Older Helping the Younger
When the language of the New Testament speaks about the makeup of the local church, it uses the analogy of the human body. Paul in 1 Corinthians 12 does this beautifully, “ For the body is not one member, but many.” In the wisdom of God, the composition of the church is constructed to minister to itself. We are members of one another put together for our spiritual growth. Women in the local church are called to shepherd one another. Titus 2:3-5 outlines this in very practical terms. Over the last few weeks, we have seen that spiritual women in the church are to be reverent in their behavior and actively teaching what is good for the younger women. In this week’s Closer Look, we are going to see the goal of their instruction.
In Titus 2:4, there is a “so that”statement that points to the intention and purpose of older women teaching younger women, notice, “so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands.” Paul uses a term sōphronízōwhich can be translated as train, encourage, urge, or advise. So, the goal of older women is to encourage younger women to live in a way that honors God. Let’s take a simple look at each so they can be pursued for the glory of God.
1)Love for the family. As believers, the greatest command is to love. We are called to love God with all our soul, mind and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. For wives, the top love in her life is her husband. She is to love her husband above all other loves in her life. Obviously, this does not mean God, but it does mean the only man in her life that she is called to love and devote herself to is her husband. By loving those closest to her, namely, her own husband and children, wives are fulfilling this love command.
2)Sensible. The godly woman is prudent and thoughtful. She is not rash or known for making poor decisions. This is a quality that is not always learned but comes with life experience and time. Since older women have lived through certain seasons of life they are a wealth of sensible advice that any younger women would do well to pay close attention.
3)Pure. Young women are to be pure, holy, and chaste in their behavior. This can be a temptation for younger women. The beauty that all women should run after is that of godliness and not impurity or ungodliness.
4)Workers at home. The heart of the woman is to be busy at home. The home is her haven, her domain of nesting and nurturing. This special domain is the top priority of her life. There is nothing that gets in the way of caring for her home. Again, this must be taught to younger women. There is much that could be said concerning the trends in our contemporary, and so-called modern society, that has robbed women of this God honored task.
5)Kind: Older women are to teach the younger women what it means to be kind. To be kind is to be like God. Kindness is the greatest attribute we have as believers.
6)Subject to their own husbands: Younger women in marriage need to be shepherded in understanding what it means to be subject to their own husbands. There are so many misunderstanding of this, but godly older women can help model what this looks like. Paul in Eph. 5:21-22 talks about all believers subjecting themselves to one another, and in vs. 22, wives are to place themselves under their husband's leadership. This is sometimes hard for younger women to do, but those that seek to honor God will learn what this looks like according to Scripture.
Discipleship is a none negotiable in the life of the church. When there is a low view of discipleship in the church its members suffer and we fail to help those seeking to be like Christ. I pray that God will continue to develop a culture of biblical discipleship here at GBC. The older men and women helping the younger live for the glory of God.