I have loved our journey through Titus 2:3-5 so far! The godly person described in these verses is the kind of Christian I want to be. It's been so helpful to have so many "handles" attached to the qualities of the woman who pleases God and is used by Him in the lives of younger women. And with this month's letter from Karen Haring, we are given insight into the life and influence of a sensible woman. Karen reminds us that, as we think, so our actions will follow. Sound thinking-sound living.
May God lead us all to be sensible women, who stand solidly on His Word!
United with you,
Encouraging the Younger Women to be Sensible
by Karen Haring (Chestnut Ridge Community Church, Morgantown, West Virginia)
When I mentioned to my friend that I would be writing on the topic of "sensible," she said, "What exactly does that word mean?" That's a great question, and in order to get a good handle on the meaning, I did some research. The Precept Austin website has this information from the Greek:
"Sensible (sophron) has the idea that they now have 'saved' minds (derived from sozo = save + phren = mind) and a saved mind should lead to right thinking, which leads to right living ("good deeds")."
Some words that are given as synonyms for sensible are: self-controlled, sober, discreet, wise, using good judgment.
In order to better understand a word or concept, it helps to first realize the opposite of the word, or the problem. Opposites might be: foolishness, unspiritual thinking, and poor judgment. As I thought of the opposite of sensible, a favorite verse immediately came to mind:
"The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish woman tears it down with her own hands." Proverbs 14:1
I think this verse relates in so many ways to the directives to women in Titus 2. I can easily get into the foolish mode of wrong thinking, which can lead to harming my household (and others) instead of building them up.
I can get into wrong thinking by believing that my own ideas and ways are best. I must say that a lot of times I think I'm right, but there is the saying that "no one but a fool is always right." When I get stuck on "being right," I'm actually being foolish. I can be foolish by not seeking my husband's thoughts or ideas, by neglecting God's Word and thoughts on a matter, and by not listening to His Spirit inside of me. This can often lead to wrong priorities, poor judgment, and negative consequences for my family and me. In the parable of the ten virgins, five were foolish enough not to think things through and prepare to have extra oil for their lamps. Later when these five were desperate, they asked the other five for help, but it was too late.
As women, we can tend to be emotional, and this is another reason that we are instructed to be sensible. I can get all worked up about something, and my husband, Tim, will remain calm and level headed. He can be a voice of reason when I overreact and am liable to use poor judgment. I think Mrs. Bennet from Pride and Prejudice had this problem:
"An example of how attention is focused on feeling in the objective story is depicted by Mrs. Bennet, a foolish woman who uses only her emotions to assess how things are going, and in doing so almost ruins her daughters' chances for a promising future: 'She was a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper. When she was discontented she fancied herself nervous'" (Austen 7)-dramatica.com.
When we are foolish, we do destructive things to our kids and our husband. We have incorrect priorities. We can think about and chase after things that waste our time, instead of being sober minded about what God has given us and the opportunities we have with those around us. We lose our chance to influence our family, believers, and unbelievers. People will love to be around those who are discreet, trustworthy, and wise. People will open up and share their deepest difficulties and struggles with those who have this quality of being sensible. Husbands will be encouraged, built up, and supported. Children will be open, and communication and our relationship with them will improve. Other women will share their lives with us. Being sensible paves the way for influence.
And how do you become sensible? By allowing yourself to be influenced. Right thinking will lead to right living.
Trust in the Lord; don't lean on your own understanding.
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6
It's important to fill our minds with His Word and His thoughts. I like to think of "practicing His presence" throughout my day. I read the One Year Bible, which is also helpful because it includes portions of Proverbs to read daily. This helps me to grow in wisdom. I enjoy praying specific verses, both to get God's mind on things and to ask Him for help. And I love looking up verses on anything and everything I'm going through! The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
Get our husband's input and advice.
"Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ." Ephesians 5:22, The Message
I ask Tim about all sorts of things-the meaning of Bible verses, priorities, with whom I should be spending my time, what to do with the kids, advice on situations I'm dealing with...even advice on pastors' wives articles! It's easy to slip into doing things ourselves, or according to our own ideas. Asking my husband for his thoughts helps me to be sensible and to build up our house. It helps me to know and understand what he is thinking, and support him.
Get input and advice from others as much as possible.
"Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed." Proverbs 15:22
"One who walks with wise men grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm." Proverbs 13:20
Sometimes I can think to myself, "Oh yeah, I've encountered this before. I know these ropes." But it's amazing to me how others can have a clearer, eye-opening perspective when I take the time to ask. I may have driven a few people a bit crazy over the years, as I asked questions all the time of wives, moms, and older women. I still do a lot of this, getting advice from leaders and friends in our church.
Bounce ideas off of others! Seek out advice, and you will be truly wise. The more counsel we get from other godly people, the more sensible and wise we will become. Learn to be a "master of questions," asking others' advice on things any chance you get! This is both a protection for us and our families, and a chance for us to grow. I have learned so much by asking many, many questions from others who are godly and wise.
When we are driven by emotion, self sufficient, or view ourselves as always right, we become foolish. Only as we allow ourselves to be influenced by God (and others) can we truly be sensible.
If you would like to respond to Karen, email firstname.lastname@example.org.