Thursday, January 20, 2011

Moms Working Together for God

to be sensible, chaste, domestic, kind, and submissive to their husbands, that the word of God may not be discredited. Titus 2:5 (RSV)

This verse continues from the previous one about the things that older women are supposed to teach the younger women. By proxy, this means that the older women are expected to exhibit these characteristics, too.

I am sure that many reading this verse cringe at the phrase "submissive to their husbands." This is, in part, due to the lies we've been fed and eaten ravenously about what submission means. The other part of this is our flesh desiring to be selfish and independent of anyone else. However, we are commanded time and time again to be submissive to our husbands (Eph. 5:22, 24; Col. 3:18; 1 Peter 3:1, 5.) We are not the only ones told to submit, though. Slaves are told to submit to their masters, masters are told to submit to God, children are told to submit to their parents, and all belivers are told to submit to each other out of reverence to Christ. So, women are not the only ones told to submit.

Secondly, submission does not mean being a doormat. Submission means exhibiting the characteristics described in the beginning of the verse: sensible, chase, domestic, kind. It doesn't mean take a beating, put up with emotional abuse or blackmail, or think of yourself as less worthy in God's eyes. It means to maintain a relationship with your husband by being self-controlled, pure, busy at home, and kind (NIV.)

Trust me, these characteristics are harder to learn for some people, especially naturally dependent, strong-willed personalities like mine. But, as God has convicted me about my attitude and lack of submission to His will and encouraged me to be a kinder, gentler wife, I've been the one to benefit. And, as the last portion of this verse says (as well a the other verses that talk about being submissive), it is all to make sure that God is glorified - that I don't do anything to bring discredit to His name. It is true of how I treat my husband, how I treat my children, how I treat my extended family, and how I treat my friends. That is why I need God to help teach me these lessons on a constant basis.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Moms Working Together

and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, Titus 2:4

Have you ever thought about having to learn to love your husband and children? Or that we as women have a responsibility to each other? According to this one verse, we do.

Titus 2 focuses on conduct as Christians and mirrors many other verses in many other books of the Bible. Romans 12:16 tells us to live in harmony with one another, Romans 15:7 tells us to accept one another, 1 Corinthians 1:10 tells us to agree with one another, 2 Corinthians 13:11 tells us to encourage one another. When we train each other to love our families, we do each of these.

So what does that mean, practically speaking? First, it means talking positively about your husband and children. This doesn't mean that you can never be honest or get support for things you're struggling with, but it means loving them with words even when they're not around.

It also means being willing to spend time with other moms. Life can get crazy quickly and is very busy, but spending time with other moms (older ones to learn from, ones in the same life stage to share with, and younger ones to pass on lessons to) is essential to healthy, balanced living. It may mean joining a ladies Bible Study, play groups, MOPS group, etc. It may mean inviting another mom over for lunch, going out for coffee after the kids going to bed. However it happens, time spent is relationship built.

Teaching also involves listening. Often, we learn by talking things out and just having someone to bounce things off of. Being that sounding board, the one who calls and never gives up, the friend who cares, teaches love - to our girlfriends, and to us.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Beginnings

The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. Lamentations 3:22-23

It seems appropriate to talk about new beginnings at the start of a new year, however, God has reminded me that we have an opportunity to make a new beginning each day. And boy, am I glad!

I don't know about others, but it seems that I struggle with doing the right things, exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit of God, on a daily basis. No matter how much prayer I put into it, how much time I spend in Bible reading/study, no matter how much praise music I listen to, I constantly fall short. Now, on the days I do have my quiet prayer/Bible study time and turn up some inspirational music, I notice improvement. But I don't experience perfection.

I'm reminded through scripture that I'm not the only one, though. Romans 3:23 tells us that ALL fall short. I'm glad that I'm not alone. But I'm more grateful that God has redeemed me from being a slave to the sin that reaches out to ensnare me and delivers me through His Son. Through Him, I am more than a conquerer. Which means that I don't give up. I continue to keep my eyes fixed on Him and rely on Him to help me discipline my flesh and practice making holy choices instead of fleshly ones.

And He gives me that option every day! I've made some new beginnings and gotten back to some disciplines I've let slip, with the new year motivating me. But there are still others I need to work on. As I start the process (again), I will continue to remind myself that I can't, but He CAN!