With Modesty and Self-Control

Titus 2:3-5 ESV

“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.”

I touched on this somewhat in the previous writing, “What Accords with Sound Doctrine,” but I did not cover it completely, so I am going to share this morning whatever the Lord gives me to share from this passage.

I am in this category of “older women,” for I am 71 years old. So, these instructions are for me. I pray that the Lord will teach me whatever it is that I need to learn from this today. In Jesus’ name, amen.

The Instructions

I am to be reverent in behavior. I am to have a sacred character, i.e., I am to be holy, set apart from this sinful world, and set apart to God and to his service. I am to be a worshiper of God, and to worship him is to honor, revere, respect, and obey him, and it is to give my life to the Lord as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to him, no longer conformed to the world.

I am not to be a slanderer, i.e., one who practices slander. And slander has to do with making deliberate false accusations against others for the purpose to hurt them, to destroy their lives, to make others think ill of them and to cause others to believe lies about them, oftentimes for the wrongful purpose to get even with them for some perceived wrong.

I am not to be a slave (under subjection, addicted) to wine or to strong drink, i.e., to alcoholic beverages. The Scriptures do not forbid the drinking of wine, but they do forbid getting drunk, losing self-control, i.e., coming under the influence of a substance which impairs clear thinking and reasoning. Nonetheless, I choose not to drink any alcoholic beverages.

I am to be a teacher of what is good, and “good” is defined by God, not by myself or by other humans. For, to teach what is good means to teach what is honorable (righteous, moral, and upright). I am to teach what the Scriptures teach about holy living, and I am not to dilute the Scriptures to appeal to human flesh and to sinful desires.

I am to train younger women to love their husbands and their children. Well, love comes from God, for God is love, so we are to love them in a way which honors God, which is holy and righteous, which is pure, and which considers what is best for them (God’s best for them). So, we will not do anything which might lead them to sin, but we will model for them godly living.

I am to train younger women to be self-controlled, which is under Holy Spirit control, but which is the opposite of out of control. Self-control is to show proper constraint with regard to thinking, speaking, and behaving. It is following the Lord’s boundaries, his restrictions for us. It is to exercise godly discipline so as to not give way to sin but so as to walk in holiness.

I am to train younger women to be pure, unadulterated, and undefiled by the world and by sin and by the lusts of the flesh. And “pure” is also holy, which means to live lives which are separate (unlike, different) from the sinful world and which are surrendered to Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives. I am to instruct them in holy living and against worldliness.

We, as godly women, are to be keepers at home, caring for our husbands and children, and not those who are out living wild lives, as though we are still single. We are to be kind, and kind is not just saying what makes people feel good about themselves, but it is also speaking the truth in love for their good, for what is best for them.

We are to be submissive to our husbands, but we are never to submit to what is evil and sinful. We are allowed to say “No!” to sin and to any compromise of truth or morals or values. And we are allowed to confront evil. For the whole idea of submission is that the man is to be the head and we are to yield to our husbands, but never in areas of immorality.

For, in all that we do, the word of God is not to be reviled (despised). So, we are to uphold the truth of God’s word, and we are to uphold godliness, purity, faithfulness, respect, and honor. And we are to stand against all that is evil, impure, wicked, immoral, and dishonest. We never submit to evil, and we don’t pacify evil, but we promote holiness and godliness always.

1 Timothy 2:9-10 ESV

“Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.”

The Importance of Modesty

If, as older women, we are to teach the younger women what is good, especially with regard to holiness, purity, and self-control, then we need to be teaching them about modesty, too, which is something our culture is not teaching young women. For, our culture, even within the church, is often glorifying sensuality and seductiveness.

Now, regarding the braiding of hair, gold, pearls, or costly attire, these specifics may have been of a specific culture, and some of this may have had a different significance than what it may have today in a different culture. So, I am not going to deal with these specifics as much as I am going to cover the intended message overall.

We, as women of God, are to dress modestly. We are to be unpretentious, simple, reserved, and humble. We are to be pure and decent, not drawing attention to ourselves in a sensual or seductive way or in a way that is flashy, and which draws attention to our flesh. We are to be drawing people to Jesus, not to us as fleshly human beings.

And this goes to the matter of what we call “selfies.” Now, I am not going to be legalistic here and say that taking any pictures of oneself is evil, for there may be times when it is appropriate, especially in an era where our communications are largely online and not face to face.

But overuse of selfies, and the sharing of seductive and sensual selfies is glorifying the flesh, and it is drawing people to our flesh, and it is not glorifying God or drawing people to Jesus Christ. So, resist this. Share Jesus, not the flesh. And don’t share pictures of yourself not fully clothed. Cover the areas that should be covered, in all modesty and purity.

For, if we are professers of Jesus Christ and of all that is godly, holy, and pure, this should be reflected in our thinking, our speaking, our behaviors, our attitudes, and in how we present ourselves physically to others. So, if what we present outwardly is sensual and seductive, we are not adorning ourselves with what is proper for women who profess godliness.

So, present Jesus Christ to the world, not the flesh. Let them see Jesus in you. Don’t flash the flesh and then try to tell them about Jesus. That is counterproductive, for Jesus represents all that is holy, righteous, and pure. And don’t compromise with the language or the behaviors of the world. Let your conversation always be full of grace but seasoned with salt (Col 4:6).

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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