Last year in my study of James in various ways I felt a pull of God to be more and more holy, to desire to obey him perfectly. I ended the year with a confession of my own judgmentalism and spent the summer cognizant of how often I fail. I praise the Lord because he continues to work on me, has not left me to live blithely in my sins: accusing others of those which are my own faults.
Today we are looking at the charge to younger women. (Am I still in that category?)
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands so that no one will malign the word of God.
Last time I wrote a Tuesdays in Titus, I looked at the passage to older women, to teach what is good, then to urge younger women…let’s spend a little time unpacking that list of what to teach and urge.
Love their husbands and children
I can imagine single women bristling at this apparent presupposition that all younger women have husbands and children. I feel it, having had a husband but no child from 23 to 34 years old! So it’s a picture painted with a broad brush. To love. To love those to whom we have responsibilities. Not just friendly relationships, not exactly working relationships.
These people, husbands and children, are those to whom we have continual responsibilities and what helps and binds it all together is love.
The chores of a mother, whether chores she likes or doesn’t like, are made palatable, even enjoyable by the love for her family with which she takes up the task.
I know this.
I have prayed to make it so.
I have lost sight of it in busy weeks and rushing to serve others (friendly or work relationships). I currently am returning to grab hold of loving my husband and child in all I do for them.
to be self-controlled and pure
My mom used to tell me the secret to her ability to control a classroom of kids (or just one wild one) was to be self-controlled first.
Disciple? Start with yourself.
It’s an odd one, and it either makes sense to you or it doesn’t. I think, when we face the situation where we need to corral the kids or answer the anxiety, we have a hairbreadth moment of choice. Can we find where our source of authority is and rely upon Him? or do we flail?
Flailing, we lash out and pain follows, even if we gain the control of others that we need to “salvage” a situation.
When I have taken that hairbreadth moment to pray, peace has stolen over me, a word has been given me, and we move on through our day inexplicably in grace. I take no credit, it has all been God’s gift of grace from the instant of facing a hard situation and realizing my weakness.
Pure? I think that combines with self-control to mean a loveliness of spirit, a purity of heart. It cannot mean that we never fail, but that what we do with failures is confess them so that Jesus forgives and purifies us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Washing, cleansing, pure.
To be busy at home
This strikes me again in two ways and is a broad brushstroke. Either meaning stay and work at home, or when home don’t relax and let others serve you, but be busy there where it is your rightful place to be in control, working, ministering, blessing others.
We had a calligraphy poster from Knuth’s book 3:16 and the verse that appealed to me most often was about the women of Bashan whom the prophet calls cows and the only thing he sites is that they sit around relaxing and order their husbands to bring them drinks. This is apparently subverting the order, and is highly offensive in God’s sight. I’ve pondered that often, taken it to heart. I have found joy in offering my husband his morning cup of coffee!
To be kind
I once heard Ravi Zacharias talking on marriage, and it was just a sentence that stuck with me, “There is never an excuse for unkindness in a marriage.” Oh, when people are kind it is so easy to be good, isn’t it? And so hard when they are not kind. So hard to repay unkindness with good. But here, here we are called to be kind and it’s an order to obey, whether or not the circumstances are fortuitous!
To be subject to their husbands so that no one will malign the word of God.
I’m not sure if the “so that no one will malign the word of God” is for the last or the whole list, but for now I want to take it particularly with this point about being subject to husbands.
It is hard to be subject to one’s husband when one holds his sins against him!
It is hard to be subject to anyone when my own pride rules the day. (What was that about self-controlled and pure?)
What does it mean, to be subject to a husband, anyway?
I don’t fully know.
I don’t think I have it figured out.
I only think of a few times when push came to shove that I chose to submit. That, choosing, I was rewarded both from him (grateful smile) and from God (peace in my heart).
I’ve asked God, what about his faults, what about sin?
A very fullsome silence.
Is not God able to deal with sin? (Better than me!?!)
So I humbly submit the idea of trying to practice this, ladies.
Because when we practice in the small ways we gain strength and ability to obey when it is hard.
I don’t understand, but I am willing to hope that my obedience to God keeps his word from being maligned.
These are my thoughts.
If you’d like to share yours, I’d love to read them!
Giving praise and thanks to God.