Blog written by Deb Lovett.
James 1: 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
God’s Word is like a mirror. We look into this mirror by reading the Bible. In the pages of Scripture, God reveals himself and his ways. At the same time, God shows us how we are not living out his Word.
God recently showed me such a view of myself in the mirror of his Word. In Titus 2, I read the beginning portion of verse 3.
“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior…”
As I read this verse, a quick memory came to my mind: I had recently gotten a spider bite from working in the garden. It was quite itchy; it swelled up and was magenta in color. Dave wanted me to go to the doctor and have it checked. Of course, no one likes to go to the doctor – including me. Long story short, I went to the doctor and ended up getting 3 shots to help my body deal with the infection.
The picture God showed me of myself through this short portion of scripture was when I was recounting my ordeal with some women at church. I had fun telling the story, embellishing it with hyperbole and drama, ending by exclaiming to Dave in my fabricated story, “I don’t want to go to the doctor. You can’t make me.”
Stop! Is this, as we read in Titus, how an older woman is to be “reverent in behavior?” Is this holy, godly action befitting an older woman who claims to know and love Jesus? Is it the action of an older woman who wants to obey God and live out his Word? Is this the witness I want younger women to see of an older woman loving and submitting to God and to her husband? Absolutely not!
God showed me myself as I looked into his Word, and he showed me how I didn’t meet up to his desire for my actions.
So what was I going to do with this insight? I needed to confess my sin to God. I needed to confess and apologize to my husband for making fun of a situation where he was truly loving me and trying to take care of me. I needed to confess and apologize to the women I spoke to. And finally I need to confess and apologize to anyone who may have walked by me and heard my story.
I thank God for his Word. I thank God for showing me how my actions were in contrast to how he wants me to live as an older woman. I pray he will enable me to live a reverent life for his glory, and for the benefit of the watching church and world.
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Titus 2:3-5
Within 24 hours I had three separate women bring up the topic of Titus 2:3-5 to me at three separate times. When repetition like this occurs, I pay attention. What is going on that the Lord has the minds of these Christian women thinking along the same pathways? It displays a need, a longing for God’s Word to be acted upon in this area. This should not surprise believers in the least. We are told that the same Spirit dwells in each of us. When we participate with the Spirit we are united “by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” Phil. 2:2. Yeah, that is awesome.
So, Christian women, dwell on these verses with me. Are they alive and active in your life today? Are you in a relationship of teaching and learning? Do you have a spiritual mother-daughter relationship to turn to for guidance and godly counsel? I really hope so. This is how the Church should look.
The above verses were given to Titus from Paul. Paul was instructing Titus on how to put in order a church structure that would bring about proper teaching and instruction in the Lord. This structure of older women teaching the younger women was one of those important structures. We have strayed far from this in our modern churches. We are content to know that other women are Christians and they will understand eventually. They will struggle, but they will get it if they keep coming to church.
This is not what God has instructed of us! Older women are to be actively involved in the godly growth of the younger women of the church. I would even use the heavy word “responsible” here. Did you read that list above? These are serious life issues! We are dealing with: behavior, slandering, drinking, marriage, parenting, self-control, purity, work, kindness, and our heart attitude in submission. Paul is nailing the life of a woman here and he was a single man (another proof of the Godly inspiration of scripture!).
Oh, how I longed to have someone in my life that would pour godly truths into me when I was younger. Do you have this same longing now? Or has God brought you through life circumstances and provided you with wisdom that you could be sharing with others? You are never given wisdom that is not meant to be shared. Neither are you ever brought through fire that is not meant to also help someone other than you.
So my encouragement today is to seek it and be it. Younger women, seek out a godly influence in your life from an older Christian woman. Be bold and ask them directly to help you figure out what it looks like to serve God well as a woman.
Older woman, be that wisdom-giving mother that so many young Christians long for. You may not have all the answers, but you know the One who does. Share what God has given you freely. Keep this in mind - every Christian woman is an “older woman” to someone. This may be a daughter, a niece, or other young girls in the church. Make it a habit now to teach them about Jesus and how to live for him.
Have we failed at this? Yes, many of us have and I put myself at the front of that line. However, our failures never negate God’s faithfulness. His instructions remain, so start now. Seek out those relationships and teach what is good and learn what is good. Why? The same scripture gives the answer: “that the word of God may not be reviled.” That is what all good teaching comes down to - God’s word is true and good and it is the textbook for our lives. Obey his word and thrive. Go now be mothers, go now and be daughters.
A couple weeks ago I had to go shopping for a full-length mirror. It didn’t take me long to find one I loved - one that made me look GREAT! Who knew all I had to do to lose weight and gain height was to purchase a cheap mirror at Walmart!
Of course it was a skinny mirror. Like one of those fun mirrors at a circus that elongates you because it has been curved just so. This one, of course, was not so obvious, but it was certainly not accurate, I could tell that. Completely unrelated side note: I cannot talk about skinny mirrors without thinking of Elaine in an old Seinfeld episode. It is an unavoidable side effect of life if you are well past the Millennial generation like I am. The same with junior mints, man-hands, returning cans and double dipping. Ok, got that out of the way so we can move on.
It was a real temptation to buy a mirror that made me look so good, even if it was not an accurate image. It made me feel better about myself and it was cheap. Nearly a win-win. Except...it wasn't real. It wasn’t the truth. I put it back and bought a real mirror. Yep, I looked a little chunky but hey, it's accurate.
The truth is too many people I know buy into the skinny mirror mentality. Especially when it comes to spiritual matters. They are perfectly content to be fed un-truths that make them feel beautiful and secure. When in reality they are neither of those things. They don’t know the truth because they are using the wrong mirror.
In James 1:22-25 we read that the Word of God is the mirror we are to use for our lives.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”
When we gaze into the perfect Word of God, we get a glimpse of who we are in light of who God is. We begin to understand that we are disgusting sinners in desperate need of a Savior. We see that wrath is coming for our raging against God in this life. We see that our good works apart from Christ are nothing. We see that much of what we have been told is a lie - church attendance, communion, baptism - none of that will save you. We see the truth that Jesus is our only hope, he is the only way to salvation.
That may be one big reason so few read the Bible, they don’t want to see the truth of their souls. They would rather hide and (wrongly) assume they are okay. They would rather hang out admiring themselves in front of their skinny mirrors. They would rather have their ears tickled by the words of others who tell them they are good people. “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,” 2 Tim. 4:3.
Ladies, don’t buy the skinny mirror. Don’t do it. It will be cheap and easy now but cost dearly in the end. There will be a time when the truth is made known. Those who spent their time admiring themselves instead of conforming their image to that of their savior, Jesus Christ will be brought low - into the Pit. That is the only place for those who believe and live out lies.
Ladies, face the truth, desire nothing else but the truth! Find it in the “perfect law, the law of liberty” and persevere in it. The Words of God are truth - read them, hear them, do them. In that you will “be blessed."