Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Leslie Basham: Mary Kassian says reading truths about God is important, but we also need to live the truth out.

Mary Kassian: Brain smart doesn’t necessarily translate to life smart.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Choosing Gratitude, for Tuesday, September 12, 2017.

Nancy: The apostle Paul warns against becoming what he calls “weak women.” Now, some may bristle at the phrase because none of us want to be called weak.” In fact, my friend Mary Kassian got upset when she was a young girl when her brother said this:

Mary: "What would you know? You're just a weak girl."

Nancy: And Mary was so upset after hearing that, she went on the attack.

Mary: It was an all-out, fist-swinging, face-punching, hair-pulling brawl. Woo.

Nancy: Mary told us the beginning of that story yesterday. We heard part one of a message called “Don’t be a Wimp: Kicking the Habits That Make Women Weak.”

So Mary didn’t like being called “weak.” But she had to come to terms with what the apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3. Let me read it to you. 

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth (vv. 3–7).

Yesterday Mary gave us two points from this passage.  Number 1: A weak-willed woman allows sin to creep in to her life.  And number 2: She fails to guard her mind.  

Here’s Mary with the third characteristic of a weak-willed woman, from the True Woman '14 Conference.

Mary: The third habit of a wimp: She lets things pile up.

The passage says she is burdened with sins, and the verb is used here to describe like a wagon or heaping or accumulating one on top of another. So there is, like, baggage. More and more baggage. More and more baggage. One on top of the other. A weak woman has lots of baggage because she lets things pile up: unresolved issues, hurts, resentments, someone has wounded you, and you just can't let go of it, unconfessed sins.

Here's the thing: Old, unresolved sins make you susceptible to new sins.

Old, unresolved sins make you susceptible to new sins.

I always tell my kids, "Sin makes you stupid." Because if you let it fester in your life, you just get stupid, and you sin more, and you sin more, and you pile it on and pile it on and pile it on, and then you go, "How could I be so stupid?" Well, sin makes you stupid; it just does.

Maybe it was curiosity that started it off for you. Maybe it was an Internet site you got drawn to, and you were just curious. And you got drawn into sin, but then it started piling up one on top of the other.

The sin and then the guilt and more sin, and then the weight of it gets so heavy and heavy until you can barely move, and it cripples you.

Earlier this year in South Korea there was a passenger ferry that was overloaded with cargo, and you remember the story in the news. It was a tragedy. There piled up in the dark cargo hold; there were three times the authorized amount of cargo in the cargo bay. So that ferry was riding low in the water.

And then when the captain turned the boat to navigate the water to make a regular turn, the weight in the cargo hold shifted, and the whole thing capsized. There were hundreds and hundreds of teenage schoolchildren on a field trip that were killed, died, drowned in that disaster.

Ladies, there are burdens we are meant to bear and that God strengthens us to bear, but then there are burdens we are not meant to bear. And sin and guilt falls into that latter category.

Sin and guilt. We are not meant to bear those. Christ is meant to bear those. He bore everything on the cross when He died. And He says to you, "Don't let it pile up in your life. Bring it to Me, and let it go."

If you let sin pile up, you're going to be like that ferry, and it's going to become impossible to navigate the waters of life. If you have to do a turn or a corner, and you have to navigate, all of a sudden you are going to capsize. It will be too heavy for you.

And the amazing message of grace is that you do not need to bear that sin and that guilt. You do not need to be weighed down by it. You can bring it to the cross, and let it go.

Here's the thing: Sins pile up when we keep them hidden.

Sins pile up when we keep them hidden.

I always tell my kids, "When it's in the darkness, when that sin is hidden, and you cover it up, and you keep it, and you don't share, and you don't tell anybody about it, and you're not honest about it, and you're not forthright about it, and you're not humble enough to confess it, that's when it has power. That's when the darkness has power over you.

"And if you bring that sin out into the light and expose it to the light, and just tell someone about it and have them struggle and wrestle and pray with you and confess that sin, then all of a sudden its grip is loosened over you."

So many of you women in this room are dealing with sins that you have not . . . that are just piling up. You haven't confessed them. You haven't repented. You think, Well, it's not a big deal. We'll just leave it there.

Critical spirit, bitterness, resentments, unforgiveness, slander, envy, pride.

There is a verse that I love in James 5:16, and I often quote it. It says, "Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."

So here is my counsel to you with regard to your sin: Speak it. Identify it. Say what it is. And if you can, tell someone else.

I have seen over my many years of ministry that when someone comes, and they speak their sins and confess . . . it says confess your sins to one another. Well, if someone confesses their sins to me, do I have power to forgive sin? No. But there's power in the Body, and there's power in the community of Jesus Christ. And as we do that for one another, it's like bringing it into the light and letting it go.

So I would encourage you this weekend to do that.

I'll give you a chance to do that this morning. You go out to the prayer room and do that. You grab your girlfriend in the hotel room and say, "I've never told anyone this, and I'm scared to death of telling you, but I need it off. I need to be free. I need that burden gone, and I need someone to pray with me and fight with me and hold me accountable."

So I encourage you to do that. And you will experience God's amazing grace, because there is not a sin big enough that will take over the cross. Not one. (applause)

There is not a sin big enough that will take over the cross.

That abortion you never told anyone about. That affair. Just even the little lies. Any sin is too much. We are not meant to bear it, so get rid of it. Bring it into the light and leave it at the cross, and Jesus will deal with it.

"Therefore, confess your sins to one another, pray for one another so that you may be healed."

Don't be a wimp. A weak woman hides sin in the dark. A woman of strength brings it to the light. And the Lord knows there are so many sins in my heart that I need to bring to light continually in order to be unencumbered by them.

Number four: She makes bad choices. She is led astray. She is swayed. Now, this is a passive verb, and it's like being led like a sheep to the slaughter.

So the woman takes missteps. She starts making bad decisions. And I said it before-sin makes us stupid. We just get stupid when we let sin pile up in our lives, and we begin to shun wise counsel. So we don't listen to good advice. We elevate our own opinion above that of our Christian friends, or we think that our parents are just so out of touch, so yesterday. And we listen to ungodly people, and we turn to popular wisdom for advice.

How many times have you seen it? I've seen it more times than I can count.

The scenario of a girl falling for a guy or getting entrapped in a relationship and not listening to the people who warn her and say, "This is not a good thing. There are some red flags here. I'm worried about you."

I think of my girlfriend Sarah. She started going out with this guy, and it's like, "Don't marry him. He has anger issues. I don't see that self-control. I see arrogance. He doesn't cherish you. He runs you down. He isn't growing in Christ-like character. He has issues with impulsivity. He has issues with money. He has a sexual history."

Did she listen? No. Five years, and she's in an emotionally abusive relationship, and she has become a shell of herself, diminished, insecure, in a terrible predicament.

And what is she saying now? "I should have listened. I should have listened."

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel (Prov. 12:15).

And not just any counsel. It needs to be the right counsel. It needs to be godly counsel because Psalm 1:1 says, "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked."

God gives us good counsel. This is good counsel. Someone who is walking with Christ can look and say, "You know, these are some issues I'm worried about." You need to listen to good counsel.

I, wisdom dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge in discretion. . . . I have counsel and sound wisdom; I have insight; [and listen to this] I have strength (Prov. 8:12, 14).

Don't be a wimp. A weak woman wanders off course. A woman of strength carefully considers her steps.

Point number five: She is governed by her emotions. And this is the phrase, various passions.

Okay, she is like PMS days always.

Various passions. Passions: deep desire and cravings and lusts and impulses.

Now there are sexual undertones to this, but it is bigger than just sexuality. But there are those undertones there.

So there's the desires of neediness and wanting attention and wanting to be loved. We all have desires, and we all have legitimate desires and passions. But in the case of a weak woman, her longings are just off a bit. They're discolored.

And the word various means they're diverse and they're many-colored, but the colors are just a bit off. They clash with the true color.

Jesus will satisfy your every longing. "For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things" (Ps. 107:9).

But there are sometimes when our longings are off. And we're going to illegitimate means, or we're trying to fulfill those longings in ways that we ought not to, and they will just get us more and more off course.

A weak woman is governed by her emotions. She puts her brain in park [ach]; puts her emotions in drive [ach]; rationalizes her behavior, excuses, and justifications—we've all done it. I've done it. It's the "I know, but . . ." syndrome.

  • I know, but . . .
  • I know I shouldn't be daydreaming about that guy, but my husband is so unaffectionate.
  • I know I shouldn't be watching that movie, but I feel starved for romance.
  • I know I shouldn't be having another drink, but it helps dull the disappointment.
  • I know I shouldn't flirt with my boss, but it feels good to be noticed.
  • I know I shouldn't surf those porn sites, but I need an outlet. I'm single. I need an outlet for those desires.
  • I know I shouldn't date this non-Christian, but you know what? He treats me better than most Christian guys do.
  • I know I shouldn't gossip or stretch the truth, but I want people to value me and affirm me.
  • I know I shouldn't go further into debt, but those fabulous shoes are calling my name. (laughter)

So it's the "I know, but . . ." and fill in the blank.

A weak woman lets her emotions drive her mind. A woman of strength makes her mind drive her emotions.

I know, da-da-da-da-da, but da-da-da-da-da my emotions are going take me this way because I just feel like it.


Don't be a wimp, ladies. Don't be a wimp. A weak woman lets her emotions drive her mind. A woman of strength makes her mind drive her emotions.

You can choose joy. You can choose peace. You can choose to believe things that are good and right and true and beautiful and excellent and trustworthy. You can choose those things, and if you choose to walk in joy, your emotions are going to follow along behind.

Number six: She hides behind a religious mask.

So here is the scenario: These women were always learning, and that can be translated always being taught. So they were at all the True Woman Conferences. 

These women are book smart. They know Christian stuff. They went to Sunday school. They went to youth group. They've studied the Word. And maybe they even see themselves as part of the religious intelligentsia.

They know the difference between Arminianism and Calvinism. And they know if they are a three or four or five points and Egalitarianism and Complementarianism. And they know all the names of the Christian Who's Who. They follow John Piper and Tim Keller and Al Mohler and Matt Chandler and Mary Kassian, and they read all the blogs, Gospel Coalition, Justin Taylor, Tim Challies, CBMW. They throw in some alternate opinions—I want be well read; I better read some Rachel Held Evans—throw that in there . . . Let's get it all.

They can tell you the difference between Christology, Eschatology, Soteriology, and Ecclesiology, and they've done every single Bible study that has ever been published, and Jennifer can't publish them fast enough.

They read every popular Christian book. They've listened to all the latest, greatest Christian speakers . . . learning, learning, learning, learning, learning, learning, learning.

And in Ephesus, the problem was these women had even gotten into Gnosticism, which was basically they felt like they were sort of the privileged few that had this special knowledge. They were brain smart.

But you know what? Brain smart doesn't always translate into life smart.

She is a hearer of the word but doesn't allow it to transform her life.

That's the problem with the women in Ephesus, and that's the problem. When you see that happening, that's a weak woman. And Paul argues that knowledge and behavior belong together in the Christian life.

Is knowledge good? Yes, it is. But it's no good without behavior. Saying and doing, belief and discipleship, they can't be separated.

Don't be a wimp. A weak woman wants to take more in. A woman of strength wants to work it out.

Jesus transform me. Make me different. Help me change.

Your prayer, as a woman of strength at this conference here, is, "May I be rocked to the core, and may Christ take His light of inspection into my heart and examine it. And here it is. What is it that You want me to change?" (applause)

The final thing we see in the life of a weak woman is that she spins her tires.

Now I live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. We have a lot of snow. Do you know what snow is? Do you all know what snow is? And in the winter, you do a lot of tire spinning. You can't get traction. The snow comes, and you get stuck and it's like "zrzrzrzrz" and you are like "whrrrrr." All the neighbors are coming out of the houses and giving each other pushes, and then you get three houses down it's "zrzrzrzr."

And that's characteristic of the life of a weak woman. These women are never able to acknowledge the truth. They spin the tires. There's no progress. There's no change. There's no victory. Dealing with the same issues year after year after year, not substantially different. They can look back five, ten years and say, "Hmm, things haven't changed that much." There's no spiritual growth. You're the same as you were last time you came to a conference.

Don't be a wimp. A weak woman stagnates. A woman of strength grows, and she bears fruit.

I need to tell you the end of the story, my fighting story with my brother.

Well, we went into the living room, pushed the furniture aside—because we knew we'd be in trouble if we broke it. And I think my brother was quite amused by this—he's three-and-a-half years older than I was, and I was just feisty. I was going to take him on.

I started swinging and hitting and punching and kicking. And I think he was amused. He pushed me off a little bit, but then I must have smacked him in the face, and he got angry. And he started hitting me for real, and it didn't feel so good. And I started crying, and I was getting hit, and I was losing the fight, and he was pinning me down.

It must have been this massive commotion, because my older brother heard it from downstairs and he came up. He pulled us apart, took my brother to the floor, pinned him down, and told him off and said, "How dare you! How dare you do that! How dare you hit her!"

I was kind of watching, and as he finished dealing with him, and then he came brushing past me, and I kind of snuffled and said, "He called me a weak girl."

My older brother looked at me, and he said, "You are a girl. And if you get into fights with him, you're going to get beat up. And next time you have an issue, you come call me, and I'll deal with it."

I like that brother. That was a good brother. (laughter)

Like, "Yeah, I can get into trouble. He'll come deal with it."

But here's the point. Perhaps, as you've been listening to this, you've identified areas in which you're weak—and the truth is, all of us are. We all are. You are. That's what you are. We all need someone stronger.

But here is the irony: A weak woman tries to act strong, and culture tells us to act all strong and in control and in charge and bossy as women. But a woman of strength recognizes that she is weak, and that she needs a Savior—that she's in a lifelong wrestling match with sin, and she's not going to win unless that Savior comes in and takes care of it for her.

Our own strength is inadequate. In order to become a woman who clothes myself in strength, I need to identify my weakness and press into the strength of Jesus.

Ephesians 6:10: "Be strong" what? "in the Lord and in the strength of His might."

It's His might. It's His strength. It's Him. And if you don't hold onto that, you can act as big and tough and mean as you want, but you are just going to get beat up because we're weak. We are weak, and without Christ as our strength, we're going to take the hits.

Seek the Lord and His strength. Seek His presence. Seek His strength continually.

Nancy: Mary Kassian isn’t done. She’ll be right back to help us follow up and pray.

When I first heard this message from Mary at the True Woman '14 Conference, it made me evaluate my heart. Have I been entertaining any attitudes or thoughts that would lead me to being a weak-willed woman?

At Revive Our Hearts, we want to help you walk in God’s strength and make wise, godly choices. That’s why we air messages like this one from Mary. It’s why we do everything we do.

I’m so thankful for all who support the ministry to make it possible for us to host True Woman Conferences and to bring you messages like this one on the program every weekday.

When you support Revive Our Hearts today with a gift of any amount, we’d like to say "thank you" by sending you a Bible study that Mary and I co-authored called True Woman 201. This study will take you through Titus chapter 2 and help you study ten biblical elements of true womanhood. It will help you grow in the kind of character that God says is truly beautiful. 

Ask for True Woman 201: Interior Design when you call with a donation of any amount. The number to call is 1–800–569–5959, or visit

Leslie: And there’s another way you can explore Titus 2 with Mary and with you, Nancy. It’s watching the livestream of the Revive '17 conference. That’s the conference presented by Revive Our Hearts and Moody Publishers. Nancy, Mary, and a solid lineup of speakers will teach through Titus 2 and show you how women can mentor women the Titus 2 way.

The conference is sold out, but we hope you’ll put a group together and watch the livestream, September 29–30. Get details and sign up at Tomorrow we’ll hear from a woman who felt like she always had to perform to earn God’s favor. She’d go to bed at night and feel like God was angry that she didn’t do more. Hear about the dramatic turnaround when she discovered grace. Nancy?

We’ve heard a lot today that is so helpful. Before you move on into your day, would you take just a minute to follow up and ask the Lord, "What do you want me to remember and do now that I’ve heard this message?" Here’s Mary to wrap up our program.

Mary: So I want you to leave this place having been spoken to by God's Spirit. So would you please stand and bow your heads in prayer?

Heavenly Father, I pray for this army of women. Oh, that we would be strong women. Not strong-willed women, but women who clothe ourselves in the strength of Christ. Women with fire in the belly and courage in the heart and steel in the spine to say "no" to what is wrong and "yes" to what's right.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants you to know God's Word for yourself. It's an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

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About the Teacher

Mary Kassian

Mary Kassian

Mary Kassian is an award-winning author, an internationally-renowned speaker, and a frequent guest on Revive Our Hearts. She has written more than a dozen books and Bible studies, including Conversation Peace, Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild, and The Right Kind of Strong.

Mary and her husband, Brent, have three sons and six grandchildren and live in Alberta, Canada. The Kassians enjoy biking, hiking, snorkeling, music, board games, mountains, campfires, and their family’s black lab, "The Queen of Sheba."