Love and Truth Made Visible

Saying “I do” at any age carries a freight of challenges and adjustments along with the joy, but a 57-year-old newlywed, married for the first time, brings a unique perspective to marriage.  Using the parable of her wedding preparations, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth begins Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together with a challenge to adorn the truth of the Gospel in our manner of living so that the beauty of God is put on display.  Since this is best accomplished in the context of relationship, Nancy turns to the truth of Titus 2: 1-10 with its wise and wonderful game plan:   the sound doctrine and skillful living that are indispensable to godliness are best learned “woman to woman, older to younger, day to day, life to life.”

Women of all ages and stages of life stand to benefit when they dive into Scriptural truth and find that belief affects behavior, for the truth is that the kindness and self-control called for in Titus 2 flow out of a changed life.  The sound doctrine Paul writes about in verse 1 is the mooring for good choices that result in the purity, composure, and sound relationships that characterize “Titus 2 Christians,” both male and female.  In the process, our ultimate purpose — to make much of God — is fulfilled and the beauty of Christ is put on display.

Older women are uniquely equipped and qualified to take younger women by the hand and explore the riches of a reverent life.  The energy and enthusiasm of younger women motivates older women to live into their calling and their experience in practical ways.

“To be reverent means living with the constant, conscious awareness that we are in the presence of an awesome, holy God.”

A Woman Under Control

Appearance, attitude, and life style work together to model the fruit of a genuine relationship with God.  A life characterized by freedom from harmful speech and from the many forms of slavery (to food, exercise, shopping, television, work, prescription meds, to name just a few possible masters) demonstrates the overcoming power of the Spirit of God.  The outcome is what Nancy refers to as a “Sophron State of Mind” (pronounced so-phrone).  Derived from the Greek words soos, meaning “sound” and phren, meaning “mind,” it comes together to convey self-control, discretion, or good sense.  Looking at life through my sophron lens, I am encouraged to ask myself probing questions:

  • The way just I talked to that person — was it sophron?
  • The way I ate (or exercised — or not?), or managed my time today — was it sophron?

Statistics that caught me by surprise here in my church-lady bubble indicate that 1 in 6 women regularly view pornography and 80% will eventually follow up virtual activity with face-to-face encounters.  In a culture that fosters the exact opposite, purity and discretion require vigilance and accountability.

A Woman Under Her Roof

It goes without saying that it is so much easier to be pleasant and accommodating with people on the fringes of our lives.  It’s those who are closest to us that receive (and endure) the fruit of our true character.  Titus 2 calls women to genuine relationships and a love for home that puts those all-important relationships on the front burner.  Together, we can train our hearts to cherish our husbands and to embrace the gift of  motherhood.  Anticipating objections to the counter-cultural notion of biblical submission, Nancy defines it by what it is NOT:

“1.  A wife’s submission is not to men in general.
2.  Submission does not mean a wife is inferior to her husband.
3.  Submission doesn’t subject a wife to a life of forced compliance.
4.  Submission doesn’t amount to slavish, groveling subservience.
5.  Submission doesn’t minimize a wife into mindlessness.
6.  Submission doesn’t mean husbands are always right.
7.  Submission never requires a wife to follow her husband into sin.
8.  Finally, a wife’s submission never gives license to her husband to abuse her.”

Studying I Peter 3 on submission with my Sunday School class, I read huge swaths of this chapter out loud to my class simply because it is so clear and grace-oriented.

Because everyone is on a learning curve, it is clear that older women will teach from what they have already learned, but we will also teach out of our failures, pointing to the days (or years) that “the locust has eaten” as proof that God is graciously in the business of redeeming failure and loss.  Younger women play a necessary role in the adorning of the Gospel, for they bring energy and fresh perspective to the table, motivating older women to live up to their knowledge — and always mindful that everyone can be an “older woman” to someone.

Titus 2 calls believers to a life of practicing a costly kindness.
It lays the groundwork for partnership together in Truth that makes the love of God visible and the truth of the Gospel believable because it is being communicated by lives that are becoming more beautiful with every year.

//

This book was provided by Moody Publishers in exchange for my review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

For more information about Adorned, about the Revive Our Hearts Adorned event, or to join a Facebook discussion group based on the book, visit the Adorned website.

Last year I read and reviewed Nancy’s wake up call to women, True Woman 101:  Divine Design.  You can read more here.

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I link-up with a number of blogging  communities on a regular basis.  They are listed in the left sidebar by day of the week.  I hope that you will take a moment to enjoy reading the work of some of these fine writers and thinkers.

 

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Michele Morin

Michele Morin is a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. She has been married to an unreasonably patient husband for over 25 years, and their four children are growing up at an alarming rate. Michele loves hot tea and well-crafted sentences, poems that stop her in her tracks and days at the ocean with the whole family. She laments biblical illiteracy and advocates for the prudent use of “little minutes.” She blogs at Living Our Days, and you can connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

66 thoughts on “Love and Truth Made Visible”

  1. Michele, this was such an interesting post to read! “1 in 6 women regularly view pornography and 80% will eventually follow up virtual activity with face-to-face encounters” surprised (shocked) me and that this happens is a shame. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. This is a powerful piece! I like the list of what submission is not… We don’t become mindless, slaves, abused… because we submit to our husband’s authority.
    Thanks for sharing the review on this book.
    God Bless

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  3. Thanks for reviewing this book, Michele! This book is being read at our church book club! I didn’t realize that it had such great applications and insights even for people who aren’t involved in a mentor relationship. I’ll have to check it out myself!

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  4. Accountability and responsibility among women. It’s something that at times feels heavy on me, so it’s nice to think that if we all live that way, it’s circular rather than a burden. As always, your book review makes me want to read the book! 🙂
    Thanks for linking up at #inspirememonday

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    1. So well said: “circular rather than a burden.”
      I hear you on this. So often I shy away from meaningful friendships because I’m so overwhelmed relationally already. It’s a matter of trusting that we will never outgive the love God pours into us.

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  5. Michele, Thank you so much for sharing such a thoughtful review of this book.

    This book looks like explores an insightful and beneficial perspective of marriage from a different “angle” than most marriage books.

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  6. These are such good thoughts on just living out a Titus 2 lifestyle by letting God’s Grace overflow to those around us. And, that thought that we each enrich the life of the other: older to younger, and younger to older, is so full of harmony for the Body! Thanks for sharing this Michele! Hope you are having a Beautiful Spring!

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  7. Hello! I was your neighbor at Rich Faith Rising this morning. I glanced over the post again and this caught my eye: It goes without saying that it is so much easier to be pleasant and accommodating with people on the fringes of our lives. It’s those who are closest to us that receive (and endure) the fruit of our true character. Wow! This is sooo true! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I was thinking about my own sweet family as I wrote those words. I’m thankful for the grace of God that goes both ways in our relationships! Thanks, Debbie, for reading and for letting me know what resonated with you.

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  8. You do read the most interesting books, Michele. 1 in 6 women view pornography?! That astounds me. I mean, I’m a sinner and all, but I guess some things don’t really occur to me, so I assume they don’t to others. Oh Lord, protect our minds. I like what you mention about shining God’s light under our own roof.

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  9. My neighbor’s dad recently remarried after his wife died. They’re both in the 70s. 🙂 I imagine that’s quite the transition! But they both seem happy so I’m happy for them. I’m glad Nancy DeMoss W found someone at 57!

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  10. This sounds like an interesting book. It’s so true that we can all learn from one another. I like the explanation of submission- it’s a difficult subject and one that is often misunderstood.

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  11. I like the idea of having a “Sophron” state of mind and asking those questions. I think it’s so important for young women and older women to learn from each other. There is experience and there is a freshness, and the combination can be really great. I know I learn from my adult daughters and they learn from me, and there is much love.

    Blessings to you, Michele! I’m your neighbor this week at #TellHisStory.

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  12. Sophron – a new word for me! I love how I always learn something when I visit here, Michele! And in all honesty, there are times I really need to work on that Sophron communication when my kids and hubby have one too many requests at the end of a veerrryyyyy long day! lol!

    Thank you, Michele, for joining me at #MomentsofHope! You are always a blessing!

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  13. Hello Michele, I was your neighbor at Sitting Among Friends this morning and something totally different caught my eye this time! “Appearance, attitude, and life style work together to model the fruit of a genuine relationship with God.” This is so true! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Such a good topic for a small group. I took it to Sunday School one week and read parts of it to my class when we were covering I Peter 3 on submission. Nancy’s thoughts are so balanced and reassuring for those who have been beaten over the head with wrong teaching on women’s role.

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  14. This sounds like a fascinating book! I can’t even imagine getting married for the first time at that age! One advantage of getting married young (we were 22), is that we grew up together ;). I had no idea that that many women viewed pornography, either. That’s pretty sobering.

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    1. My husband was 31 and I was 27 — here in Maine that is quite ancient for marrying, but it seemed just right to me, because we’d dropped a lot of baggage by then, but were still fairly pliable. Yeah, I was gobsmacked by that statistic too.

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  15. Somehow I must have heard of this book because I have it on my list of books to read. I love the quote for the book you posted at the end. I feel very strongly about women feeling empowered at any age. We have so much to offer. Thank you for this comprehensive review.

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  16. Like your point about we can always be an example or mentor because we are always older than someone. Also the point that we teach out of our failures. So true, and yet another reason to be thankful for our hard times and failures because God uses them for our good and the good of others.

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  17. I love this: “Appearance, attitude, and lifestyle work together to model the fruit of a genuine relationship with God.” One of my former pastors used to talk about the fruit of living our lives for Christ often. I’ve noticed that it is so easy to work really hard to look good on the outside, but if we instead start on the inside, the fruit will show on the outside. Thanks for the book review!

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    1. I have tried to be so careful lately — particularly when I teach kids, but we all need it — to state that behavior follows being. We model traits of godliness as an outflow of a changed life. They don’t make us one bit more loved by God or enhance our eligibility for heaven. Thanks for pointing out this important aspect of the following life.

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  18. “belief affects behavior” — love this truth, Michele! Wonderful review and so helpful what submission is not.
    Beautiful closing, sweet friend. We all have someone we can be pouring into. ((Hugs))

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  19. This is sooooo good! I love the idea of looking at things through the lens of “sound mind.” And the older I get the more I see the value in those generational lessons within the church. It is beautiful when we can all come together to learn from one another!

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  20. I want to know if you agreed with everything in the book…was there something specific that stood out as incorrect? I haven’t read it yet, just curious. Loved this: “It lays the groundwork for partnership together in Truth that makes the love of God visible and the truth of the Gospel believable because it is being communicated by lives that are becoming more beautiful with every year.”

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  21. This sounds like another great read! How fascinating to hear from someone married for the first time at age 57! Thanks for linking up at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com!
    Tina

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  22. What a lovely post. I was amazed that she was married for the first time at 57. How wonderful and insightful.
    Thanks for sharing at Over The Moon Party. Hope you come back next week so I can stop by again. I hope you will stop by Thursday Favorite Things tomorrow.
    Hugs,
    Bev

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