focused on God. These women kept growing forward, which is what makes them our female Bible heroes today.
7 Strategies Female Bible Heroes Used to Succeed
Whether you’re starting over when life knocks you down or searching for success tips from strong Biblical women, remember this: Saying “Yes, Lord” is the most important thing you will ever do. Surrender to God’s will for your life. Rest in Jesus’ grace and love. Accept the Holy Spirit’s guidance and wisdom.
Learn “success strategies” of this world, but never forget who created the earth and everything in it! “Not my will, but thine,” is the call of a faithful woman’s heart.
God is in ultimate control. He calls us to be wise and thoughtful, faithful and active…but He also makes all the final decisions.
Read through these success tips from strong women of the Bible, but keep your your heart and spirit aligned with Jesus Christ.
Eve moved past grief and accepted a new life
In the beginning, Eve said “yes” by accepting her losses and choosing to praise God for new blessings (Seth, a baby boy!). But Genesis 4 tells us that before she grew forward, she mourned. Eve was the first woman to grieve the death of a son and agonize over her other son’s crime of killing his brother. She was the first woman to feel the pain and shame of family estrangement. Eve was also the first woman to move forward without the support of a mom, sister, or aunt.
Worse, Eve didn’t have the most important success strategy of all time: the Holy Spirit’s power, wisdom or joy. She couldn’t treasure God’s words in Scripture because they weren’t written yet. While Eve was on earth, she didn’t know Jesus’ grace, salvation or love. And yet Eve is a female Bible hero because she found the strength to say “Yes, Lord” and keep moving forward. That is her secret to success — and it can be ours, too.
Ruth started over after loss
When she left her home country to move to Israel with Naomi, Ruth moved through fear, doubt and uncertainty. The book of Ruth tells us that she and her mother-in-law Naomi were childless widows who had nothing. Naomi didn’t want Ruth to give up everything. In fact, Naomi urged her to return to Moab. But Ruth refused. She was determined to walk into a new life and build a relationship with God.
Ruth believed a fresh season had already begun and she wanted to keep moving forward. This thought alone is a strategy for success, and it makes Ruth a female Bible hero. She repeatedly said “yes” by pledging her allegiance to God, turning away from her family and Moabite idols, gleaning in foreign fields, and risking her life by approaching the wealthy Boaz. She became King David’s great-grandmother and is named in Jesus’ family lineage.
Esther created a strategic plan for success
Esther is my absolute favorite female Bible hero. Before she was a queen Esther was a Jewish orphan girl called Hadassah. She is the second woman in the Christian Bible with a book named after her (Ruth was the first). Esther risked her life to save the Jews from extermination by King Xerxes. How? Not by batting her eyelashes and asking the king to “pretty please let my people live.”
Esther organized and prepared:
- Three days of fasting for herself, her attendants, Mordecai, and the Jewis people.
- Two delicious banquets to soften and sweeten King Xerxes.
- A strategy to stop Haman’s extermination plan.
- A public confession that she was Jewish.
- Her verbal and social skills to approach the throne.
- Her face, body, hair and royal garments to please the king.
- A logical argument that appealed to Xerxes’ ego, honor, and reputation.
Talk about strategies for success! Esther accepted her life as it was and used every resource God gave her. This female Bible hero prepared and executed a strategy at work. And she was victorious.
If you’re looking for on-the-job success tips, read Dealing With Disappointing News at Work.
Martha and Mary shared their natural strengths
The book of Luke tells us Martha was a hospitable woman, preoccupied with preparing the comforts of home and hearth. She poured her energy into serving houseguests, ensuring bellies were fed, keeping bodies warm and comfortable. Martha’s ministry was practical and probably delicious. In contrast, her sister Mary spent time sitting at Jesus’ feet and absorbing His teaching—which was unusual and even scandalous for women in those days. Mary opened her mind and heart, absorbing every moment with Him.
These two women of the Bible spent their time and energy differently because they had unique personalities, strengths, and gifts. They expressed their love for Jesus in different ways. Jesus unconditionally accepted and loved them both for who they were. He interacted with them differently…and Jesus let them say “yes” their own way. These two female Bible heroes were fully and completely themselves, without apology or shame. How’s that for a success strategy?
Mary of Nazareth let go
Mary of Nazareth was the Jewish mother of Jesus. She is lauded as the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Mary, Madonna. She was faithful, courageous and strong—but she was also a real woman who faced great pain, sacrifice, and grief. Mary loved her husband Joseph and her son Jesus. She lost them both.
No matter what Mary faced, she chose to say “Yes” and participate in God’s plans. Mary didn’t need strategies for success and yet she is the most famous female Bible hero. Mary, like Hannah centuries earlier, sang yes! to God even though she had no idea what her future held. When the angel Gabriel first appeared to her, she said “Yes, Lord” to the possibility of losing her fiancé and living in disgrace as an unwed mother. She said “Yes” to an unknown, unchosen new season in her life. Mary had no idea what she was agreeing to, yet she blossomed into the biggest yes of her life.
These women came alive to me while I was writing Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back. I imagined the pain of being Eve, the first woman to grieve a son’s death and accept another son’s estrangement. I felt the fear and loneliness of being Ruth, a childless widow who moved to a new country and started over. I wondered what it’d be like to be Queen Esther when all you really want is your mom and dad, a home, a normal life. I felt Mary’s confusion and grief of giving birth to a son, raising and loving him until the moment he breathed his last on the cross.
We can learn so much from strong women of the Bible — our Biblical sisters — but they don’t give us perfect or guaranteed success strategies for life. We can be grateful for stories about female Bible heroes, but the truth is found only in one place: Jesus. Saying “thy will be done” while choosing to grow forward is the only way to truly, madly, deeply and fully live as women of faith.
What do you think? I’d love to hear which female Bible hero stood out to you, or what you think about these success strategies. Share what God is teaching you in your own life, or how you’re growing forward into the new season He has planned.
With His love,