I love the way God gives us commands that are so easily misinterpreted by us, but when taken to heart, can be started right away. Here is a prime example.
“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior,
not slanderers or slaves to much wine.
They are to teach what is good and so
train the young women to love their husbands and children,
to be self-controlled, pure, working at home,
kind and submissive to their own husbands,
that the Word of God may not be reviled.”
Instead of just doing it, mentoring women younger than we are at the time and developing this habit pattern, we get into silly discussions.
Who are the older women? I’m not old enough. An older woman would be someone who is at least one life stage beyond yours. She has lived through that stage and moved on and is in another life stage. She is not there to be your babysitter unless she offers. She is there to teach you aspects of what is listed in that passage in Titus 2.
She should also be a stable believer. One who has walked with GOD for a time…not someone who just became a christian. That will be a great person to have as a friend for sure, but not as a spiritual mother.
What are we supposed to do? I can’t do that…I don’t have the time…don’t have the right life circumstances right now. I’ve written here for more details on the how-to of spiritual mothering.
Where does this command talk about a certain amount of time involvement? It is talking about being involved with people, specifically other women. It also isn’t talking about a person you are totally comfortable with. There will be times you may not be very comfortable at all. That can be a good thing!
Who is supposed to initiate this? Younger women don’t ask me/older women don’t ask me, therefore I can’t do this. Do you use this guideline for things you want to do? for things you like to do? for places where you feel competent?
All this passage is talking about, for starters, is reaching out to a younger woman and teaching her what you know. If you don’t know anything, reaching out to an older woman who seems to be what you want to be, and asking her to teach it to you. It’s really not complicated. That is all there is to it.
If you want to learn a skill, what do you do? You either sign up for a class or you find someone who knows how to do it and ask her if she can teach you. Often, she will be happy to. In this case, you want to learn how to do life as a christian woman…and you are asking her to help guide you. You can meet once a week or once a month. The important thing is to meet regularly.
Are you catching a trend? Does it remind you of any group in Scripture? Remember the classic question of the Pharisees? Who is my neighbor? Did they really want to know so they could go right out and obey that well known teaching they had memorized since childhood? NO, of course not. They were looking for a loophole. Somehow, I am the exception to the rule! I’m different. I don’t have to obey because….
But that isn’t the way it is! Christ’s command through Timothy is clear…and simple…just like many others.
“Older women”…and all of us are older than someone! (You notice it didn’t say “old women”) Let’s not try to find a loophole to get out of this, let’s just do it. We don’t have to overthink it. There is someone God has placed in our lives…at least one someone. We need to ask Him to open our eyes to who she is.
It doesn’t talk about some big formal, organized thing. We are to go about our lives, living out the Gospel in a genuine way as we love our husbands and children; are kind and submissive to our husbands; are self-controlled; pure; working in our homes; are reverent in our behavior; not slanderers or slaves to much wine.
That covers a lot of territory. Obviously, we won’t do a perfect job of it. But it gives us some major areas of emphasis! Not the areas we always want to emphasize. How many times do you want to teach about victory over ___ and instead the lesson for the day turns out to be How to apologize? or How to show grace or How to be gracious when I want to hit someone over the head? or even How to be Honest?
There isn’t anything in there about self-esteem! Do you find that as interesting as I do?
Somehow, GOD doesn’t seem to care nearly so much as many of us about our self-esteem. It doesn’t seem to be a big priority to Him. I think that is extremely interesting. For some reason, He seems a lot more concerned that we learn about being contrite, submissive (in the good sense) and humble. But that is a post for another day.
Are you ministering to another woman younger than you?
Are you being ministered to by one older than you?
What is keeping you back from an area of growth that will be helpful to you and those you love?
Repent…change and trust GOD for the courage to make the contacts you need to for this to happen.