I’ve been a Christian since I was six years old. I grew up with a good many religious rules that were intended to keep me on the straight and narrow (and they did for the most part). But as I’ve aged, I’m afraid these rules have caused me to be a bit of a Pharisee on more than one occasion.
Growing up with the attitude that some sins are bigger than others has put me at quite the disadvantage with this grace thing. That attitude kept me out of “BIG” trouble but didn’t prevent me from stumbling in sin areas like gossip, gluttony, pride, bitterness, envy, doubt and more. It caused me to see myself as greater than someone else if I attended church every time the doors were open, volunteered for as many positions as I was allowed to, and tithed exactly 10%. It kept me from forgiving myself when I didn’t meet those expectations.
As a Ms. Fix-it “blessed” with the spiritual gifts of prophecy and discernment, if I see someone heading down the wide path, I want to grab them and escort them toward the narrow path. Anything I can do to keep them from sinning. I want to tell everyone the right way to live but so many times I don’t even know what that looks like myself.
It’s hard to find a balance between showing someone grace when they’ve stumbled or when they don’t even know they’ve stumbled and pointing the finger at them in blame, holding it against them for the rest of their lives. The balance between keeping a sister in Christ accountable or stepping away from the situation so she can learn the lesson God has for her—even if she has to go through a trial one more time to learn this lesson.
What we women need in our lives is Titus 2 women who have walked the road already and who have learned where the briars are, where the potholes are, where the road signs are turned the wrong way to purposefully lead us astray. And what we need is willingness in our hearts to listen to these wise women and learn how to be women cut from the same cloth.
The Bible says in Titus 2 that older women are to teach younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign (criticize) the word of God. In order for us to do this, to teach what is good, women must first be reverent in the way they live, not be slanderers or addicted to too much wine.
Since we’re imperfect beings, it’s a tall order to fill. And we’ll never achieve this goal perfectly this side of heaven. But as believers, we can strive each day to walk in the Lord, ask Him to create opportunities for us to spill over into the lives of other women, and to go before us on the path so that our imperfections are covered by his perfection so we can influence those around us for the good. We can keep our eyes open for ladies who exemplify Christ in our lives and watch for women for which we can do the same.
I’ve had countless women speak into my life words of wisdom, instruction, kindness, discipline, hope and love. There have been women who’ve believed in my ability to do something when I didn’t think I could do it. There have been women who have spoken deep truths over my life when I doubted that a particular situation could ever get better. Women who’ve shown me grace when I stuck my foot in my mouth and instead of casting me away to the swine, have encouraged me in ministry and supported me through it. I’ve heard the term “grace abounds” when I’ve been too quick to pass judgment on someone while ignoring an area in my own life that should be judged. You know, the old stick in your eye vs the log in my own. I’ve also heard that term applied when I’ve been too judging and unforgiving of myself and have not been able to accept the grace that God offers to me.
I find that in most situations I’m among the older ladies or among the spiritually “seasoned” or lifelong churchgoers and that there aren’t very many older ladies around to lead the way for me. The ones that are around often are busy leading the way for the younger women in their own families. But no matter how long I have been a Christian and no matter how long I have been actively involved in church and ministry, I still need Titus 2 women around me. Unfortunately, instead of having an example to follow I end up being the leader. Sadly, I haven’t always led as well as I could have. Old habits die hard but I am seeking each day to mind my business and worry about my own matters before minding the business of others so that I can be as good a leader as possible. I am definitely a work in progress.
Here’s where My Titus 2 Project begins. I’m on the hunt for women in my life who do as Titus 2 says. And I’m on a mission to be that lady to others as much as possible. Over the coming weeks I will share with you about some of the ladies who have been Titus 2 women to me and why. Some are ladies I’ve known for years and some I’ve only known a short while. Some are older than me and some are younger. Some I’ve broken bread with (or chips and salsa, coffee, or ice cream) and some I’ve yet to have the honor of seeing face to face. I hope to inspire you through this series to look for the Titus 2 women in your life, and women for which you can be the same. So stay tuned for my first post!
Photo of group: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1087378
Photo of older woman: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/portrait-of-a-happy-senior-citizen-photo-p201684