Lesson 5 in our review of A Woman After God’s Own Heart, by Elizabeth George.
I remember as a young girl, looking at myself in the mirror and thinking, “Why am I here? What is my purpose?” I think most of us have pondered that question at some time or other. But as a follower of Christ, it’s narrowed that question to, “What does God want from me as a Christian?” God doesn’t snatch us up out of this world and take us to heaven (as wonderful as that would be!) the moment we get saved. Why not? What purpose does He have for leaving us here?
There is no day so solemn as Good Friday. No day with such mixed emotions of sorrow and gladness as this day. I love to read in Luke 23 and 24 of the crucifixion and think about the details of that day. There is one particular detail that grabs my attention. In verse 27 it says,
“And there followed him a great company of people, and of women which also bewailed and lamented him.”
Who were these women and why did they take the risk of following Jesus right to the cross where He was nailed to die for their sins and mine? They were of the few that lingered still near the Savior. They followed, though there was great risk.
In verse 49 we read,
“And all his acquaintance, and the womenthat followed himfrom Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.”
The crowd has thinned even more as Jesus’ acquaintance and these women stand from a distance and watch Him suffer, ask His Father to forgive those that crucified Him, speak with the thief who believed, and then bow His head and die. They followed, though on their part there was great remonstration. I’m sure at this point they still couldn’t understand the whys to His death; yet they followed.
The next time we read about these women it is in verse 55,
“And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.”
They followed Joseph of Arimatheaea to the place where he laid Jesus’ body. These women continue to follow, though there was great remorse. I can’t imagine them just watching without weeping and mourning His death. How they missed Him already, but they’ve come through their tears to see where He was buried so they could come back and anoint His body with spices.
Lastly, we see in chapter 10 verse 24 a group of women at the tomb.
“It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.”
The things they told the disciples were the words, “He is risen!” They followed the Lord to the tomb, and now there is great rejoicing!
May you and I as women be willing to follow the Lord though there is risk (what will people think?), remonstration (why is this happening, Lord?) and remorse (we aren’t promised a life with no suffering), because at the day when we see Him face to face there will be great rejoicing!
When I traveled to Israel some years ago, I will never forget visiting the empty tomb. As I stood there in the garden area, I thought of that group of women that came to anoint Jesus’ body with spices early Sunday morning. I could picture myself with them there. Can you see yourself gathered and huddled with sorrow, then being overcome with such joy? Let’s be counted with that group of women that clung together. They had tremendous love for their Savior that kept them close. Look into His lovely face this week as you consider Easter, and refresh your love for such a Redeemer Who would die in your place.
If you need some ideas for celebrating Easter, you’ll find suggestions here.
Being only 4’9″, I never had any aspirations that I would ever be a model, but now that I’m an older woman, I’ve learned that a modeling career is indeed a part of my life! Unlike those who walk the runways, my modeling has absolutely nothing to do with physical beauty. Sound impossible? That’s what our God is all about – doing the impossible!
Paul wrote in Titus in chapter 2 –
But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:
2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.
When older women model the beautiful, winsome spirit of a woman who is filled with the Spirit of God, we also know that this did not happen overnight. This has come as a result of years of walking with the Lord.
What kind of things will we be modeling if we’re this kind of woman? What kind of woman will we be? Paul gives us six characteristics here in Titus 2.
Sober – The first literal application that comes to our minds is being free from the intoxicating influence of alcohol. But being sober-minded in a biblical sense is broader. It involves not becoming drunk on any of the many excesses available to us in the world.This woman has learned what really matters and leans her heart in the eternal satisfactions instead.
Grave – This means to be discreet and reminds us to be honorable and appropriately serious about life. Sounds boring, right? A woman like Katherine Brooks in Anne of Green Gables comes to my mind (see picture above). But this doesn’t mean we live life without joy, because joy is a fruit of the Spirit. It means we see the seriousness of living with an awareness of eternity. We realize that heaven is nearer, that our days to live for Christ are shorter and that gives us an appropriate seriousness about how we live out our days. We live out our life with dignity and that is always a lovely thing to behold!
Temperate – This comes from sophron, two Greek words, one meaning saved or sound and the other, meaning a mind. Being temperate is to live out life with a sound mind. Phron is related to the modern Greek word for brakes. The self-controlled person knows when to stop. The Holy Spirit controls her. What do we need Him to stop? Our words. The poor use of our time. A relationship headed in the wrong direction. Anything we might want to do in excess. A temperate woman will put on the brakes.
Sound in (the) faith– The word sound implies health. This is so encouraging when it is applied to our lives as older women who are experiencing declining health and strength! Even as our bodies are slowing down, we should be (and can be!) in the best shape of our lives, spiritually speaking!
Sound in charity – Love – This is having a great capacity for love. We don’t just have this head knowledge of God and His Word. We demonstrate it with His love. This will show itself in how we live out the Gospel. We will show kindness, sacrifice, and forgiveness.
Sound in patience – steadfastness
I’ve heard so many older people say, “The golden years are not golden!” Their reason for saying that is because they are experiencing hardship. Scripture doesn’t say we won’t have any trouble as we age – as a matter of fact, Psalm 90:10 says, The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off and we fly away. To be patient is to abide under this heavy load. We’re not going to cave in under this hardship that might be coming. We won’t just be gritting our teeth and squeezing by, we will bear up and glorify the God we love and trust.
Sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, charity and patience – what a beautiful model for younger women to watch and imitate. Who comes to your mind when you read those characteristics? Would YOU come to another woman’s mind? These attributes can be a part of our lives as we walk with God, study His Word, and learn His character.
You will become like the One with whom you spend time!
Walk the walk. You are the model younger women need to see in this upside down world.
Did you go to church last Sunday? Did you read your Bible today? Did you treat your neighbors kindly or go out of your way to make things right after you and your spouse were at odds? Why did you do those things? Because of the soil in which you are planted. Let me explain ~
I love having raised beds in my backyard. In them I grow a variety of herbs and vegetables. When we first added the beds to our backyard, my husband made sure to get the right kind of potting soil so that the plants would grow. We know that all plants have to have some kind of dirt to grow in, and while I don’t know all the scientific facts about my garden, I do know that my plants need good soil that is full of rich nutrients. A pile of dirt, or a ton full of sand won’t work. Having a good harvest starts with good soil.
When we talk about being a mentor or a discipler of a younger woman, we understand the “what” of our task. The Lord has told us to teach – that’s what we are to do. However, the next question is What are we to teach? Usually older women ask that with a fearful look on their face, because they don’t think they have anything to tell a younger woman, but be relieved, Paul gives clear direction in Titus 2 –
But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine.
We are to teach sound doctrine.
You may ask, “Woah! Wait! Doctrine? Isn’t that some deep, theological word preachers use? What does that have to do with teaching a younger woman?”
Let’s start by defining the word. Doctrine is simply What we believe.Everyone lives by some sort of doctrine. Even an unbeliever in Christ has doctrine that they live by. In her book, Adorned, Nancy Wolgemuth quotes a man who said,
“At our church, we don’t preach doctrine. We just love Jesus.”
Perhaps this man’s church doesn’t teach doctrine, but they do have some, and they are living it out, as each of us is. Nancy says,
“Doctrine is the soil that provides the context for growing character.”
Just like the soil in my raised beds enables my herbs and vegetables to grow and be beautiful, right doctrine will enable us to adorn the Gospel that saved us. We will be able to show a watching world how wonderful it is to know Christ’s character and to live a life following His Word.
It’s important to remember that Paul says we need not just any doctrine, but sound doctrine. We must be planted in the Truth. That Truth is found in God’s Word and it must be the foundation that gives us deep roots as a believer.
If the doctrine is bad, what kind of fruit will it produce? Bad fruit.
Let’s answer two big questions in this post ~ Let’s answer the “Why?” and “How?”
#1 Why do we have to teach doctrine? What’s the big deal about teaching sound doctrine? Why is it important? Can’t we just jump to how I’m supposed to love my husband? Can’t we just talk about how to be a Christian woman? Doctrine is important because all the things we think and do are connected to what we believe about our God.
Wrong thinking and behavior all stem from wrong thoughts about God. That means if we can help a woman have the RIGHT thoughts about her God, her thinking and her behavior will both change!
Our feelings aren’t the boss of us; our Bible doctrines are!
If a woman believes that after she’s saved she’s on Easy Street, how will she survive when hardships come?
If a woman believes that she needs to work to stay saved, she’ll come close to dying an early death trying to do enough to please God.
If a woman fails to understand that Christ lives in her after salvation, she will fail to see that she can have His victory over the sin to which she feels in bondage.
If a woman doesn’t know that she’s secure in Christ, she will live a life of fear and insecurity.
If a wife doesn’t feel in love with her husband any more, she will think the best thing is to leave the relationship.
However, when women learn Bible doctrine that applies to their lives and to their roles as women, they live lives that show the beauty of the Gospel! When we do this, we will be living lives that are radically different from the unsaved world.
Question #2 – How will we learn Bible doctrine? We learn it as we read God’s Word. We learn it as we sit in a church that teaches sound doctrine. This is the watering of the soil. We must put ourselves in places where we will learn the solid meat of what the Bible says, rather than the fluff that sounds good but has no substance.
When we don’t act on the Bible’s solid foundation, it’s because we have either not been taught it, or we know it and are not living accordingly. When either one of those are true, we will have wrong thinking and wrong actions. However,
Right doctrine is so freeing! Right doctrine is applicational to our everyday lives! Right doctrine is beautiful because it reflects the nature of our God.
Nancy says, “Our ultimate purpose is to make much of God. We do that as we experience, enjoy and reflect the loveliness of Christ, making Him known to a world that is starved for true beauty.”
Do you know Bible doctrine? Do you know what the Bible teaches about salvation? Eternal security? Forgiveness of sin after salvation? A short study of four essential doctrines of salvation is The Exchange. This would be a great place to start!
We need to know sound doctrine so we can grow.
We need to know sound doctrine so we can think and react biblically!
We need to know sound doctrine so we can teach it to another woman.
If you want to go a little deeper in this study…
Start keeping a notebook: What I know about My God. Every time you read a verse that tells about God’s character, write down the character trait and its reference. For example, God chooses not to remember my sin. Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.
Memorize Titus 2:3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
Years ago when I left home and stepped out on my own, there was no one to whom I spent time asking questions and being taught. I had had the privilege of a Christian home and godly parents, but as far as someone sitting down to teach me my role as a Christian woman, I had no type of discipleship. I think part of that was that in those decades, the idea of mentoring and being mentored was a quiet subject. Not many addressed it.
Today that is not the case. There have been many authors and speakers who have reminded us of our role in Titus 2 – that the older are to teach the younger. I’ve been blessed now to have been on both ends, and I know the joy and blessing of learning and also of helping a younger woman to grow in Christ.
One newer book that is that is a wonderful teaching tool isAdorned, by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. The emphasis of the book is that as believers, we are to adorn the beauty of the Gospel and live it out before the world, and we are also to teach it to the younger women in our lives.
I have the blessing right now of using this book to teach a young woman in Spain! We are using Facebook video to chat, to grow, and to pray together. I thought back to my time as a young woman when there was really no one reaching out to me (but neither did I reach out!). I especially needed help when I was married. I had so many questions that I wished someone could answer. Perhaps you feel that way, too. If that is the case, I wondered if you would allow me to walk you through this study? If you can get a copy of Nancy’s book, I’d highly recommend that. I will simply be pulling some of the truths from each chapter and highlighting them with you here as I will be doing with my young Spanish friend.
So today is the beginning of this series. Why not grab a pen and a journal and write down anything you read that challenges you?
Let’s dive in, shall we?
I want you to think back to some time when you were adorned in your finest. Perhaps it was an event that you attended – a special dinner, a concert, your graduation, your wedding or someone else’s where you stood up as an attendant or gussied yourself up as a guest. At times like that we may have the “glow” of beauty about us. That is the picture we need to have in our mind as we think about reflecting the love of Christ to others. The beauty of our lives should reflect His joy, His peace, and His love in the midst of a world full of sin and chaos. Our lives should point other people to our Savior. When a bride is glowing, it’s obvious to others that she loves her groom. When our life is radiating the love of Christ, we will reveal our love for Him!
Think back to this past week. What happened in your week to dim your spiritual “glow”?
These and a million other things threaten to rob us of the joy of being in a love relationship with the Lord Jesus.
What is a woman to do? At those times when we feel the rug has been pulled out from under our feet and we feel alone, shaken, and even in despair, what are we to do?
Do you remember the show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? The contestant would be asked questions that required much knowledge. As they progressed in successfully answering, their gain got higher…to the point that they could become a millionaire! However, if they got stumped, they could call a friend for help. The friend would be asked the question and given the chance to answer. The contestant then had to decide whether or not to accept the friend’s answer or give one of their own guesses. Obviously, the contestant chose this friend carefully. They didn’t call someone who was the class clown, or had flunked out of school! This was someone very wise that they knew they could count on! When we are stumped in our spiritual life and unsure of the next step, or are depressed or discouraged, we need to do the same thing…call a friend! This is going to be someone who has been a student of God’s Word – someone who wouldn’t just say they’re praying for us, but would actually do it right now. This is going to be someone who will give “right answers” to us because they will be biblical answers.
In short, we need a mentor. If possible, we need a group of women who can encourage us, keep us accountable and keep our feet on the right path! We won’t end up a millionaire, but we will be rich in many other ways!
The truth is – we need one another!!
This shouldn’t just happen in our desperate moments, but in every day life-on-life experiences. Women need one another. And where will this happen? Not in the classroom, but in an informal setting like at the kitchen table. It’s at the table where we can be casual, honest and approachable. The kitchen table is where we can open our home and our heart to allow a younger woman to sit and learn from our mistakes.
They can learn from our example.
They can grow with us as we obey this command in Titus 2 – The older women teach the younger women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands that the Word of God be not blasphemed. In other words, teach so that the glow of the Gospel doesn’t fade from our lives!!
It’s not about having a big stage. It’s not about having a huge audience. It’s about obeying this command and using that “kitchen table” platform that God has given you. It’s about reaching out to a woman younger than you are to teach the Truths of His Word as you are learning and growing yourself.
You may be thinking you are unqualified. You know that you don’t know everything. You know that your life is as sticky as you table sometimes is. You know that you’re still growing. Well, guess what?
You don’t need a degree – you need discernment. James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
You don’t need perfection – you have a perfect Savior – Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
You don’t need an immaculate home, you need a clean heart. Psalm 51:10Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
As an older woman, ask the Lord to guide you to someone that you could approach about meeting with you. Remember, we’re all older than someone.
Or if you’re younger, pray the Lord will show you someone who is older and spiritually wiser whom you could ask to mentor you. My young Spanish friend reached out to me…I admire her for that!
If nothing else, you have this lesson right here, right now. Learn. Grow and then glow with the adornment of the Gospel so a watching world will see Christ in you! Then go and share with someone else what you’re learning.
Want to go a little deeper?
Memorize Titus 2:1,2
But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:
2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.
This week, invite a friend to join you at your kitchen table (or some other informal setting) and share what you’re learning through this study of Adorned.
Next time we’ll discuss that first verse to learn what we are to teach.
If there’s a question you have as we go through these lessons, please write and ask me! I’d be happy to try to answer them in the comments or you can contact me at Refreshherblog@gmail.com .