Saturday, May 5, 2007

The Makings of a Godly Wife Pt. 1

Of late, I have been thinking (a lot!) and reading about courtship. Our sons are getting closer to that stage of life, and I have some researching to do. This has led to me also thinking about what makes a girl a good candidate for courtship and further, what makes a godly wife. The answer is probably (or should be) obvious: godly character.

Let's start in Titus and look specifically at godly characteristics as they are given for wives. I am going to try to put some "feet" to this, and not just write about principles in general, but to show some practical application. Obviously, I am not going to hit on every aspect, but hopefully, it will be food for thought and a springboard for further conversation and application.

"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." Titus 2:3-5 ESV

We are used to reading this passage in context of what older women should be doing, but it speaks to every woman, not just the older ones. Implicit in the passage is that a godly wife must be teachable. If we are not, then it doesn't do any good to tell the older women to teach, because who would learn? So, we must have a tender heart, a desire to grow in godliness, and a willingness to listen to and learn from those further down the path.

Although speaking directly to older women in verse 3, I believe that younger women should also strive for being "reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine." The King James says, "The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things." v. 3 Reverence in behavior, or behavior that becometh holiness, means that her behavior is proper, and appropriate; showing that she is holy and set apart for God. I Peter 3 speaks of "respectful and pure conduct" v.2 ESV and "but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious." v.4 ESV But what does that look like? Specifically in reference to being a wife. Again, I think I Peter gives us some great insight. "For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. Any you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening." v.5&6 ESV (emphasis mine) Wow. I feel like this is the first time I've ever read that. Do not fear anything that is frightening. Sarah obeyed Abraham in saying that she was his sister. Because of that, she was taken into two different men's households. How frightening that must have been - lots of unknowns. And yet, God protected her, and honored her submission to her husband. Am I willing to be submissive to my husband even when I think or know that he's wrong? Or, am I going to justify my stiff-necked rebellion against his leadership? Am I willing to trust God to undertake for me in those situations? Reverent behavior would be submission to my husband, and trust in God.

Other practical ways of showing reverent behavior would be: I am not going to talk over my husband when he is speaking. I am not going to correct him on minor details when he's telling a story, just for the sake of correcting; it shows disrespect to my husband, and it makes others uncomfortable. I am going to be reserved in giving my opinion. I don't really need to let my opinion on everything be known. This would apply in all kinds of areas from conversation with my beloved to Sunday School. I am not going to speak poorly of my husband to others, again this is disrespectful, and it is not appropriate. I will make an effort to speak well of him - genuinely - I'm not going to make up good things to say.

I am going to dress modestly. To be dressed modestly does not mean that I am dowdy or frumpy looking. It also does not mean that I am dressed androgenously - I should be easily recognized as a woman. I still need to be attractive for my beloved. However, my dress should not attract attention to myself. I am a child of the King and a married woman, so I am not going to dress in a way that is going to draw sexual attention from other men.

Reverent behavior can probably be summed up with the word: self-control.

"not slanderers", or "not false accusers" The godly woman is not a gossip - she doesn't carry tales from one person to the next. I was recently reminded that we don't need to be the ones carrying the tales to be guilty of gossip. We might never be the ones to say something, but if we enjoy hearing the tales others tell, and give them our rapt attention, we are just as guilty. "A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends." Proverbs 16:28 ESV A godly wife would not want to be known as dishonest, or as one who is always keeping things stirred up.

"..or slaves to much wine" or "not given to much wine" She is not a slave to much wine, or given to much wine. While fully acknowledging the varying views on drinking, I do not believe that the scriptures prohibit it. The text says she is not a slave to much wine. She is not to be a drunkard. The godly woman should not be relying on a manmade substance to dull her senses. I believe that this same principle can be applied to drugs as well; both legal and illegal. I believe that today, the problem of prescription drugs, particularly anti-depressants is more of a problem in the church than alcohol. Many, many women who would never let alcohol pass their lips have no problem with taking a drug that dulls their senses, and makes their problems seem smaller, in much the same way as an alcoholic. Where is the difference? I am not saying that women are not dealing with real problems, but why are we not turning to the Lord? Where are we drawing our strength from? Is God not sufficient?

A godly woman is to be a teacher of good. This means that she teaches what is right. The text goes on to tell us what she should be teaching the younger women, but a godly wife also needs to keep this in mind as God blesses her with children. As a Mama, I need to teach my children what is right - that means I must know the Scriptures myself. As a parent, I have been charged by God with the discipling of my children. This is all-encompassing. They need to be with me for me to be able to disciple them. If they are gone for 8 or more hours 5 days a week, who is disicpling them? "A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher." Luke 6:40 ESV I need to be especially careful, as a Mama, who I allow to be a teacher in my children's life. Not only who is teaching them, but what. What they read, listen to and watch will all teach them. Are they being taught good? Is it scriptural? It is of utmost importance to teach our children well. We are to raise up a godly children. "Did He not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth." Malachi 2:15 ESV (emphasis mine) We have a serious charge to teach what is good. And if we fail with our own children, what do we have to offer younger women later? Teaching born from grief and regret, instead of the grace and wisdom that comes from doing well.

1 comment:

suzanna said...

Thanks Tracy, This was really encouraging...and the last one as well. I'm looking forward to reading more! :)