The Who and Why of Spiritual Mothering (Ch 3)

Read-Chat-Live _ Spiritual MotheringThe groundwork
The foundations for Spiritual Mothering have been established:
1. God is our reference point for everything.
2. Glorifying God is our goal in all we do.

In Titus 2:1, Paul wrote to Titus that his teachings needed to be based on sound doctrine. Paul wasn’t pushing for behavior change alone.

A change in thinking has to come first. And these properly-grounded thoughts are the true and factual principles of Christ’s teachings.

The traits
Paul lays out four general characteristics for the older women.
1. Reverent in behavior
“A reverent life is the product of a reverent view of God.” A reverent woman shows respect to God and treats others with love and honor.

2. Not slanderers
A woman who falsely accuses others would certainly be a poor example for a younger woman to follow, or even want to follow.

3. Not slaves to much wine
One fruit of the Holy Spirit is self-control. Living free of addictions is one indicator of a disciplined and mature life.

4. Teach what is good
The older women are to be instructors of virtuous things.

The means
So why didn’t Paul just instruct Titus to teach the sound doctrine himself? Why did he suggest working through older women instead? Author Susan Hunt writes,

God’s truth is the same, but our gender sometimes determines how that truth is pushed out into life. No man understands experientially how it feels to be a wife, to have a menstrual cycle, to have a baby, or to go through menopause.

Paul was smart enough to know that women need women to train them how to apply God’s Word to areas of our lives that are uniquely feminine.

The women
Who are the “older women”? Am I one? Are you?

Chronological age obviously plays a part because life experiences count. However, age alone is no sure indicator of who is an older woman. Spiritual maturity can’t be counted from birth.

But few among us think of ourselves as “spiritually mature” or having a firm grip on “sound doctrine.” Aren’t we off the hook then?

No. As Mrs. Hunt says,

Don’t sell yourself short, and don’t rob the kingdom of what you have to offer! If you are a Christian woman who is seeking to grow in the faith and to live obediently, then you are qualified for spiritual motherhood.

Sound doctrine does not mean that you are a theological expert. Spiritual maturity does not mean that you have reached super sainthood.

It does mean that you are growing in your knowledge of the Word and in your desire to apply the Word to every area of your life.

And there are women in your church who need you.

Celebrate it!
So instead of viewing the mandate as one more cross to bear, we can celebrate that God has so aptly designed us for the very purpose he calls us to. As we seek to be obedient to this calling, we grow all the more. Just as becoming a physical mother brings out new qualities of selflessness in us, so does spiritual mothering. 

Benefits abound with spiritual mothering. “When we make an investment in younger women, we will be enriched personally, the sense of community in the local church will be deepened, society will be blessed, and God’s Word will be honored.”

Discussion on Chapter 3
Next week: Chapter 4, “The Curriculum

2 comments:

Joanne (The Simple Wife) said...

Lisa,

I love reading your summary/outlines each week! It's fun to get a peek inside your head as to what stands out to you and how it all fits together in the chapter as a whole.

Thanks for your diligence!

Joanne

P.S. The "not slanderers" hit me hard too. Not just about slandering but that "[w]ithout control of the tongue, a woman cannot have a posivite influence on a younger woman."

Jamie said...

Lisa,
I love what you have said here and on Joanne's blog. I guess our prayer is that God would put his arm around our shoulder and his hand over our mouths! "Think before you speak", how many times have we heard that but yet it's just not always that easy. I also agree with you when you talk about being "irritated" and how just being nice won't cut it. I deal with that a lot in my life as well. Will be praying for you! Thanks for sharing from your heart!
+Jamie

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