The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Titus 2:3-5
- It can be learned.
- We “older” women aren’t “perfect” at it, just have had more practice learning it.
- When we don’t demonstrate this quality, the Word of God is blasphemed, (or can be).
- Like everything else in our walk with the Lord, we need Him desperately, and only by His grace can we even begin to do this.
The first challenge, how to find out what “reverent” or “sober” means. Well, to begin, a word study is in order. Looking up “sober” led me to “temperate” which led me to (not having) “passion”–read on:
1. … habitually temperate 3. Not mad or insane; not wild, visionary or heated with passion; having the regular exercise of cool dispassionate reason. (not) tempestuous and blustering. 4. Regular; calm; not under the influence of passion; as sober judgment; a man in his sober senses. 2. Cool; calm; not marked with passion; not violent 5. (Not displaying passion, as it’s defined by🙂 Violent agitation or excitement of mind, particularly such as is occasioned by an offense, injury or insult; hence, violent anger.
Sometimes it’s easier to see what something is, by noting what it is not. Studying the word sober, (with its synonym “temperate” which related to not having “passion” as defined above), I couldn’t help but notice that a sober, reverent woman was not marked by “fits” and outbursts and anger and violent outrage. She’s even-keeled, able to make “cool-headed” (and I would add, Biblical) decisions, she’s not harboring bitterness, not “flying off the handle”. She isn’t a storm moving around the house or erupting (tempestuous and blustering). She is, in a word, calm.
From the Bible, what it doesn’t mean:
A quick and cursory look at the lives of leading Bible characters tells us that being reverent/sober doesn’t mean sitting quietly in a chair, never having any strong feelings or emotions.
The Lord brought David, a “man after God’s own heart”, and verses such as these, to mind as examples:
“The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. 5 The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me. 6 In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.”Ps. 18:4-6
He prays in his calamity–“9 Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly. 10 For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed.”Ps. 31:9-10
A verse that is very dear to me: “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice.”Psalm 55:17
“From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. “Ps. 61:2
Ps. 77:2 shows a desperate man–“In the day of my trouble, I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted. I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed…I am so troubled that I cannot speak.”
(Later in the same psalm he remembers the works of the Lord, all He has done, and says, “Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God? Thou art the God that doest wonders.” This is key.)
And God Himself exhorts and encourages us: “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee and thou shalt glorify me.” Psalm 50:15
David’s prayers, filled with vehement emotion, and injunctions to “cry out” to God, clearly show that God, far from condemning a soul filled with emotion, accepts, no encourages, bringing our deep desires, hurts, and cares to Him.
David was also an example of strong affection for others: deep friendship characterized him.
So, God is not inditing us for feeling deeply within our souls, when He tells us to be reverent and sober (calm).
What being reverent indicates, to me, is what characterizes our outward demeanor. Please don’t be misled. I’m not advocating hypocrisy. What I am saying is that, our outward demeanor should demonstrate the truth of our convictions and faith, that we believe that God is in control, that He is able and mighty, that He loves us, and that we are trusting Him, even though we may be filled with emotions of every kind within.
(I need to include a caveat here: Some of us (women) who are naturally very emotional may need to try to control some of our emotions, not encourage them, so I am not encouraging us to give way to every emotional feeling that we have, but rather acknowledging that there are times in life of great emotion.)
I am to take all those deep feelings, emotions and cares, every burden of my soul, to Him. Leave it there. Trust in Him. Then, I am to act, in an outward expression of faith, calmly and reverently; I am to be ruled by my spirit, not my emotions, and my spirit is to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. Let me repeat: I am not to be ruled by my emotions, and my outward behavior should demonstrate that.
That is calm, sober, reverent behavior. We are not to be under the influence of passion, but it does not say we are not to have any passion, meaning fervor and emotion. (There are some passions and emotions which are forbidden as sin. We are told repeatedly in Scripture to Fear not, for instance. And we are told to be anxious for nothing. Fear, anxiety, worry are emotions which we can’t make at home in our souls.) Our emotions and responses are to be ordered and controlled by the Spirit. But, obviously, from the example of David, emotions are not sin.
Titus 2:3-5 removes any preconceived notion we may have that reverence is an inborn trait, and natural. It is learned, it can be taught, we can improve in the skill, but it is supernatural. Without Christ, this is impossible. The natural man knows nothing of this “calm,” reverent behavior. It is so foreign to the world, that it is one of the traits that will cause people to ask you for a reason of the hope that is within you. When you are mistreated, insulted, abused, and you do not give way to anger. When you remain calm in times of overwhelming circumstances, people will ask you your secret. This is why satan wants us to fail in this area. It is a great testimony to the world. And the way we act, as wives and mothers, greatly influences our family’s behavior, especially our children’s.
We must cry out to God, for there will be times when we are overwhelmed. There will be times when we are tempted to respond to insult, injury and offense with anger. There are, at times, storms raging in our souls. God, through His Spirit at work in us, is our only hope. He says we can overcome, and so we must make effort every day, but we must know that it is only by His strength that we will be victorious over sin. Being reverent/sober is a command, not a suggestion, with a dire warning: that the Word of God be not blasphemed.
It is a lie from satan that those outbursts, those fits, those times of giving way to worry, fear and anxiety, those times that “I just lost it”, are acceptable and normal. No, I am sinning. The steps to take in those cases are to confess my sin to God and those I have offended, to ask God for help to change, to commit to steps which will bring a different outcome next time, to spend time in God’s Word and in prayer, crying out to God for help and strength.
I will therefore that the younger women…give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. 1 Timothy 5:14 (Nor the older women.)
There will be times when we will fail. This is very humbling. But, with the humbling to our souls from failing, from having to ask forgiveness, and from being on my knees before the Lord begging for help, comes grace. God gives grace to the humble.
Remember the saying, “It’s not where you’re at that counts, but the direction you’re going.” Let’s remember that God is there to help us, and by God’s grace, let’s go in the right direction.
“Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. If thou, Lord, shouldest mark (keep track of) iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in His Word do I hope.” Psalm 130:1
A Prayer of Repentance and Request for God’s Help:
“Lord, I am not calm in the worldly sense and often I am not calm in the spiritual sense. I feel things so strongly. I (over)react often. Father, at times I am a storm: tempestuous and blustering. Please forgive me for acting even wildly, at times, and for being given to extreme emotion (extremely agitated and sometimes even angry) in the face of insult, “injury” or offense. Lord, please change me by Your Spirit that I may demonstrate a regularity of calmness, and the ability to exercise cool, dispassionate reason. May I know how to be a woman of stability and sober judgment, that I may demonstrate to a needy world that reverent, sober, calm spirit which You alone can give, that Your Word may not be blasphemed, and I may be a testimony to all of Your grace and love.”