Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has in recent programs taken us to Scripture to show why a wife and mom's highest priority is her home. That generated a question.

Nancy: I got an email yesterday from a woman who said, "I would like to hear about a woman who is a wife and whose children are grown and out of the home. What is her role in this season of her life? How is she to spend her days when the needs at home are less?" Well, I'm so glad she asked.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Adorned, for Thursday, July 12, 2018.

That woman’s question leads us to a point in the True Woman Manifesto. It’s an important document for our day that you can read at ReviveOurHearts.com. Thousands of women have added their name, including women in over eighty countries around the world. Nancy has been teaching point by point through this document. Today, she begins by reading one of the declarations from the Manifesto.

Nancy: It says,

We will live out the mandate of Titus 2—as older women, modeling godliness and training younger women to be pleasing to God in every respect; as younger women, receiving instruction with
meekness and humility and aspiring to become mature women of God who in turn will train the next generation.

Now that's a long sentence! But the bottom line is that as true women of God, we have a responsibility and a privilege to be involved in passing the baton of faith on to the next generation. In fact, the basic biblical model and mandate of discipleship applies to everyone, male or female.

Psalm 145, here's the model. “One generation shall commend your works to another and shall declare your mighty acts” (v. 4). It's one generation telling another, telling the next, and telling the next. God's plan is that each successive generation should pass on to the next an understanding of the works of God, including the greatest work of redemption through Christ.

So every believer, every child of God, every Christian is to first grow up in Christ. Become a mature believer yourself. You're not supposed to stay a baby Christian. There is nothing wrong with acting like a five-year-old when you're five. But if you're still acting like a five-year-old when you're twenty-five or fifty-five, there's something wrong with that picture.

There is nothing wrong with acting like a baby believer when you're a baby believer. But we're supposed to grow up in Christ. Then we're supposed to become fruitful ourselveshaving spiritual children, reproducing spiritually, pointing others to Christ, helping them become mature in Christ.

That's the thought behind what the apostle Paul says in 2 Timothy chapter 2, verse 2. “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” There should always be this spiritual reproduction going onspiritual mothering, spiritual parenting, having spiritual children.

Now in this matter of spiritual reproduction, we cannot say too much about the power of a life message, the importance of modeling. That's why we say in the Manifesto, as older women we are to model godliness and then train younger women.

Modeling and training, modeling and trainingyou need both. Jesus says in Luke chapter 6, verse 40, “Everyone when he has been fully trained will be like his teacher.” Notice, it doesn't say he will know what his teacher knows. It says he will become like his teacher. You become like the people you hang around with. We produce after our own kind. We have to live with what we produce. That's why it's so important that we model what we want those coming behind us to be. That we don't just tell them what's right, but that we demonstrate it to them.

The apostle Paul had this understanding. In Philippians Chapter 4, verse 9 he says, “What you have learned and received, and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” That's quite a statement to be able to make.

Could you say to the women around you, particularly the younger women who are watching your life, whatever you've seen me do, you do it, and God will bless your life. The way you've seen me pray, the way you've seen me love in a difficult marriage or love a difficult child, the way you've seen me use my time, the way you've seen me or heard me use my tongue, they way you've seen me respond to pressure, the way you've seen me respond to bad news or health challenges, you respond in that way and God will bless your life.

See ladies, we are training others by who we are and by the way we live. We can't teach them one thing and then live another thing, because you know what they're more likely to follow? The way we live.

In 1 Thessalonians 1, Paul says, “Our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction” (v. 5). You say, "Wow! I'd like to have that kind of ministry, where my ministry is with power and conviction and with the Holy Spirit." You know how it happened? Paul says, “You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.” You saw our lives and "you became imitators of us and of the Lord" (v. 6). Paul is saying when you imitated me, you imitated Christ.

And then verse 7, “So that you became and example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.” You see the spiritual generations there? Paul says, "I followed Christ, not perfectly but humbly and consistently, and you saw our example, you saw how we lived, you imitated our example, and then you became an example to others who imitated your example." That's how the Christian faith is propagated.

Now like childbirth, spiritual parenting requires labor and travail. It's not easy. Paul says in Galatians 4:19, “My little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.” Paul says, "This is labor. There's childbearing; there's pain involved here; there's travail until Christ be formed in you." It takes travail to be a spiritual mentor, to be a spiritual mother.

Colossians 1, Paul says, “We proclaim Christ, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy, that he powerfully works within me” (vv. 28–29). So it's toil and it's travail, but it's not your strength, it's not your energy, it's the power of Christ living and working in and through you.

Now in Titus 2—and this passage is referred to in this point in the True Woman Manifesto—the disciplining mandate is applied more specifically to us as women. Verse 3 says,

Older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. [That's the modeling, the life message, the example.] And 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 (vv. 3–5).

That gives us a mission statement, a vision for every Christian woman's life in every season of your life. Because you are always either an older woman or a younger woman, or both. So at every season of your life, this is your mandate to be modeling and mentoring younger women as an older woman. And as a younger woman, to be receiving that mentoring so that you can become that godly older woman who will turn around and mentor and disciple others. The process, the progression should never stop.

So older women, what is our duty? And I can say “our” because I'm in that category. You decide which category you're in. But let me say, every woman is an older woman to someone. So even you sixteen-year-olds, what is your responsibility toward younger women? To model and to train. That is our duty. Your life is not your own. God has taught you His ways. He's brought others into your life. He's made His Word real to you. You have an obligation and a stewardship to pass that on to others.

As we get older, we are not to sit back and retire and vegetate. Our calling is not to take it easy, to play cards, to be free from responsibility. Ladies, we have a mission; we have a calling; we have a responsibility. And it's not just for people like me who are teaching the Word in public settings. It's for every Christian woman. This is our primary responsibility. Teaching the next generation by our life and by our training. If we don't fulfill that calling, who in the world do you think will?

Why do you think it is that we have such a breach now that so many young adults who have grown up in Christian homes and Christian churches are leaving the faith, many of them never to return? Could it be that we have fallen short in our responsibility to disciple them?

It starts with your life. Your life is to create hunger and thirst. That's what makes the gospel believable, desirable. You can't pass on to others what you don't possess yourself. I've been teaching women for years, but the older I get I am becoming more and more conscious of the impact of my life, my example, my responses. Not when I’m on the platform, but when I’m off the platform. I think it's just my private life, but people are watching. I'm teaching more off the platform than I am on the platform, and you are as well.

Not only modeling, but teaching and training. You don't have to be a seminary graduate. It doesn't mean leading seminars, or formal classroom settings, or writing books. This training, this teaching, happens life to life in real-life context. It may take place in your kitchen. It may take place at a Starbucks. It may take place in the aisle of a church as a younger woman says to you, "I've really been dealing with wha-wha-wha-wha with my husband." And you say, "I can relate to that. I found myself there once, and here is how God has been walking me through that." Not that you are this great fount of knowledge, but that you can love and encourage and help spiritually mother these younger women.

Ladies, we have got to keep our heads in the game as we get older. We've been there, we've done that, we want to take it easy. This is not a time to be lazy. It's not a time to be selfish. We need to stay intentional. I'm so thankful that I’ve seen ladies in their sixties, seventies, eighties, and nineties staying intentional, focusing on the women around them. We need to remind ourselves this is our purpose for today—this is our purpose for the rest of our lives—to be investing in the lives of younger women.

We look around at these younger women, and honestly, so many of their lives are messed up. We can see women with their priorities out of whack—women of every age—making foolish choices. Sometimes my temptation is to think, Why don't they get with the program? It's to be critical, to point the finger. But we have to point the finger at ourselves as older women, and say, "If they aren't getting it, have we failed our responsibility to be investing in their lives, to be modeling and training?"

Younger women, what's your responsibility?

  • to receive instruction
  • to be teachable
  • to aspire to become a mature woman
  • to pick up the baton and pass it on
  • to have a responsive spirit, a humble spirit
  • to have a learner's heart

Younger women—can I say this, I’m getting to the age where I can lecture a little bit—you need the example and the training of older women. Don't have all your friends be your peers. Thank the Lord for godly peers, but you need older women in your life. I cannot thank the Lord enough for the impact of godly, older women at every season in my life, to this present day.

If you will let older women into your life, if you will invite them into your life, if you will be proactive about getting them in your life, it will save you much pain and hardship and harm and danger down the road.

I was talking with one of our younger women on our staff the other day. She said, "So many younger women today don't see this as a mandate." And sadly, our churches are broken, so many times, into age groups. So it's set up for young women just to hang around with other young people. Well, break out of that.

The world places a premium on youth, doesn't it? And it discards the wisdom and the input of older people. But God places a premium on the wisdom and the experience of those who are older, not because they have done it flawlessly. I think what scares a lot of older women is thinking how much they have blown it, thinking, I don't really have anything to offer.

Teach out of your failures, teach out of your regrets, what you wish you could go back and do over again. Don't come in and teach as the holy one who knows all, because you don't know it all. Older women, we need to come as learners, too. Because we have a lot we can learn from these younger believers as they influence our lives.

So whether we're older or younger, we are not just to drift aimlessly through life, letting life just happen to us. I think that's what most people do. Life just happens to them. We are to live purposeful, intentional lives, pressing forward, pursuing growth and godly goals. I have found as I get older, that's harder. I was avery goal-oriented as a younger person—birthdays, new years. My dad was this way. He'd have us on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day making goals for the year.

I remember when I was eighteen sitting next to my dad in a church service, and he leaned over and he whispered, "Honey, what are your fifty year goals?" (laughter) To that point, I'll confess I had not thought a lot about my fifty year goals! I was eighteen. But I did write out my fifty year goals at that point. Well, sixty-eight is a whole lot closer than it seemed back then. 

But now I'm thinking of goals and sometimes just the thought of making goals makes me tired. At times, I just want to coast . . . a little bit, for a little while.

I'm needing this encouragement to keep pressing into grace, keep pressing into growth. Don't stop growing. Don't stop giving. Don't stop serving.

Older women, this is a call to be counter-cultural, to swim upstream in the way we live our lives and in what we're teaching these younger women. Those Titus 2 qualities, if you look at them, they focus mostly on the domestic sphere. The enemy wants to lure us and those younger women out of that realm. He entices us to think that another realm might be more fulfilling or more vital, including ministry.

I find so many younger women who are sacrificing their marriages and their families on the alter of ministry, serving the Lord. There is something wrong with that picture. So to call these women, these younger women, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be obedient to their husbands, to be keepers at home. This is radically counter-cultural.

But there's a need for those basics. Training young women what it means to have a love for their homes and their families. That may seem natural to you after forty-seven years of marriage, but it's not natural to some of those younger women. Even some of these basic skills about how to keep a home.

Titus 2 is certainly much more than this, but I'm finding there are many younger women today who have not been parented. They have not had mothers who taught them how to cook, how to clean, basic skills, how to love, how to give, how to serve. So much of that just has not been there for them. So bring them under you wing. Take them under your wing and give them an example. Give them training.

When I started teaching the Word to women, these kinds of qualities in Titus 2 would not have been considered radical or strange. But today, they are the very opposite of the message that the world is pushing into the lives of younger women. What they are being told is, do what makes you happy. Look for someone to love you. Indulge your senses. Pursue a career outside your home. Let someone else raise your kids. You body is your own. Your husband has no right to lead your family. And on and on and on.

Who is going to train them in God's ways that are counter-cultural, but will put them in sync with the Creator of the universe and will help them fulfill their God-created purpose?

Now as we close this session, I want to just share an email that I received a few years ago that ties together this session about spiritual mothering and the last session where we talked about embracing children as a blessing, whether your own children or others. I pulled out this email—I thought of it this morning as I was coming to the studio. I hadn't read it for a while, but it was just such a blessing to read this again and to see the fruit and the reward of passing on the legacy of faith and investing your life in the next generation. The subject line of this email said, “Happy Mother's Day!

Dear Miss DeMoss,

I wanted to drop you a note to tell you how much your ministry has meant to me over the years. Your commitment and love for the Lord have been a shining testimony. From when I was a young age, you have been an inspiration and encouragement in my life.

This woman now is a young, single mom, probably in her thirties. She says,

I remember years ago when you took all of us girls out for a fun night including pizza, a play, and a slumber party. The next morning, you spoke to us on our level, encouraging us to cultivate a spirit of gratefulness. You had us put it into practice by writing letters to our family members expressing our gratefulness.

By the way, I don't remember that little example, or I had to be prompted, but she remembers. She said,

I've recently listened to your radio broadcast on discontentment, which is something I struggle with at times. I recall when I was a girl that you used to wear a blue sapphire ring on your left ring finger. When I inquired about it, you explained it was a reminder that you are the bride of Christ. You said a relationship with Him was the most important one that anyone could ever have, and that He was your other half.

I know I have thought of this recently as I am single, and sometimes I wish for someone with skin on to be there as my companion and helper. So when I start to get down, I remind myself as you told me years ago, that Christ can be my other half, and I take great comfort in that.

I know you may not realize how a simple conversation could touch a young girl and continue to influence her throughout her life. I chose to write to you today because although you may not have biological children here on earth, your spiritual motherhood and its impact has been among the greatest blessings of my life. Thank you for being a shining example of Christ-likeness. Happy Mother's Day.

One of your many "spiritual children,"
Mary

Let me just read to you a little bit of what I wrote back to her, because it really summarizes my heart about what we've been talking about.

Dear Mary,

It's a great joy to see how the Lord has worked in your life over the years and to sense your heart to follow Him. The neat thing for me to think about is how the Lord may want to use you to touch the lives of younger women. I was probably pretty close to the age that you are now when some of the things you described below took place.

I had no idea then how some of those little things would impact the lives of you girls. I just wanted to love and encourage you. God in his grace caused those seeds to take root and to produce fruit for His glory. I'm so thrilled to see how many of those kids are walking with the Lord today and serving Him in different ways.

Now God has given you a precious little girl to disciple, and undoubtedly has put others in your sphere influence. I pray that your life will be a fragrance of Christ to them, and that one day you will have the joy of receiving a note that will bless you as much as your note has blessed me this week.

Love,
Nancy

That's what it's about. It's about the love of Christ flowing though us into the lives of those around us, fulfilling that Titus 2 mandate as older women to be modeling godliness, investing in the lives of younger women. And younger women, receiving instruction with meekness and humility, aspiring to become the true women of God who will in turn train the next generation.

Leslie: What does a mentor look like in real life? Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been painting a picture for us. Tomorrow, we'll see more practical portraits of women in mentoring relationships.

If you value hearing Nancy's teaching day by day, if it's valuable to you, would you be a part of keeping the ministry available? Listeners make this program possible. When you donate to Revive Our Hearts, you're helping make sure a new program is available every week day.

We'll say "thanks" for your donation by sending you a booklet by Bill and Holly Elliff. It’s called, Turning the Tide: Having More Children Who Follow Christ. In this booklet, you'll discover the far-reaching effect of raising children to be warriors for God’s Kingdom. When you donate any amount to Revive Our Hearts, ask for Turning the Tide. The number is 1–800–569–5959, or donate at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Tomorrow, one woman says thank you to a mentor—the woman who would show up at her screen door and encourage her.

Woman: I don't know if you know, but God would just send you at the right time. When I would just give up, here was that "Honey" at the screen door, and I was like, "Why did I leave my screen door open?"

Leslie: Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help you live for God's Kingdom for such a time as this. It is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV unless otherwise noted.

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