Revive Our Hearts Podcast

God's Beautiful Design for Women, Day 44

Episode Resources

Watch Kim share her story.

Take the 30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge.

Leslie Basham: Here’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: When we Christians claim to follow Christ and to believe the Bible but we don’t live out the implications of God’s Word, then we cause the Word of God to be dishonored.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel, for Thursday, April 6, 2017.

For several weeks Nancy has helped us mine for treasures in Titus 2:1–5. It’s full of practical wisdom for women. In fact, it’s amazing that this rich study all comes from five verses.

Did you know that people you interact with every day can tell whether you allow Scripture like this to influence your daily decisions? Here’s Nancy to explain.

Nancy: I received an email from one of our listeners. Let me share it with you. This woman said,

I am very undisciplined. My children are too. I know what to do, but I don’t do it. Homemaking and child-rearing were so degraded in my younger years that I spent much time trying to get away from them. There is a dread of being trapped or stuck. Actually, God has been showing me that it is an authority problem. I do not want to be under the control of anything.

And then you see the implications and the ramifications of this life. She said,

I have not prayed for the salvation of my husband—because then he would pay more attention to my failing behavior and in love would want me to improve. I could not hide my lack of obedience to God while at home if my husband was a Christian. I’m just good enough to look good to the world.

I found myself wondering, How many women is that true of? They look good to the world, but in the family, in the home, is the real picture.

I can get up and put forth the effort for others, but not for my family. I have not submitted to God, that He has made me a mom having responsibilities to my husband and children. I know this does nothing to make Christ attractive to him or others. Being the type of Christian that I am has not changed my lifestyle enough to attract my husband or anyone else. I have zero spiritual children in ten years.

Now, that woman just stated what we’re going to look at in this last phrase of Titus chapter 2 verse 5. Let’s read the passage beginning in verse 1, where Paul said to Titus, “Teach what accords with sound doctrine.”

Skipping down to verse 3: “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”—why?—“that the word of God may not be reviled” (vv. 3–5).

This woman said, “The kind of Christian I am has not make Christ attractive to my husband or anyone else.”

So let me ask: Why? Why spend eight or nine weeks, as we have on these few verses, on this passage? Is this all really that important? Does it really matter? Why do women need to learn and practice all these things we’ve been talking about? What is at stake?

In Titus chapter 2, as we’ve said, we see instructions to believers in various seasons of life. We have men, women, older, younger, employees, people in different seasons and stations of life. And in each case, the apostle says, “Here’s what the gospel looks like on you at this season of life.”

Then in those first ten verses of Titus 2, as he’s talking to those people in different seasons and stations of life, he gives three “purpose” clauses. We just read the first one. After saying what older women and younger women should be like and do—what their character should be like, and their lives and their relationships—what is the purpose clause? “That the word of God may not be reviled.”

In verse 8, there’s a second purpose clause. Paul says to Titus, beginning in verse 7, “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned”—why?—“so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.”

That’s the purpose: so that those who would reject the Word of God or the truth of God’s Word cannot point at you and get ammunition for rejecting Christ.

Then look at verses 9 and 10: “Slaves are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith”—why?—“so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.”

They’re supposed to make the gospel believable. And we all are, in our different seasons of life, as we live out the gospel.

There are two similar passages in the book of 1 Timothy—first in chapter 5, verse 14. Paul says, “I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households.” That’s what the gospel does for a woman at that season of life. Why? “Give the adversary no occasion for slander.”

And then 1 Timothy chapter 6, verse 1: “Let all who are under a yoke as slaves regard their own masters as worthy of all honor.” Here’s how you live out the gospel as an employee. Why? “So that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled.”

Now, I think what we’re seeing in these passages is that there is a lot more at stake here, as we live out the gospel and its implications, than our own individual lives. Paul says in Romans 14, “None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself” (v. 7).

Our lives have a ripple effect. So whether or not you love your husband, love your children, are pure and kind and submissive to your husband, are a keeper at home and have self-control—whether you do or don’t doesn’t just affect you. And it doesn’t just affect your family, though it certainly does affect them.

It affects lots of people. And it affects not only their view of you; it affects their view of Jesus. It affects their understanding of the gospel and their willingness to receive it.

Back to Titus 2:5, “That the word of God may not be reviled.” That word "reviled" in the Greek is blasphemeo. Does that sound familiar? It’s the word from which we get our English word "blasphemy." And it means just that—"to blaspheme, to defame, to dishonor or speak evil of."

One commentator said, “It means so that God’s Word may suffer no scandal.” That’s why we’re supposed to live this way. So God’s Word may suffer no scandal. This is the purpose of our living godly lives: to make sure that no one can reproach the Word of God.

When we Christians claim to follow Christ and to believe the Bible, but we don’t live out the implications of God’s Word, then we cause the Word of God to be dishonored. You read this concept in Romans chapter 2, verse 24, where Paul says, “As it is written, the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles”—or the unbelievers—“because of you.” Because of the believers.

When we don’t live out the implications of God’s Word, we cause the Word of God to be dishonored.

Now, what did they do that caused the name of God to be blasphemed among unbelievers? If you read that whole paragraph in Romans 2, starting at verse 17, you see that they’ve been hypocrites. They profess to know one thing—they even teach it to others—but they don’t live it.

"You who teach others, do you not teach yourself? Why do you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery?" (v. 22). Etc. He said that you are not living consistently with the Word of God that you are proclaiming to others.

So we hold of this Word, and we say, "This is the gospel of Jesus Christ. It will show you how to live. It will show you what kind of wife to be. It will show you how to do marriage God's way. It will show you how to have the kind of children God wants you to have." And then you don't live that out. And they see the same divorce rate in the church as we have outside in the world, what does that do to people's opinion of Scripture? It dishonors; it causes the Word of God to be blasphemed.

Paul says in Philippians 2:15 that we are to be “blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”

Our lives are to be lights. We are not like bumps on a log, sitting and enduring this existance however long we are here on this earth. God has put within us the life of Christ, the surpassing life of Christ in these earthen vessels, and that light is supposed to shine into this world to show the light of Jesus into the darkness of this world.

He says, "That's why in this crooked, wicked, twisted generation, your lives are supposed to be blameless, pure, innocent children of God who live out the Word of God."

There is the same concept in 1 Peter 2:9. "You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession"—why? So you can have these happy, holy lives? No. God's pours His grace into you so that it can flow out from you to others. He says, ". . . so you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light."

Our lives are supposed to shine a spotlight on the glories, the excellencies, of Christ and His gospel. So that’s why it matters that you love your husband, that you love your children, that you are pure and self-controlled and a keeper at home.

That’s why it matters that you live out the gospel, not just when you’re in Bible study and church, but in the four walls of your home—because that’s where people see the reality of the gospel lived out in you.

If you don’t live that out, you may cause your friends to revile or to reject the Word of God. You may cause your co-workers, your neighbors and fellow church members to dishonor the Word of God and to reject its truth.

But I think the most tragic impact, perhaps, that can take place if your life is not in accordance with the Word of God—as an older woman or a younger woman—may be within the four walls of your own home. The most tragic impact may be on your own family, on your children.

Ladies, it’s a serious thing . . . You’ve heard me say this before, but it’s a very serious thing to me that in droves young people are leaving our Christian homes—having grown up in our youth groups and Christian schools or home schools or public schools—and are leaving high school, leaving the faith and rejecting Christ: huge percentages of them. And why is that?

We can talk about all the hypocrites in the church. We can talk about the culture. But I want to tell you, I believe in many, many cases it’s because they have not seen the Word of God lived out by their moms and their dads.

You can’t make your husband live it out, but you can live it out. The implication, the impact, on your husband, whether he is saved or lost, is huge.

I don't often read long segments or stories on Revive Our Hearts, but many of you are familiar with my long-time friend Kim Wagner, who is a pastor’s wife and has participated with us in the Revive Our Hearts ministry. She’s been on the program with us numerous times as we do what we call “table talk” after some of our sessions. You’ve heard her on this Titus 2 series.

I've watched Kim embrace God's ways and biblical womanhood in the years that I've known her. I've see her responsive and sensitive heart to the Lord.

She’s been very open and honest about what a difference it has made in her marriage and the impact in her marriage when she was not living out God’s ways for women. She wrote up her story for me some years ago. I pulled it out in the midst of this series, and I said, “Kim, could I have freedom to share this?”

So with Kim and her husband’s permission, I want to share this story because I think it illustrates so much of what we’ve been talking about. She says,

The dictionary that sits on my desk has as its second definition for shrew "a woman with a violent, scolding or nagging temperament; a scold."

I don’t know of any woman that would describe herself as a shrew. I certainly would not want to be introduced as, "This is my wife Kim. She’s a shrewish woman." But underneath my smiles and appropriate behavior lurked the shrew.

The only thing that was keeping me from leaving my husband was my commitment to Christ. We had been married almost fifteen years, and much of that time had been filled with pain and hopelessness. "If only my husband would change" was the continual focus of my thoughts.

When LeRoy and I first met in college, he was a very likeable and outgoing young man. He had the type of charismatic personality that drew people to himself, and he had the uncanny ability to communicate easily with any type of person. Total strangers felt comfortable enough to open up their deepest struggles after spending only a few moments with him.

As a pastor, LeRoy would not only listen sympathetically but would also give wise, thoughtful counsel. Those who spent time with him often left feeling encouraged.

But over the years my husband had changed. He no longer smiled much. I no longer heard him laugh. It took great effort for him to have a conversation with anyone, to be around people, or even to get out of bed in the morning. He seemed to have resentment toward me. It didn’t manifest itself in angry outbursts. Rather, it was a deep, underlying coldness that resulted in a quiet, detached, dark depression. He acted like a totally defeated man, and I couldn’t understand what his problem was.

I needed to get away, to think, to run and hide for a while. So I told LeRoy that I was going to a cabin to work on writing a Bible study for the women of our church. Ironically, the study was from 1 Peter. Although I taught a weekly Bible study for women, discipled women, and never missed my daily quiet time, my heart was hard, and I think I actually hated my husband.

Our conversations were brittle and brief. I no longer respected my husband. In fact, I didn’t even like him.

I knew that my feelings for him was wrong, and I struggled with my attitude, but I justified my resentment every time I saw his dark countenance. I kept praying for his depression to lift, thinking, If he would just get right with God, we could have a happy marriage. 

I never set out to be a shrew. I loved God. I loved my husband. I just wanted him to be the kind of man I thought that he should be. I instructed women that we are to submit to our husband’s headship and that we were created as the husband’s helpmate. And boy, was I determined to help my husband.

As a young wife, I didn’t realize that every time I questioned his decisions, from how he parked the car, to who he chose to fill Sunday school positions, I was whittling away at his masculinity.

What Kim says there, I think, is probably true to greater or lesser extent in most marriages. That doesn't mean that all marriages are falling apart, but I think if you could ask husbands and they would be honest, they would say there are things their wives have done that chip away their manhood. Women, this is something, that to whatever extent we as women have done this to men, we need to repent and seek God's forgiveness for chipping away those created in the image of God—not just husbands, but men in general. She says,

I was eroding his confidence to lead. I was tearing out his heart as a man. But worse than all of this, I was treading dangerously close of the fearful warning of Titus 2:4–5: “that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands . . . being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored” (NASB).

The word "dishonored" is translated "blasphemed" in the King James. What a fearful indictment: to blaspheme the Word of God. And yet that is what I was doing.

I taught and gave lip-service to the truth of Scripture that my husband was to be honored as a spiritual head and leader of our home. But in practice, I was determined to be the neck that turned him whatever way I wanted things to go.

My motives were good; I was always focused on improvement and spiritual growth. But I was the one in the position of leader, not my husband.

I am so thankful that in His mercy God rescued me from myself.

As I settled into the comfortable solitude of that cabin and opened my Bible, I noticed a little booklet that had been tucked away in the back flyleaf. The booklet was entitled A Biblical Portrait of Womanhood by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Curiously, I opened the booklet, and immediately the Holy Spirit began using the Scripture quotations and diagnostic questions to examine my heart. He opened my eyes to my willful spirit and prideful attitudes.

He allowed me to see how I was treating my husband disrespectfully by my tone of voice, my critical communication, and even my facial expressions.
I argued with God throughout the first hours of this painful process. I threw up all the years of pain from lack of communication, the coldness, the distance, and days of dark depression: “Wasn't my husband supposed to be the spiritual leader? If our marriage is suffering, then it’s his fault. As the spiritual leader, he is the one responsible.”

Titus 2:4–5: "That they may encourage the young women to love their husbands . . . being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored." The Father kept faithfully bringing me back to this. I had to admit that I was blaspheming the Word of God by how I was conducting myself as a wife.

God had to break me. The depths of my sinful heart had to be dredged before I would face the fact that my husband was not the problem. I was the problem.

I had to surrender control of my husband, my marriage, and my desires completely to the Father. I was not responsible to fix my husband, but I was responsible for my own heart.

When I returned home, I asked for a family conference. I sat down with my husband and our children and confessed that I had lived in disobedience to the Word of God by not honoring their father and walking in submission to his leadership.

I asked their forgiveness and made a commitment to them and to God that I would submit to the authority of His Word in honoring my husband. That was the turning point in my life.

Things did not suddenly become easier. It has been a long battle with my sinful flesh. But as I have grown in the Lord and in deeper levels of submission, He has begun to replace a harsh spirit with tenderness, a prideful heart with one of contrition and brokenness, a know-it-all attitude with a teachable one.

My husband eventually felt safe enough to open up and confide in me that for years he had been intimidated by me and even fearful of me. His depression was largely a result of a crisis of faith brought on by the inability to reconcile the question of God’s power to transform.

You see, my husband watched me faithfully begin every day on my knees in prayer and in diligent study of the Word. And yet I was a terror to live with.

Now, before you think it’s just Kim, it’s not just Kim. How many times and in how many homes could that be said? How many children are thinking, how many husbands are thinking, Yeah. Everybody else thinks she’s so spiritual. But they don’t live with her.

Now, I know that can go both ways. But we don’t preach to husbands on Revive Our Hearts, okay? We just ask God to search our hearts as women. She said,

My husband struggled with the question of how God’s Word could be so ineffective in transforming my character. He struggled with the fact that God did not seem to hear his prayers for a miracle to take place in our marriage.

He had begun to struggle with whether God even heard or cared at all. The most destructive force opposing the power of the gospel is the witness of an untransformed life.

I was a believer. I had deep love for the Lord and a desire to glorify Him with my life, but I was an unkind and rebellious wife. My behavior caused my husband to struggle with his faith in the power of the gospel to transform a life. This is what it means to blaspheme the Word of God, and that is what I was doing.

Now, God has transformed Kim’s life, and God as a result has done so much in her life, in LeRoy’s, and in their marriage, and He is using them in some beautiful and powerful ways today to touch other lives. She says,

My greatest joy has been to see God answer so many of my prayers for my husband in our marriage, in His timing, and without my help. My husband is no longer cold and distant. He smiles, and we laugh a lot together.

I am so thankful when he shares with me the difference that he sees in me. But more than anything I am grateful that he can see the power of the gospel at work in my life as God mercifully continues to sanctify me.

A nineteenth-century German philosopher said, “Show me your redeemed life, and I might be inclined to believe in your Redeemer.”

“Show me your redeemed life, and I might be inclined to believe in your Redeemer.”

Show me your redeemed life, women, wives, moms—and your kids, your husband, your neighbors, your friends, people in your church, and people in your workplace might be inclined to believe in your Redeemer.

Now, it’s not just enough to hear that story and say, “Oh, that’s really neat what God did in Kim’s heart and Kim’s life.” Because I know that I’m speaking to women who are in a very similar situation to what Kim was fifteen years into her marriage. And I know I’m looking into the eyes and speaking into the hearts and ears of women who need to repent as Kim did in that cabin all those years ago.

You don’t need to go away to a cabin. If God’s speaking to your heart right now, you can bow the knee, bow the will and say, “Yes, Lord. I have been an unkind and rebellious wife.”

Maybe you’re not a screamer. Maybe nobody looking from the outside in would say, “Oh, she’s a shrew.” And maybe you don’t really act it out in your home. It may be in subtle ways, underlying ways, but you’re whittling away at your husband’s manhood, showing disrespect, taking the reins and challenging his leadership in the many different ways we can do it with our different personalities.

I don’t know what God has spoken to you about, but we’ve asked God to speak today, and I believe He has.

  • Whatever God is saying to you, just agree with Him. Repent. Say, “Yes, Lord.”
  • Where necessary, go back to your husband, to your children, and perhaps to others who’ve been exposed to your not living out the gospel as a true woman, a Titus 2 woman, and say, “I’ve dishonored the Word of God and His truth.”
  • Be specific as to what God has convicted you of.
  • Then say, “Would you forgive me?”
  • Ask God for the power of His Holy Spirit to begin to do some remodeling in your life. Don’t try to remodel in your own life because that will be just works and self-righteousness.

Ask the Holy Spirit to begin to transform you by His Word from the inside out and to make you the kind of woman who really does give reverence, love, and submission to God and to her husband. Then watch the Word of God begin to be honored, respected, and revered by people who see the changed life.

Show me your redeemed life, and I might be inclined to believe.

Leslie: Are you displaying a changed life today? Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth delivered this important reminder as part of the series "God’s Beautiful Design for Women." 

As an Internet listener or reader, you’re getting the complete teaching from Nancy. Radio listeners got a shortened version. If you appreciate the teaching you get online each day, would you help support the program financially? We’re able to pay the bills thanks to listeners who believe in what they’re hearing and want to stand alongside us.

When you give any amount, you’ll get a thank you gift. It’s the hard cover edition of Nancy’s new book, Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together. Go to the website, ReviveOurHearts.com to give and to get the book. That’s ReviveOurHearts.com, or call 1–800–569–5959, make your donation and ask for Adorned. 

How are you going to spend your retirement years? Whether they’re far off or very near, it’s an interesting question that will reveal some of the priorities of your heart. Nancy will help you think it through tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

 All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

 

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

Join the Discussion