June 3, 2012
"Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live...to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women..." -Titus 2:3-4
I so enjoy spending time with my mother. Although we have always had a good relationship, we have arrived at a very sweet spot, now that we are mature women. We are close friends, blessed with God’s heart of grace.
My mother is full of wisdom and kindness, because she has followed Jesus from the time she was a young girl. She was a leader in her church at a young age, and she is at the heart of our family.
She has walked through longsuffering, which has strengthened her with patient endurance. She has honored her mother, which has produced a harvest of inheritance. She has laid her troubles—big and small—at the foot of the cross, which has returned a blessing of her heart’s desires. And she has taught me well, especially by example. I have watched her over the years as she “went through.”
So often, when we think of Titus 2 scriptures, we think of the older women teaching the younger ladies. But it’s important to remember that Titus first taught the older women: “…to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives.” (Titus 2:12).
I was fortunate that my mother was taught these foundations by her parents and grandparents, by her first church family and by most of her early neighbors, who depended upon God for much. She has witnessed God’s power firsthand. She has seen miracles and God’s supernatural power at a young age and throughout her life. God developed in her a profound reverence for Him, a knowing and believing, a firm foundation. She knows God and is sensitive to the Holy Spirit. He speaks to her, even in profound dreams, now more than ever. This is multiplicity. And I am blessed to call her Mom.
Titus taught the women of Crete their first foundations of Christianity. He taught them the proper way to share one another’s burdens (Titus 2:2-3). He taught them encouragement, correction, discipline and respect of authority (Titus 2:15). He taught them sound doctrine, sobriety, love, unity of family, purity, productiveness, kindness, integrity, temperance, responsibility and sensibility. He taught them order and all of the characteristics required for peaceful, fruitful living.
This can best be accomplished from a heart of love and respect, by living the example, being available, being consistent, focusing on God and truly trusting Him to enforce what you cannot, especially regarding changing others. It is about 2 Timothy 4:2, “…Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.” In order to do this, you must know God, have His heart, mind and perception and know His word.
Bossy, self-righteous, controlling, boundary-busting behavior will not work. It will turn people and anything we have to share away. People get enough of that elsewhere. How will they know Christ if they do not see Him modeled no matter what the circumstances?
And many times, God has to bring in an outsider, like Titus, to teach a people or a single person a new thing. In this case, remember that, according to Galatians 5:22, longsuffering is a fruit of the spirit; and 1 Peter 5:6 instructs us to “humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honor.” In other words, let God do what He’s trying to do when He’s trying to do it, and He will get you (and others) where He wants you to be. And the “right” time would be His time, not ours.
As an insider, it is critical that you be patient, and keep the faith that God is moving on your behalf and others, even when you don’t see it or understand. Jumping out ahead of God or focusing on others’ flaws can breed contempt, frustration, disappointment and self-righteousness. It is a device and distraction of the enemy to wreck God’s strategy. I encourage you to not go there, as strife can stunt your reaching and teaching and mess up God’s timing for you. Instead, go to the cross; praise Him; beseech Him with supplication; lay your burdens down; then choose to trust Him. God knows, understands and will work on your behalf when you do it His way.
Ruth is such a fine example of Titus 2 reverence and obedience. She respected God and her mother-in-law, Naomi; she discerned that Naomi was hearing from God; she humbled herself to God’s instruction through Naomi; she walked out obedience and met and married her Boaz, where her blessings were then multiplied beyond what she never had. She ended up better than where she began. But it wasn’t easy. There was sacrifice.
Young women have much to look forward to. Greater wisdom, grace and understanding awaits you in the latter years and much of it can be learned vicariously before you arrive. Find yourself a Naomi, a Titus or a mature Christian woman who has your best interest at heart.
For middle-agers, God can help you see your life from the end to the beginning, which will show you that there is much yet to come. There is great value in life’s latter years. In Haggai 2:9, the Lord promises the latter will be greater than the former.
Multiplication awaits those who have sown seeds of goodness, mercy, love and obedience to God’s ways. My prayer is that you will be a willing, available and teachable student throughout the journey, so that you can live out God’s destiny for you in His timeframe. Amen.
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