This fall the Lord has graciously allowed me the opportunity to serve my fellow newlywed friends by leading a small group discussion based off the book “Feminine Appeal” by Carolyn Mahaney. The whole book centers on the passage of Scripture from Titus 2:3-5. After our first discussion last week, I had the idea to write a blog post as a brief synopsis of our discussion so that the ladies who were not able to make it would still be able to see what we talked about. I’ll try my best to make this a habit, but I’m not promising this for every week, seeing as how my blogging has been rather sub-par lately! Feel free to read along and join us in our discussion; just know that some of it might not make perfect sense unless you’re also following along in the book.
Chapter 1- Transformed by Titus 2
“Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the younger women to love their husbands, love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” Titus 2:3-5
As we’ve discussed before, every Christian woman falls into the “older woman” and the “younger woman” category, because we are always being influenced by people, as well as influencing others (whether we recognize it or not.) Therefore, this entire passage of Scripture applies to every woman following Christ. This biblical mandate is one that I believe the Lord takes very seriously, yet is often overlooked. We are called to teach what is good. God defines what is good in the following seven virtues of a godly wife and mother.
Titus 2 has a direct way of helping us know whether what we are investing our lives in is truly important. It is the plumb line for women. By lining up our lives with this mandate, we can discern whether or not we are investing our lives in the things that God desires for us.
The purpose for developing these virtues in our own lives is not so that we will have the “perfect” family with traditional values and good morals nor to create law abiding citizens who contribute positively to society. While all these things are fine and good, the purpose is shown in verse 5, “so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” By obeying Scripture, we are opening up an opportunity to display the gospel to the lost world.
The gospel has EVERYTHING to do with our pursuit of these virtues. If the gospel is not our goal, all of our efforts are in vain. They are worthless.
Mahaney talks about the story of a high-profile Christian woman (p. 27) whose poor decisions greatly influenced what the public thought of Christians. She graciously reminds us,
“Our conduct has a direct influence on how people think about the gospel. The world doesn’t judge us by our theology; the world judges us by our behavior. People don’t necessarily want to know what we believe about the Bible. They want to see if what we believe makes a difference in our lives. Our actions either bring honor to God or misrepresent His truth.”
Our actions make being a Christian look either unattractive or attractive. People are watching!
Verse 10 states, “so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.” The gospel cannot be improved! It’s perfect and complete exactly how it is. But we have the opportunity to adorn it and make it attractive to the world around us. Just as the main event of our wedding rings and engagement rings are the diamonds, if they were just sitting loose on a table, they would not look nearly as attractive. It is the setting and design of the ring that shows the diamonds at their best. Even more so, no one wants to wear a wedding ring with empty holes and prongs without the diamonds! If we offer the world a pretty setting without the gospel, our efforts are shallow and empty. Just like the diamonds are adorned to look their best in a wedding ring, we have the opportunity to put the gospel on beautiful display so that the world will be amazed and want to take ownership of it as well.
Bottom line? We are mandated by God to teach these things (loving our husbands, loving our children, self-control, purity, working at home, kindness, and submission) to younger women (whether that be in age or in spiritual journey) so that the effect will be the gospel spreading to the watching world.
Our Challenge: Who are the unbelievers watching your life (family, friends, co-workers)? How do you think you can make the gospel attractive by modeling these virtues?
Our Homework: In the discussion question section of the book, (page 162) we have two questions to answer in preparation for our meeting next week:
- Of the seven virtues listed in Titus 2–loving our husbands and children, self-control, purity, working at home, kindness, and submission–which one do you think your husband would most like you to grow in over the course of this study? Why? Ask your husband and return next week to share the answer.
- In what season of life do you find yourself (younger woman, older woman, mom of teenager, teenage daughter, single adult, etc.)? How can you fulfill the “mentoring mandate”?
Feel free to continue our discussion or ask any questions in the comments section. I’d love to hear some more perspectives and see what the Lord has spoken to you through your study!