Biblical Womanhood · femininity · Godly Character Traits · Mentoring

Safeguarding Your Purity

Lesson *9 in Adorned, by Nancy Wolgemuth

We use locks, safes, fences, banks, and fresh, new passwords to keep our valuables secure. But what do we do to keep our purity secure?   Have we given it as much thought? Do we set up protective measures so that it won’t be stolen? 

As we have been making our way through this Titus 2, I see these verses having a waterfall effect. 
The top of the fall is the instruction to teach the younger women.
Then each subject is addressed and one just trickles right into the next one. 

In the previous study, we talked about being discreet. The word we used was sophron – from the Greek  meaning sound mind.  It’s thinking that is solid and based on the Word of God.  The overflow of that kind of thinking leads us to our next characteristic – Discreet or pure.

Titus 2:5 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet (sophron), chaste – pure. One commentator says,

Pure” refers primarily to moral purity, and, especially in this context, to sexual purity and marital faithfulness. Christian women as young wives are “to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly,

As older women, remember that we are modeling before the younger women each of these characteristics.  As we teach them, we are giving them someone to walk through the journey of godly womanhood with them. 

We must also understand that this life of purity involves more than preserving our marriage and sexual purity. This touches every area of our lives –

  • What we thinkPhil 4:8
  • `What we look atPs. 101:3 I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: 
  • `What we sayProv 4:24 Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.

Scripture tells us why we should be pure. I mean, what’s the big deal, anyway?

Titus 1:15-16 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

Nancy Wolgemuth admonishes…
Unbelievers are slaves to their passions and lusts. Our world is full of this kind of living. It’s everywhere we look.Because it’s so prevalent, it’s easy to lose our shame of it.  It’s easy to be casual about it, rather than being concerned.  We’re used to it. If we’re not careful, we become desensitized to coarse language in books and movies, we overlook sinful conduct on television that we would never invite into our homes.  What has happened is that we’ve opened the vault door of our purity and let thieves come in to take whatever they want.  We can’t think that allowing this to go unguarded won’t have an affect on us.

If this concerns you, her book listed five practical ways that we can “safeguard” our purity. I’ll list them without any explanation here but if you want the details you can listen to the podcast I recorded on this chapter here.

  1. Choose discretion
  2. Value modesty
  3. Check your emotional attachments
  4. Guard your electronic communications
  5. Lean on your trusted female friendships

As a pastor’s wife, I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had people sit on our living room sofa  and weep and say through their sobs, “I so regret what I’ve done. If only I had made a different choice!”
BUT I’ve never heard anyone ever say, “I so regret staying pure!” Never.
You won’t regret it, either.  Not only will you have the joy and peace that purity brings, you will have a testimony to share to a younger woman and a watching world. 

Guard your purity – so much is at stake.

Ask yourself which of the five safeguards you need to put into practice.

Refresh your purity by making it safe.

Biblical Womanhood · Mentoring

If Your Thoughts Are All Over the Map

Adorned Study 8

One spring day in my East Tennessee backyard, I took my grandsons out on our acre of property, with both excitement and kites in tow!  We were going to fly their new kites for the first time!  They were ecstatic!  It had been many years since I had done this and I wondered if I could remember how to get this piece of plastic and string soaring into the air!  

I held it up with the current, let out a little string and watched the kite lift for a minute, and then it began to jerk, bob and then take a dive downward where it crashed to the ground.  I tried it all again, this time letting out more string so the wind could carry it upward.  It soared.  I handed the string over to my grandson.  As he held it in his small hands, the string began to unwind further and further until it was totally unwound.  The kite had lifted to the its full extent and was happily steady and flying smoothly!  It stayed up there until we were ready to go inside!

Just a couple weeks after that fun event, I went through some typical struggles that all women experience in life.  I was walking and praying one morning and the Lord brought to my mind the picture of that kite when it was bobbing and crashing to the ground.  As my emotions engaged, this is  exactly what I had allowed my mind to do. Rather than them being tethered to the string of truth, my thoughts were all over the place.

We’re all tempted to fall into that same kind of reaction when the winds of adversity blow or when a storm is descending upon us.  But I’m thankful to know and learn that we don’t have to bob and crash! There is hope for us and we find it in God’s Word. 

As we have been going through the Book, Adorned, we’ve learned through the study of Titus 2 that we are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, under control of our desires, teachers of sound doctrine.  We’re to be using our lives to teach younger women.  None of this can happen if we are out of control, if our lives reflect someone who looks like my out of control kite – happy one minute, depressed the next.  Content and peaceful one day, screaming at God and everyone around us the next. 

Titus 2 goes on to instruct us…

The older women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things,
that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,5 to be discreet,

In many modern translations, “be discreet” is translated, “self-controlled or sensible.” The Greek word is Sophron. It comes from two other Greek words – soos, meaning either sound or saved and phorn meaning outlook or mind. When we put the two together, it means to have a “sound mind.” 

In chapter 3 of this study we learned about sophron – and we referenced it keeping us in control so we can be modeling for a younger woman a godly life, controlled by the Spirit of God. Sophron means “to be able to put on the brakes.”  We are led by the Spirit to stop our words – to stop our attitude, to stop our wrong response. We put on the brakes.

Nancy says that a sophron lifestyle begins with a sophron state of mind – a way of thinking that affects everything about the way we live.  We are what we think, so a sensile, sound, self-controlled mindset will result with a a sensible, sound, self-controlled life.

God’s Word is so practical for our everyday lives and this word shows us how to live out this sophron life – We must ask ourselves moment by moment, Is my thinking sophron?  Were my words sophron?  Is my response sophron?

There’s a spillover from not thinking sophron – our responses and appetites will lend themselves to excesses and addiction, as we talked about in the last lesson of this book.  

How do we acquire this kind of sound thinking?  Do we will it to happen?  Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

Remember my kite story?  I had to let the wind have control over the kite.  This is a beautiful picture of God’s Spirit controlling us when we just surrender to the Christ who lives in us.  The Christ in us will always respond correctly. 

Surrender – let Him have complete control. Be a woman with a sophron lifestyle – sound thinking that will control you, your thoughts and your responses.  Your testimony as a godly woman will soar!

What do you struggle with most in regards to reining in your thoughts? You can go here to listen to the podcast on this chapter.

Biblical Womanhood · Discipleship · Mentoring

Enslaved

Just one more, please???!!!

One more what?

That’s what I want you to answer! What do you need just one more of to make it through this day? What is it that will make your hardship easier to handle?

  • Coffee?
  • Chocolate?
  • Pain pill?
  • Anxiety med?
  • Drink of alcohol?
  • Hour of social media?

If our answer isn’t “CHRIST!” we may be looking at a stronghold in our life. For many women in Paul’s day, their answer was

I need more wine!

He told Titus to tell the older women to teach the younger women that they were not to be given or controlled by wine. Titus 2:3 The reference of wine includes the enslavement to anything that takes the place of our utter dependence on Christ.

It’s easy for us as we age to swallow the lie that, “I have earned the right to a little pleasure! One more ______________ won’t hurt.” We become slaves to it and then believe the lie that we could walk away from it if we wanted to.

 Titus 2:3 the ESV says, slaves to much wine. And it means to be held and controlled against one’s own will. “This is what happens when we become enslaved to certain substances or habits or activities – anything that we deem essential to our happiness, sanity or survival.”

That slavery can be called many things – addiction, compulsion, stronghold, or dependency.

In her book, Adorned, Nancy listed some of the other common compulsions that enslave many women – even Christian women today. They might include:

  • Food – binge eating as a way to numb feelings. 1 in 4 women in churches struggle here.
  • Diet and exercise – Hooked on being healthy – it’s all they talk about.  Exercise, carbs, scales, etc., consume their world and conversation.
  • Shopping –  What starts out as a way to meet needs, ends up spending and overspending, hiding receipts and purchases in order to relieve pent up pressure.
  • TV, Media – Panic sets in when the Internet is down and you’re not able to check in, scan Facebook or Instagram.
  • Prescription medications – At one time needed for one thing, now relied upon just to get us out of bed or “give a little more energy.”

If you’re still not sure if you have something in your life you’re enslaved to, try going without it for 30 days.

If you find you can’t, then ask yourself,

Who’s the master, and who’s the servant?

 

There is hope for you, if you do find yourself a slave to something!
Jesus said, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, Luke 4:18-19

How does it happen?

Not by willing ourselves to do so, but by yielding ourselves to our Master. It won’t necessarily happen in a moment, but in each moment as we yield ourselves to Christ. 
Now…and now…and now. 
We can live in victory over sin’s pull by appropriating His strength to worship Him, rather than that other god.

Reach out if you need help. Ask a strong believer to make you accountable. Keep yourself constantly yielded to Christ.

He is enough!

You can hear more on this chapter by listening to the Adorned (7) podcast here.

You can be free!

Biblical Womanhood · Discipleship · Mentoring

The Damage Of Diabolical Words

Continuation of the book, Adorned, Lesson #6

What would you say is the easiest way to determine a person’s character?

Listen to them talk.

Our Savior said that what is in our heart will come out of our mouth.

As we continue through Titus 2, we read,  The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers .

Our last lesson spoke about  being reverent in our behavior.  Could a woman have behavior that is reverent – realizing that God is present and acting in a way that reveals His character – and also be a false accuser?  No, of course not.  Another type of speech a false accuser uses is slander.  To slander someone is to simply spread harmful information or lies about another person. 

Slander is so harmful.  It hurts the one we’re speaking about, and it will also harm or discredit our testimony as a woman who should be adorning the Gospel.

Often we run another person down, perhaps sharing something we perceive about them, but don’t know to be true.  We might also share something that is true about them, with an intent to make ourselves look better, or to discredit their reputation.    

If you’ve ever been the one talked about, you know the pain involved, yet we must admit that we are guilty. Where does this come from anyway?

The word “malicious gossips” or “false accusers” is the Greek word diabolos, from which we derive our English word diabolical.  This word refers to Satan.  In other words,

Slander is devilish.

The first time we meet Satan in Scripture is in Genesis when he is speaking to Eve, and what kind of speech is he using?  Slander.  Against Whom?  God.

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

So, Satan slanders God to humans.  It’s one of his tactics.  Have you ever had him tell you things like, “If God loved you, this wouldn’t be happening!”  Or “Why didn’t that happen?  God is not on your side!”

Satan also slanders believers to God. In Rev. 12:10 John called Satan the accuser of the brethren. He constantly brings slanderous accusations about us before the throne of God.

Here are three questions to ask ourselves before we share information:

  • Is it true?
  • Is it kind?
  • Does it need to be said now?

All three questions need to be answered affirmatively before you should speak it, and even then it might be best not to let it from your lips.

Wow, slander is easy to speak, but its damage is widespread, both to ourselves and the precious Gospel. Let’s ask the Lord to set a watch before the door of our lips so that our words adorn the Gospel and speak of our much of our Savior .

You can listen to the full broadcast on this lesson on my podcast by going here. You will also find all the posts in our study of the book, Adorned, by Nancy Wolgemuth.

Ask the Lord to refresh your speech so it will run from slander in any form.

Biblical Womanhood · Discipleship · Mentoring

What Does a Reverent Woman Look Like?

Lesson 5 in the Adorned Study

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If you know a woman who
~is godly in her conduct,
~wears clothes that are tasteful and appropriate,
~uses speech that is gracious,
~and shows that she loves the Lord by the way she speaks and acts,
then you know a woman who is reverent in her behavior.

If you go out shopping, walk the streets in a city, or go to a public event, you are likely not going to see these kind of actions present in excess, or even being applauded. But that’s to be expected in the world, right? Why? Because sinners sin.

But let’s think about the behavior of women in your church, and more specifically the woman who sits in your pew…in your seat. Do you and I typify the command Paul gives to women in Titus 2?

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, 

Reverent behavior isn’t something we put on and take off. It isn’t wearing long robes and walking around with our hands folded. It’s showing that our relationship with Christ has an effect on every single day and every single thing we do. 

It will show in the way we carry ourselves, in the way we respond to people in public, the way we go about our daily responsibilities.  We will consistently realize each moment of our day is a high and holy calling.

In her book, Adorned, Nancy Wolgemuth references Anna in Luke 2, who was daily in the temple. It seems she lived there because she loved God and His people. She was there when Mary and Joseph brought baby Jesus.
And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
She realized this child was God’s Son, the promised Savior! She recognized God’s work in her midst! If we are reverent in our behavior, it will be because of what’s in our hearts. That means that we, too, will be aware of God’s work around us! She used her words to express her joy in the Christ child and then she told everyone who would listen! What a beautiful example of a reverent life

Nancy asks: Does this kind of woman appeal to you? Would she fit in well among your circle of friends?  Would they admire her brand of perpetual reverence and want to be like her?  Or would she be the object of condescending comments and rolled eyes – just a bit too serious about her faith?

Maybe we wish we could be “cool” as we age and be able to relate to the younger women by doing so, but Nancy reminds us that,

They don’t need your relevance; they need to see your reverence.

That’s stinging, isn’t it? How will younger women see our reverence? Like Anna, it will be through

  1. Our appearance
  2. Our attitude
  3. Our lifestyle

This happens when we spend quality time with Jesus. We will show the radiance of a life who daily lives in the presence of a holy God.

May there be a revival of reverence in our hearts so we can show our Savior and adorn the Gospel and may it affect the woman who sits in each of our pews…in each of our seats!

As you consider being “reverent in behavior,” what attitudes and actions come to your mind? Does it seem out of the question to live in the way Paul admonishes here?

Refresh reverence!

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