Sunday, September 6, 2009

This is a TOUGH one, but oh so important!

Anyone who knows me knows that I can be very passionate about the things I value or in which I believe. Of my parent's six children, I have always been the most dramatic, probably causing their faces to turn red in embarrassment (and maybe anger) a few times. I'm sorry, Mom and Dad. :)

Well, when I got to this particular part of Titus 2 - "That they may teach the younger women . . . to be discreet . . . " - I had to smile. Oh, this one is a hard one for me to practice, and I still have a lot to learn.

So, let's learn together. Here's what I found:

According to the Random House Webster's College Dictionary (1992) discretion is defined as "the power or right to decide or act according to one's own judgement"; or "the quality of being discreet; prudence or decorum; tactfulness." Now, the first definition can sound a little like what is recorded in Judges 17:6 which says, "but every man did that which was right in his own eyes." Trusting our own judgements apart from any counsel from God's Word is sure to turn into folly. This cannot be what is meant in Titus 2 or any other passage that discusses a person being discreet. Let's look at a few:
  1. Genesis 41:33 - Joseph tells Pharoah to "look out a man discreet and wise," to which Pharoah answers to Joseph in verse 39 that "there is none so discreet and wise as thou art." Coupled with the word wise would indicate that Joseph was trusting in the Lord for the counsel he offered to Pharoah.
  2. Mark 12:34 says that "Jesus saw that he answered discreetly," and Jesus answered that the scribe was not far from the kingdom of God.
  3. When Proverbs speaks of discretion specifically concerning a woman, 11:22 refers to it in the negative. When a woman cannot control her passions (whatever those may be), she is likened to a pig who needs a ring in its nose in order to control it. She needs someone to "yank her chain" in order to keep her in line. She must not be heeding God's Word in her life.
So, what is the Biblical definition of discretion or the word in Titus 2, discreet? Strong's Exhaustive Concordance says (Greek Dictionary #4998, for Titus 2:5) that discreet is (1) to be "safe (sound) in mind," (2) "self-controlled [moderate in passion or opinion]", or (3) "discreet, sober, temperate."
How then does that translate into what a young wife is supposed to be for her husband?
  • Sound mind speaks of have right thinking. This comes from daily being in God's Word and "training my brain and mouth" to think and speak what I meditate on from what I study in the Bible.
  • Self-control is simply choosing to restrain one's self in all areas of life. This ranges from our eating habits to work or entertainment habits to our habits concerning Bible reading, prayer, church commitment, etc. All parts of our lives are intertwined and cannot be separate or compartmentalized.
  • Discreet, sober, and temperate are really defined in the above two points, but really involve our treatment of others regardless of their treatment to us. Do we display the love of Christ at all times, or is it only when it's convenient for us or when they've treated us as we want to be treated? It really goes back to motives and what's most important to us.
Let me now answer the above question in how I, as a young wife, should behave toward my husband - in all situations, whether he is directly or indirectly involved. I do everything to be considerate of him. I speak kindly to him and about him. I plan menus based upon what he likes (while at the same time thinking of what is healthy and beneficial to him). I make myself look as he wants me to look, esp. when we are alone.
Is this always easy? Of course not! I have a sinful flesh that wages war in me, and I have to CHOOSE to have discretion. I have to choose to be considerate whether it's convenient for me or not. I have to decide that my relationship with my husband, my children, or anyone else in my life is more important that what people think of me.
It really goes back to the 2nd greatest commandment - "Love thy neighbor as thyself," as well as, the Golden Rule - "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
Now, I am going out to "hoe the row."

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