Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Episode Resources

Watch Mary share this message.

Leslie Basham: Very serious temptation can come in very small forms. Here’s Mary Kassian.

Mary Kassian: The wise woman knows that it's not the big compromise that poses the biggest threat to her well-being. It's all of those little ones. 

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Choosing Gratitude, for Monday, September 11, 2017.

Today we'll hear from one of the speakers who will be at Revive '17 this September. It's sold out, but I hope you'll sign up to watch the livestream at ReviveOurHearts.com. Mary Kassian is coming to Revive '17, hosted by Revive Our Hearts and Moody Publishers. Mary’s also spoken at all of the True Woman Conferences over the years. And Nancy, I know you really got a lot out of the message she delivered at True Woman '14.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: The title of this message is “Don’t Be a Wimp: Kicking the Habits that Make Women Weak.” I know how often I tend lean on my own strength and discover how weak I really am, so I need to listen to this message again. I’m excited to share it with you today.

Mary’s a regular here on Revive Our Hearts, and she and I most recently co-authored a Bible study called True Woman 201: Interior Design. Let’s listen as Mary warns us about the temptations that would lead us into being weak and ineffective.

Mary: Good morning ladies. I have a confession to make. I was once in a fight. It was an all-out, fist-swinging, face-punching, hair-pulling brawl. Woo.

And I remember it well. It was on a Thursday night, and the reason I remember that it was on a Thursday night was because the rhythm of my life as a child in my household of origin was always the same.

If it was Sunday, we went to church twice. Monday night, deacons meeting. Tuesday night, Pioneer Girls/Boys Club. Wednesday night, prayer meeting. Thursday night, my mom and dad went out grocery shopping, or so they said. (laughter)

They left me and my five brothers at home to fend for ourselves. And on that particular Thursday night, my brother that was just older than me, Gordon, and myself, were assigned dish duty. So he was washing; I was drying.

And as we were doing the dishes, we got into this spat. You know, kids do that. I don't even remember what it was about, but I know that it escalated, and we started badgering back and forth. And at one point he said, "What would you know? You're just a weak girl."

Ooh. Them's fighting words. (laughter)

I was a tomboy. I had five brothers. I could climb a tree, swing a hammer, do anything as good as they could do it. So down went the towel, up went the fists, and I challenged him to a duel. (laughter)

We went into the living room and had it out. And I'll tell you the rest of the story later. (laughter)

Imagine my surprise when, as I grew older and I was reading Scripture, I came across a passage in 2 Timothy 3:6–7 that said this:

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.

There was the game. My brother had called me a weak girl. There is no way anyone was ever going to call me weak. And here was Scripture talking about weak women.

You can turn there to 2 Timothy 3:6–7. That's the passage we're going to park on this morning, and I'm going to unpack it for you.

Now, the background to 2 Timothy is that it was written by Paul, and it was written near the end of his life. He was in prison, and he was writing it to one of his protégés in Ephesus, to Timothy in Ephesus who was working with the church there.

And in the letter, the letter is a bold and a clear call for perseverance in times of difficulty, in times of hardship. It was encouraging the church, but he was also correcting some problems that were in the church in Ephesus.

And one of the problems that was facing the church there was that false teachers were impacting the church, influencing the church from the inside. And they were finding a disproportionate amount of success amongst the women, because the women were weak.

When I did my fancy Greek word study on this word "weak" in my Logos program, I found out that this word is translated different ways in different translations. So in your Bible, if you're looking at the passage right now, it may say weak or it may say weak-willed or gullible or idle or silly.

Ooh. Silly women.

The Greek word actually literally means "little women."

Now, nobody has ever called me little; I'm just about six feet tall. But little women, and it contains the idea of smallness, and these women were less. They were small. They were little. They were less than they should have been.

And this weakness was not a positive thing. It wasn't a 2 Corinthians 12:10, "I delight in weakness, for when I am weak then I am strong."

That's not the kind of weakness this was talking about here. This weakness was bad. These women were weak in a way that diminished them. It was a negative and contemptuous term.

These women were childish and frivolous and silly and immature and wimpy. They deserved the triple W label: weak, wimpy woman. (laughter)

The point is, they ought not to have been. They ought not to have been that.

In the Proverbs 31 description of the godly woman, verse 25 says she is clothed with "strength and dignity."

And verse 17: "She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong."

God doesn't want His girls to be wimps. A daughter of the King is not wimpy and weak. She is a daughter of dignity. She is a woman of strength. She is a woman who dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.

The Lord wants steel magnolias. He wants us to be soft, feminine women with fire in our bellies and courage in our hearts and backbones of steel so that we can say "yes" to truth and "no" to unrighteousness.

I've entitled this message "Don't Be a Wimp: Kicking the Habits that Make Women Weak." Because if we break down this passage, 2 Timothy 3:6–7, into clauses, we can discover seven habits that characterize those wimpy women in Ephesus. "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."

So the seven clauses are: 1) Creep into households, 2) capture weak women, 3) burdened with sins, 4) led astray, 5) various passions, 6) always learning, 7) never able to arrive. And we're going to take a look at each one of those.

Seven clauses, seven characteristics of a wimpy, weak woman. Seven habits that you will want to kick if you don't want to be one and if you want to become a woman of strength.

And the first habit of a wimpy woman is that she tolerates creeps. (laughter)

She allows things to creep in. And the wimpy women in Ephesus were allowing the false teachers and the false teachings to creep in. Some translations use the phrase worm their way in.

So many women let the wrong kind of guy creep into their lives. Have you seen it? 

But a false teacher or a controlling, obnoxious creep is not the only type of creep that we need to be alert to as women.

When I use the word creep, I'm talking about any negative influence that worms its way into our lives. To creep is to advance slowly. It's to move forward slowly. When something creeps in, it advances and it pushes in, but it's so subtle and almost imperceptible. And it's persistent, but it keeps coming in, and it comes in at just a teeny little bit at a time.

Sin does not advance by leaps; it advances by creeps—one tiny compromise at a time.

There is something sinister about creeps. They come in, and they infringe, and they supplant, and they take over. And they do it so gradually and so slowly and incrementally that a woman is often left scratching her head and wondering, How on earth did that happen? How on earth did I get into this situation? How did it happen? I was over there, and now I'm over here, and I don't even know how that all came down.

Well, here is the answer, girls. Sin does not advance by leaps; it advances by creeps—one tiny compromise at a time.

I met Judy at a women's retreat. And she and her husband, John, had met in Bible school. He was studying theology. She was studying Christian education.

And when they graduated, they moved and started work at a church, both on staff, at a church in the Midwest. Their hearts were filled with love for God, and they were full of excitement and passion for Him and for reaching people.

After a few years, though, daily grind of church life and church politics, it was hard, and they felt it. They felt like they needed a break. So they both resigned, found secular jobs, and moved out to the East Coast. They couldn't seem to find a church that quite fit, so they just eventually stopped going. Their Bible reading and their spiritual disciplines also fell by the wayside.

They were lonely. They didn't have friends in the area. One Friday night their neighbors invited them over to play cards and have some drinks. Judy was a little bit hesitant about it. She didn't quite feel good about it, didn't feel right about it, but they went.

Well, they made good friends with their neighbors, and their Friday night card games became a regular highlight of the week. Every Friday night they went over to play cards.

Judy couldn't remember exactly how it happened, but at some point in time, Hearts and Crib turned into Poker and then Poker turned into strip poker, and then after they had gotten accustomed to shedding their clothes, the stakes got even higher.

Sexual favors and sexual dares became the bets that they placed on the table. And by the time Judy sought me out to pray for her, their Friday night poker games had escalated into increasingly depraved sexual behavior, and she had become an addict. She was in severe bondage to pornography, to sexual perversion, and she was so entangled and messed up.

Now if I had said to Judy when she was in Bible school, "Guess what, Judy? In five years you are going to be a sexual addict and a mess." What do you think she would have said to me?

"There is no way."

How did it happen? A little bit at a time. It was a creep, a little bit at a time.

Satan is a creep. He's the ultimate creep, and he will constantly and persistently try to gain ground in your life and worm his way in.

Can you identify an area in which you've been a wimp and have tolerated the creep? Maybe it's a website you shouldn't be surfing. Or maybe it's a book you shouldn't be reading. Or a show you shouldn't be watching. Maybe it's that secret text or email exchange you shouldn't be pursuing. The lunch with the married guy that you shouldn't be having. The daydream or the scenario you shouldn't be envisioning. The place you shouldn't be going.

Or maybe it's the excuse to skip church that you shouldn't be making. Or the bitter resentment you shouldn't be nursing. Or the marital affection you shouldn't be withholding.

Through Christ's death and resurrection, He has given us the power to say "no" to the creep. And He wants us to be strong and not to be wimpy women.

So don't rationalize and justify those creeps by saying, "Oh, it won't affect me. I'm strong enough to handle it. I'm not going to get off track. It's really not a big deal."

No, it's not a big deal, you're right. It's probably not a big deal because it's a creep. And it's all those little deals that take us off course.

The wise woman knows that it's not the big compromise that poses the biggest threat to her well-being. It's all of those little ones.

And there's something else I want you to notice here. It's the phrase into households. "They creep into households of weak women."

You see, as a woman, I'm not just responsible to keep bad stuff from creeping into my life. As a woman, I also have a unique responsibility in my home to make sure it doesn't creep into my household.

And by design, God has designed women to be different than men. Do I hear an "amen"? Amen.

And women's intuition is not a myth. Women are nurturers. We've been given this amazing internal barometer of: "How is everyone doing? How's it going? What are the relationships like? What's happening here?" Yida yida, yada yada.

And we see things in terms of people, relationships. We notice things that the guys don't notice. Mama Bear is the perceiver, and the watcher, and the snoop, and the detective, and the "let's break onto the computer and find out what's going on-er," and the cheerleader, and the weeper, and the burden carrier, and the pray-er, and the checker-outer of girlfriends and boyfriends and best friends. And that's the way we're wired.

And we can't afford to be lackadaisical or inattentive and foolishly allow things to creep into our loved one's lives.

I can't even begin to tell you the number of times that I have intervened to prevent creeps from encroaching on my children, my marriage, my household, my family. Or the number of times I've sat down with my husband and said, "You know what? There is something not quite right in one of our kid's lives."

Or the number of times I've prayed, "God, reveal sin. If there is sin in my household, reveal it. Help me be sensitive to it. Help me see it so that we can deal with it."

Incidentally, I believe that God gives every woman a household, a sphere of people to look after. Psalm 113:9 says, "He gives the childless woman a household, making her the joyful mother of children."

So you don't have to have a husband and kids to be the mama of a household. Your household might be your volleyball team. It might be your coworkers, the women in your recovery group, the women in your nursing home. It may be your nieces and nephews or your neighbors.

And God wants you to take up your mantel of Mama Bear and start looking after your household. Watch out for the creeps in their lives. Do everything you can to protect them and warn them and persuade those cubs of yours.

Proverbs 31:27 says the wise woman "looks well to the ways of her household."

Proverbs 14:1: "Every wise woman builds her house, but a foolish one tears it down with her own hands." How does it happen? One brick at a time.

Don't be a wimp. A weak woman entertains bad influences. A woman of strength shuts them down.

Okay, the second clause, the second habit of a wimpy woman, is that she fails to guard her mind.

The next part of 2 Timothy 3 says, "False teachers capture weak women." Your Bible may say gain control over, or make captives of, or captivate.

It's actually a military term. It indicates that these women were taken captive like prisoners of war, but there's more here. There's another underlying thought or element that isn't readily apparent.

Some translations actually use the word "captivate," and the reason why is because there's an element of psychological dominance that is woven into this idea. It means "to gain influence or control over the mind." You're not just taken as a prisoner of war. Your mind is starting to be messed with.

And these women were captivated. They were brainwashed to accept their captivity and to cooperate and to work with their captor and even to grow fond of him, and they were unaware that they had been taken hostage.

And Paul uses the same word and imagery in the previous chapter, 2 Timothy 2:26. He says that people need to "come to their senses"—the mind, get rid of the brainwashing—"and escape from the snare of the devil after being captured by him to do his will."

In 1973, there were two escaped convicts. They carried machine guns and went into a bank to rob it. It was in Stockholm, Sweden. And their attempt to rob the bank kind of went sideways, and they ended up in a standoff with police, and they took hostages. They took three women and a man hostage. They strapped dynamite to the chests of these hostages and entrapped them, kept them in the bank vault.

Well, oddly enough, at the end of the captivity, six days later, they were in the bank vault with those criminals. Six days later the hostages actively resisted being rescued. They didn't want to be rescued by the police, and they all refused to testify against their captors.

And not only that, they worked to raise money for the criminals' legal defense. And according to some reports, one of the hostages even got engaged to one of the criminals after he had been sent to jail.

And this phenomenon of victims coming to identify and sympathize with their captors and displaying compassion and loyalty for people who are mistreating them and actually have them under their control is known as the Stockholm Syndrome after Stockholm, Sweden, after where that bank robbery took place.

And another famous case that some of you people who are as old as me might remember is Patty Hearst, the rich young heiress who was kidnapped by a terrorist group but then joined their cause and then she started robbing banks with them.

So this Stockholm Syndrome is similar to what was happening to these weak women in the church in Ephesus. Second Timothy depicts them as victims. They were victims, but they were party to their own imprisonment. They had been captivated. They'd been captured. They'd been brainwashed and confused. They weren't thinking straight. The creeps had messed with their minds, and they had fallen for the lies.

Have you ever seen that happen to a girlfriend?

Girlfriends, in your struggle against sin, the victory will be won or lost on the battlefield of your mind.

Nancy has written a whole book about the lies women believe, and many of you in this room are here and you are believing lies.

Lies about God, like, "God's ways are too restrictive."

Lies about yourself, like, "I shouldn't have to live with unfulfilled longings."

Lies about sin, like, "This sin really isn't all that bad."

Lies about your circumstances, like, "It's not my fault. My circumstances are responsible for my bad attitude. If my husband wouldn't be so mean, I wouldn't be so crabby."

Lies about your priorities, about marriage, about children, about who you are as a woman, about who you are and how you ought to behave.

Lies, lies, lies. Satan is the father of lies. He is a good liar.

And our foremother Eve fell for a lie, and the propensity to fall for them has plagued women ever since.

In your struggle against sin, the victory will be won or lost on the battlefield of your mind.

Do you know how the FBI trains secret service agents to identify counterfeit money? They put them in a room with real money. And for hours and hours and hours, they study the details of the real thing, and they feel it, and they smell it. They become so familiar with real money that when they come across counterfeit money, they just know, "Hmm, something's off, not quite right. It's not quite the right texture." And they can pick it out, what's wrong. They don't pick out what's wrong by studying the bad stuff. They pick it out by becoming familiar with the good stuff.

And it's the same way with us; it's the same way with us. In order to combat falsehood, we need to become intimately familiar with truth. We need the Word.

This is truth. This is truth, and if we aren't getting it into our systems, if we aren't feeling it and handling it and reading it and studying it and becoming a familiar with the texture and the feel of it, we're not going to know when something else is kind of off.

But if we're familiar with truth, when Satan comes along with a lie . . . and those lies always have some truth to them, otherwise we wouldn't fall for them. They're just off a little bit. And when Satan comes along with a lie, we'll be able to know, "Hmm, something's not quite right here. Something's not quite right."

So a woman of strength equips her mind, and she also protects it.

Truth will set you free, ladies, but you will have a tough time discerning what's true if you spend all your time being exposed to garbage. Garbage in; garbage out.

God's Word tells you that sex outside of marriage is a shameful violation of the true meaning of covenant faithfulness. That TV show tells you that sex outside of marriage is your ticket to happiness and fulfillment.

Be honest. Which message do you spend more time stuffing into your head? Are you giving truth or are you giving lies more access?

Second Corinthians 10:5: "We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ"—every thought.

Don't be a wimp, ladies. Don't be a wimp. A weak woman is captivated by lies. A woman of strength takes her thoughts captive to truth.

Nancy: That’s Mary Kassian, half way through a very helpful message called “Don’t be a Wimp: Kicking the Habits that Make Women Weak.” I sat there listening to Mary speak at True Woman '14 and so appreciated Mary’s warning.

We as Christian women need to lean on God’s strength to help us guard against false teaching, and to guard our minds from unsound thinking. Mary and I want to help you grow in filling your mind with truth you can rely on. So we wrote a Bible study together called True Woman 201: Interior Design. The subtitle is: "Ten Elements of Biblical Womanhood." This ten-week study will take you through Titus chapter 2 and help you explore the rich insight for women found there.

We’d like send you a copy this week when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount. This program wouldn’t be on the air without the support of friends who give to the ministy and make it possible. If you appreciate the way Revive Our Hearts points you to God’s Word each weekday, would you call and let us know that you'd like to make a donation? You can ask for the study True Woman 201, and we’ll send one per household as our way of saying "thanks" for your donation of any size.

Give us a call at 1–800–569–5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Leslie: That’s also where you can visit to sign up now for the livestream of the Revive '17 conference. Mary Kassian will be joining Nancy and other speakers to explore women mentoring women the Titus 2 way. I hope you’ll put together a group to watch with you and make plans to join the livestream September 29–30.

Nancy: Mary Kassian gave us two characteristics of weak-willed women. We’ll hear five more tomorrow. And I love this line: Brain smart doesn’t necessarily translate to life smart. Find out what Mary means, tomorrow, here on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants you to be strong in the Lord. It's an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

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