Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Women of God

               Today I found myself reading the letter that Paul wrote to Titus. Paul wrote this letter to Titus, a Greek convert, who was also Paul’s co-laborer. Paul wrote this letter to Titus to help guide him in the ways of church government, doctrine and the overall “look” of the church. Paul explained to Titus what he should teach and also how to apply it to the different groups that were within the church. Paul spoke to Titus not only about church government, but also in regards to godly living which we within the body are to be modeling. This brings me to what the Lord showed me today.
                Being a part of a body of believers is more than just going to church on Sunday and sometimes on a Wednesday. It is about men and women, setting an example for those who are coming up in the faith. Paul speaks expressly to men and to women within the church on how we are to behave. As I was reading these verses I was convicted and encouraged, because I saw within them where I am currently and what I still have to work on. The Bible is “given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” (2 Timothy 3:16). Knowing this then, based on what I have read, there are some definite guidelines set forth by God for us as women.
                “The older women, likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, 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
                Paul is not referring to “older women” because of age, but of spiritual growth. We, as women who have been walking with the Lord for some time are to show forth certain behaviors and characteristics as becomes a woman of God. So, what are these things that become us?
                First, Paul states that we are to “be reverent in behavior”. Which means we are to be fitted to holiness, not only in who we are, but also in our actions and the things that belong to God, we are to be holy, because He is holy. Paul goes on to say that we should not be “slanderers”. Slanderer is a word also used to describe “accuser”. It is used to describe the “accuser of the brethren” which we all know to be satan. When we, as women of God begin to find fault with the demeanor and conduct of others, and then begin spreading those innuendos and criticisms to other people within the body, we become no better that the one that daily accuses us. We leave off the behavior and conduct of holiness, and pick up the image of evil- in all its sense of the word. Let us, as women, be mindful that we look to our own selves before we start to point out the faults of others.
                A very lovely and godly woman once told me to “stay in your own lane.” The moment we take our eyes off of Jesus and our race, and start to point out the deeds and faults of others we are going to find ourselves suffering from a very bad fall, and take others down with us. So, let us be certain that when we see a fault in another woman, we are also examining ourselves first. Jesus said, "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother's eye.” Luke 6:42
                Paul then states that we, as mature women of God, are to be “teachers of good things”. We are always being observed by someone- whether it is your children, husband, extended family, or other women and members of the body- someone is always watching us. Being a teacher doesn’t always mean that you are going to be teaching a Sunday school class, but what it means is that in all that we do, say and act- we are showing forth by example the goodness  of God in our lives.
                Knowing that we are to be and to do all these things as godly women- there is a purpose for it all. We are to be encouraging and “admonishing the younger women to love their husbands, their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” (Titus 2:4-5) We, as women of God, who have been behaving the way that God desires us to, should now be showing those who are younger, whether in age or faith, to be the same. Paul stated that we should “imitate” him because he “imitated” Jesus. (1 Corinthians 11:1)  The younger women Paul is referring to does not strictly mean age. It means those that are younger and less mature in the faith. We are to be setting the example for them to follow. They should be able to see Jesus in us and through us, in our words, our actions and our day to day behaviors.
                If we are talking about other women in the fellowship, if we are “accusing” other women, should we not be mindful of those that are younger in the faith who are watching us, learning from us? When Paul tells Titus that the older women must “admonish the younger women” what he is saying is that we, as women of God, are to be training the young women. We are to be teaching and training by example- not only in deed and in word, but by our actions. They will learn how to love their husbands (which means to submit, I know, there is that word again!) and to love their children.
                We are to show them how to be discreet, self-controlled in word and deed; chaste, modest; keepers at home (which does not imply that all women are to be stay at home moms. What Paul means is that we care for our home first). We are to show forth the character of goodness, which means a pleasant and agreeable constitution. Our very nature should be pleasant to be around. And the whole reason behind Paul’s letter to Titus regarding us as women- “so that the Word of God may not be blasphemed.”
                When we behave outside the guidelines set forth in this letter to Titus, the word of God will suffer. Our witness to others, not only to the younger women in our fellowship, but to the men, children and the outside world will be ill spoken of. You may be the only Jesus someone ever sees, you may be the only Bible people ever read. Should not we, as women, conduct ourselves in a holy and acceptable manner, at home and within the church?
                I don’t know where you are at in your walk with Jesus. You could be an “older woman” or you could be a “younger woman.” If you are an older woman, seek and find a younger woman that you can minister to, that you can set an example for her of godly living. If you are a younger woman, seek out an older woman who fits the guidelines laid out before us. Let us all, take account of where we are based upon the guidelines set forth by Paul, and let us make sure that we are conducting ourselves at all times in a manner worthy of the Lord Jesus Christ.
                Father God, open our hearts and our eyes to see others as you see them. Let us not point the finger at anyone, until we have first pointed it to ourselves. Father God, I pray that you would raise up holy women of God to show forth the grace and the mercy and the goodness that is only found in You.