Saturday, June 17, 2017

Titus 2 Women: Growing Together in Grace

A dear sister in Christ asked me if we could begin a ladies’ Bible study on Titus 2, as her interest in this passage was stimulated by her reading of Adorned, a book by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. The idea intrigued me, as this single short chapter has so much to say! It addresses Christian women’s role and relationships with one another, with their husband (Ephesians 5:22; Colossians 3:18), with their children and family, with their church and community (Proverbs 31:10-31), and ultimately with God (Luke 1:38-48; Titus 2:1-5).

Thanks to its vast connections to other passages essential to sound doctrine (1 Timothy 1:10; 2 Timothy 4:3; Titus 1:9; 2:1), Titus is an equally fitting guide for the whole church body to glorify God: church leaders and members; men and women; elders and youth.

As I began to study in preparation for teaching this series, the title “Growing Together in Grace” seemed fitting. It describes the “win:win” situation that would result from born-again (John 3:3-8) sisters in grace applying to their lives the principles of the book of Titus.  Ideally, this would result in women of all ages learning from and uplifting one another -- seeking Godly counsel (Psalm 37:30) and being unafraid to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15; Titus 2:8) or to hear and act on it (Romans 2:13; James 1:22).

Women who are older chronologically or who have had a longer relationship with Christ as their Lord and Savior could mentor younger women or those who have only recently trusted the Lord. In turn, the older women could learn from mentoring and be blessed and rejuvenated by serving in this way (1 Corinthians 3:1-2).

Iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17). Women who have trusted in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6) have much to learn from one another about living out this glorious Gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4; 1 Timothy 1:11)!

Studying God’s Word, hiding it in our hearts as an emotional response to its truths, and applying it to our lives (Psalm 119:11-17) leads to knowledge, wisdom and understanding (Proverbs 9:10; Daniel 2:21; Colossians 1:9). Only in this way can we fulfill God’s perfect and specific plan for each of us (Jeremiah 29:11).

Women of Christ encouraging one another can and should learn and teach from Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16), as well as from life experiences that grow and shape us. Praise God that the Master Potter uses these to form the imperfect clay into vessels fit for His purpose and pleasure (Isaiah 29:16; 64:8; Jeremiah 18:4; Romans 9:20-23).

Looking back on my life before I was even saved, I see His hand at work, equipping me through life experiences to be shared with others much later. I was raised in a predominantly female environment, not only by my mother, who worked outside the home, but also by her mother, who came to live with my family shortly before I was born.

“Baba” (the Russian equivalent for “Grandma”) emigrated from the Ukraine to Canada when she was only sixteen to a life filled with love, yet with trials and hardship. She birthed ten children, including three sets of twins, but my mother was the only one to survive past infancy. Baba’s husband died from stroke at age 35, after which she and my mother moved to New York City, where Baba worked tirelessly in a bakery for many years.

As I have described previously, “Baba” had many of the qualities of the ideal Proverbs 31 woman, including her faithfulness, hard work, wisdom, thrift, resourcefulness, generosity, hospitality, faith and service. I was not saved until decades after she died, yet I still remember her devotion to prayer and to her Russian Orthodox church. She was illiterate and never really learned to speak English, yet she taught me by example so much of the importance of being faithful to God (1 Corinthians 4:2) and trusting in Him (Proverbs 3:5-6).

My father often traveled on business, so much of my daily home life was with Baba and my mother. I attended an all-girls’ school with all female teachers, and when I began ballet classes, I enjoyed the company of many other girls who were budding ballerinas.

These situations taught me much about the value of female friendships, for women often understand, identify with, appreciate, and nurture one another more so than they sometimes experience in their relationships with men. Yet predominantly female environments in which the Gospel is not the guiding principle can quickly degenerate into unhealthy competition among girls and women, if they resort to envy, backbiting, and slander among themselves (Romans 1:28-30).

From these largely female settings in which God placed me until high school graduation, He then thrust me into a man’s world. This seemed threatening at the time but ultimately challenged and then strengthened me. The year I entered Princeton University as a freshman was only the second year that the school had begun accepting a few women. All of my teachers were male, and during my first year, I was the only woman in most of my classes.

How I missed the daily support of girls and women who loved and understood me, despite my many flaws! I turned for advice to a leading dancer in the ballet company I had joined, but in retrospect, she was poorly equipped to guide me, based on her own behavior and life choices. I was still unsaved, and it was not until I came to know the Lord that I fully appreciated the value of sisters in Christ whose strong faith and faithfulness led them to mentor me.

May we apply the principles of Titus 2 to nurture and mentor sisters in Christ through Godly relationships with one another! May we use this passage as a guide to living out the Gospel, as we shall explore in subsequent posts!

© 2017 Laurie Collett
Womanhood With Purpose
Adorned From Above
No Ordinary Blog Hop


Frank E. Blasi said...

Dear Laurie,
Thank you for your testimony on how you coped at a college environment which was still male dominated. I think you were brave to see the course through. Here in the UK, and especially in the City (the financial hub of London) endless tales of male harassment towards female employees continue to appear in the newspapers.
However, King Lemuel had great respect for Godly women, particularly faithful wives, as well detailed in Proverbs 31:10-31.
An excellent blog. God bless.

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Frank,
Thanks for your words of encouragement! Sadly, London is not unique in its attitudes toward working women. Praise God that we are all one in Christ Jesus, male and female, Jew and Greek, bond and free.
Many blessings to you and Alex,

Donald Fishgrab said...

Amen, Laurie.
Teh world is so busy encouraging competition that people don't learn how to work together to accomplish the best things. instead they are competing with everyone around, even for jobs and positions that are really not satisfying. The sense of having defeated someone else is not nearly so satisfying as that of having accomplished something worthwhile. Winning a contest is a temporary accomplishment while building a house, cooking a meal or helping someone recover has long term valus.

Laurie Collett said...

So true, Donald -- may we all benefit from working together for the glory of God and to fulfill His plan, and not for our own self-interests. May we keep our eyes fixed on Him to accomplish this. Thanks as always for sharing your insights, and God bless,

Brenda said...

Hi Laurie,
although we are told there is 'neither male nor female in Christ', I love being a woman. I have many lovely thoughts of women who have been in my life. My mother was the best mother I could have had, working hard in order to look after us after our beloved father had died when I was a child. I had many good friends in the girl's grammar school I attended, and I have had some lovely female friends in my adult life.
God bless you for sharing.

Laurie Collett said...

Amen, Brenda! God loves men and women equally, yet He made us different to complement one another. Praise God for women in Christ supporting, nurturing and mentoring one another. Thank you so much for sharing your lovely testimony. God bless you,

S. Knowles said...

Hi Laurie,
I enjoyed reading this. Very encouraging to me as your posts usually are. I listen to Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth's Revive Our Hearts podcast on my phone every now and again, sometimes daily. She's taught a lot on Titus 2.

God bless you and your husband ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Laurie Collett said...

Hi Sateigdra,
Thank you for your encouragement! The dear sister who suggested that we do a study in Titus 2 had been inspired by Nancy D.W.'s book on Titus 2, "Adorned." It's a great read! Thanks for letting me know about her podcasts!
God bless you too,