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Monday, June 28, 2010

Adorning the Doctrine of God our Savior by Living and Teaching What is Good

Titus 2:1-15 “But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. 2 Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. 3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. 6 Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. 7 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, 8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. 9 Slaves are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior. 11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

Kristian and I are so blessed to have older godly men and women in our lives who love us pray for us, teach us, correct us, and encourage us! Thank you, Lord, for this HUGE blessing. I just got back from such an encouraging dinner with a dear friend—a woman who has walked through a couple more seasons of life than I have. The Holy Spirit has encouraged me through this woman who laughed with me, cried with me, shared with me, listened to me, counseled me, prayed with me, blessed me, and just befriended me tonight. The Holy Spirit has added fuel to the flame of my heart tonight. Lately I have felt this flame growing dimmer, as I have not been in the Word as I like, I have not been writing like I usually do, I have not been praying as much, and I have had to miss church more than I have liked lately. But God administered His edifying grace to me through this dear friend tonight and I feel encouraged. (1 Peter 4)

This conversation made me think of different ways that I have been edified in conversations with women who are older than me. I wanted to jot down a few things that have been helpful gifts to me in various conversations I have had with older women, so that I too will remember them in the context of helping women who are younger than me, particularly from within the framework of Titus 2. These are things I have found helpful in my conversations with women who are older than me:

1) Being prayed for, not just during our conversation, but in general about specific things in my life.

2) Seeing vulnerability and hearing the messiness and honesty of life’s experiences rather than experiencing a pretense of perfection that simply doesn’t exist in fallen man. Seeing sincere humility which comes from knowing who God is in increasing measure.

3) Hearing experiences and advice through the lens, direction, and foundation of Scripture.

4) Being loved through another person’s weeping with my weeping and rejoicing with my rejoicing (Romans 12).

5) Being able to pray for and encourage my friend as she shares with me from her own season of life.

6) Hearing how my friend speaks well of her husband with respect and love and in a way that edifies.

7) Seeing that my friend speaks in a way that builds up my husband and encourages my own love and edification of him.

8) The gentle and loving wisdom of a friend who inevitably sees my faults and yet is gracious---not picking at my faults and yet challenging me in direct and indirect ways as the Lord leads.

9) Creating an environment where I can be honest about my own struggles because I am met with humility, grace, and patience. From this starting point, my friend can help me process through these struggles through her prayers, example, counsel, rebuke, etc

10) Being listened to without being enabled in my sin.

11) Having my friend ask me questions that show me that she is interested and invested and that also help me process through a situation.

12) Having a friend follow up with me.

13) Having a friend draw on her own experiences from when she was in my life season in helpful ways, while at the same time recognizing that my experience might be different for various reasons and in various ways.

14) Letting me know when she doesn’t know what to say or do, but also letting me know that she cares.

15) Not pretending like she knows everything or needs to have an answer for everything, but showing discernment and continual dependence on God.

16) Not being afraid to say hard things when God calls.

These are just a few. Maybe this list will grow as I grow. And maybe I will think of more when I am not so tired. :)

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for reminding me of your steadfast love toward me today. Thank you for the blessing of older men and women in Kristian and my life. May we be humble and teachable always. May we respect and honor people who are older than us. May we be a blessing to them as they are to us. Please bless these dear friends, as they do your work to build your church through the gifts that you have given them. May these relationships deepen and bring more and more glory to you. Help us to love those who are younger than us as well. Teach us how to best lovingly serve them in the ways of Titus 2 for your glory and for their edification. In Jesus Name, Amen

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