Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Reverent in Behavior

Leslie Basham: What does it mean to be reverent? Nancy Leigh DeMoss helps you answer that by asking some other questions.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: How would you act if Jesus were in the room? Would you lose your temper? Would you scream at your husband or your child or your roommate? Would you criticize your boss or slander your neighbor? Would you watch that movie or surf that Internet site? Being reverent involves being profoundly aware that God is always in the room.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Tuesday, April 14, 2015.

In Titus, women are told to be reverent. Does that mean they always have to speak in hushed tones and never have fun? Mary Kassian and Nancy Leigh DeMoss will answer that question today. It comes up as part of a discussion of Titus chapter 2. Nancy and Mary use Titus 2 as the basis for their brand-new workbook, True Woman 201: Interior Design. This is a passage, and this is a study that has huge practical advice for our day.

Here's Nancy and Mary talking about chapter 2 of True Woman 201.

Nancy: Well, Mary, today we come to what I think is one of the most foundational elements of biblical womanhood, and the more we've talked about this, the more we've just said it all comes back to this.

But let's just back up again and say what the context is here.

We're in the book of Titus, and Paul the apostle is writing to Titus, who's a pastor of a church on the Island of Crete with many similarities to the culture in which we live today. And in the first chapter, he says, "If the church is going to make a difference in the world, if the church is going to survive the onslaught of paganism and secularism, immorality and false teaching, and if the church is going to be a light in the dark work, then first they have to have leaders who are biblically qualified. They're sound in doctrine. They know how to model good behavior and right doctrine, holy living, and they know how to teach it, and they know how to correct it when it gets wrong.

Mary Kassian: And then in the second chapter, he picks it up from there and makes it a little more personal to everyone and addresses various groups, telling the various groups in terms of their behavior what all believers should act like and what Christianity should look like to a pagan world because there's a lot at stake. Because of the way that we live, the way that we display Christ at work in us is going to be a testimony that will either be attractive to a broken, hurting world, or it will repel them.

Nancy: Right. So let's just go back and read the context of this first paragraph in Titus chapter 2. And I hope those who are following this study with us will be reading this passage in the context of the book of Titus over and over and over again (that's what we did as we were digging into this study) so you see the context to what Paul was saying to women here.

But he starts by saying to Titus, "But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine."

And that's where we talked about discernment.

Mary: Yes, discernment.

Nancy: Right thinking, and that believers are to use the Word of God as a plumb line and to be discerning about whether they're thinking about everything in life is in accordance with the Word of God.

Mary: And then he challenges the various groups: the men, the women, older men, younger men, older women, younger women to make sure that discernment is being worked out in the way that they live their lives as men and as women and as younger and older.

Nancy: So what does sound doctrine look like?

Mary: Exactly. On us, as women at this stage and age of life.

Nancy: I would say we would qualify as older. Not old, but it says older here. I like that.

Mary: Older.

Nancy: Older than we used to be.

Mary: Everyone is older than someone.

Nancy: Right. So he starts in verse 2 with older men. He says they are "to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness."

And then in a part later in the chapter, we won't go there today, but he speaks to younger men, what they are supposed to look like.

Mary: Right. And,

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, that the word of God may not be reviled (vv. 3–5).

So that's what older women are supposed to look like and what they're supposed to spend their lives doing.

Nancy: And, this is what younger women are supposed to be aspiring to, and yet it doesn't just happen when you get older.

Mary: So the passages really that address older women also apply to younger women. It's just that sometimes it takes a little while to get there.

Nancy: Right, because you don't just get there when you get there. You've got to start now.

Mary: Exactly. You've got to start now.

Nancy: And that's a word I wish we could just say to younger women who are doing this study. I'm so thrilled they are. And to younger women who are listening to this series, I'd like to say, "Start now!" This is the kind of woman you want to become because the world has a picture of womanhood that it gives to us. This is, when you're old, what you're supposed to look like and act like and be like. And we say, "Put those pictures away. Pick up this picture and find out the portrait that God has for your life and what are the elements that will make that interior design of your life a beautiful one."

Mary: It's like a whole curriculum for women and maps it out, I think, so well for women who are younger and older and different emphases that are very important at different ages and stages of life.

Nancy: So we've talked about the foundation of discernment and having right thinking.

Mary: Yes.

Nancy: But now we come to "women are to be reverent in behavior"— the element of reverence or honor. And, again, I think this is one that a lot of people may think, Oh, could we get to something practical?

Mary: Yes.

Nancy: Well, as we've talked about this, we realize there couldn't be anything more practical or foundational than our attitude toward God. In fact, some of the different translations, I think, help us in what this means to be reverent in behavior.

The Amplified Paraphrase says, "To be reverent and devout in their deportment."

Mary: That's an old-fashioned word, isn't it? Deportment.

Nancy: Deportment, behavior, the way you conduct yourself, "as becomes those engaged in sacred service."

Mary: Another translations says, "To exhibit behavior fitting for those who are holy" (New English Translation).

Nancy: Or, "to be in demeanor such as befits those who are engaged in sacred things."

So what's the picture here?

Mary: It seems like the different translations have different ways of translating because there's a word there that's unique and only found here in the New Testament in the Greek, and the root meaning of the word is "priestlike" or "that which is appropriate to holiness." So to act in an appropriate manner for a holy person. So a holy person ought to have appropriate behavior or even temple-appropriate behavior is one way to translate it.

Nancy: Or what's becoming . . .

Mary: What is becoming of someone who is a holy person.

Nancy: And that brings up the reminder that, according to God's Word, if we are believers in Christ, we are saints, which means holy ones.

Mary: Yes. That's right.

Nancy: So he's saying here, "Women are to live like what they really are—Christian women who are saints." So they're supposed to live like saints.

Mary: Yes.

Nancy: Well, that's another kind of old-fashioned feeling word. People say, "Well, yes, you do that in church," but he's saying everywhere you are, whatever you're doing, you're supposed to live in a way that is fitting of those who are holy ones.

Mary: Appropriate or temple-appropriate behavior, and we are the temple of God that God's Holy Spirit dwells in us. Christ is with us all the time. It's not that we walk out of the church building, and then all of a sudden we're in an environment, the world, and we've left Christ behind. No. Christ is in us, with us all the time. So our behavior should be appropriate and should be acknowledging the fact that Christ is with us all the time.

Nancy: And what is appropriate brings us to that word "reverence" which, again, is a word you don't use much in everyday language. We should probably use it more. I looked it up in the dictionary, and it says, "An attitude of deep respect tinged with awe." Respect and awe.

Mary, I know your family has a tradition every Christmas of going to see Handel's Messiah, which actually gives a great illustration of the concept of reverence.

Mary: Every year when we go, we take someone else with us along. This last year we took my daughter-in-law and son, and I leaned over and warned her, because during the performance the whole audience stands during a particular song, and that song is the "Hallelujah Chorus."

Nancy: Any time that's performed, the whole congregation, the whole audience stands. Why is that?

Mary: Well, the interesting thing is it's not at the end of the performance. It's kind of in the middle. It's about three-quarters of the way through. And the whole audience stands up. Apparently, it stems back to the time of the monarchy in England. When this song was written by Handel, King George II actually stood during the first performance when that song came on, talking about "King of kings, and Lord of lords," he stood up.

Now, the tradition was that whenever a monarch stood, the people had to stand, the commoners needed to stand to acknowledge the presence of that monarch.

Nancy: Out of reverence and respect.

Mary: Out of reverence and respect. Now, obviously, King George was standing out of reverence for the greater Monarch, the King of kings. He is King of kings. And so King George stood to acknowledge that, and then all of the commoners, everyone who was listening to the performance stood as well. And that is a tradition that has continued on to this day.

Nancy: And what a great picture of: We live in the presence of the King of kings and the Lord of lords. This doesn't mean that we should always be standing formally at attention, but it means, in our hearts there ought to be this attitude of deep respect, tinged with awe.

I mean, if you think about it, if we really believed that God was here, which He is, of course, but if we were conscious of that . . . And isn't that what the fear of the Lord is about? It's that constant conscious awareness that God is here.

Mary: Yes. If I was aware that God was here, and Christ was with me when I'm in the kitchen, and if my husband says something and I'm a little bit snarky about it, would I retort in the same way? Would I respond in the same way? Would I snap his head off in the same way if Jesus were in the room?

Nancy: Well, you just think . . . When you get in the presence of some person, a celebrity or political official or something, even if you don't like the person's politics or what they represent, there's a sense of watching how you act, watching how you talk, a sense of respect in the presence of greatness.

Mary: Yes.

Nancy: And we're always in the presence of greatness—not just when we're in church, but when we are at home, when we're not on the platform. It's easy for us sitting here under lights and on a set to be acting respectful and reverential, but the real test is: Do I act respectful and reverential of the Lord when I'm off the set.

Mary: In real life when someone cuts you off in traffic.

Nancy: Yes.

Mary: When you have to wait so long in line at the bank.

Nancy: Oh, no, no, no. Now you're getting too personal.

So it affects everything we do and everywhere we are.

Mary: It really does.

Nancy: It makes Christianity not just a category of our lives, which I think it is for so many people, but Christ is our life, and that reverence in our behavior is what's being reflected here.

Mary: Yes. Which is why it is the first step on this list, that older women are to be reverent. As we've discussed this, as we've been preparing for this show, we've seen that everything taps into that. It is all of life. Christ is all of life, and how we do life ought to be in the presence of the Lord.

Nancy: And yet reference for the Lord and respect for things of the Lord is not something you see a lot in our culture, even within the Church. Don't you feel like there's a little bit more of a casual and even disrespectful manner that so many women, and ourselves at times, I know, demonstrate? It's not "in" today for women to be respectful and reverent.

If you turn on the TV, or you watch a lot of movies, how are women portrayed more often?

Mary: Well, certainly not reverent or respectful. It's crass or to be loud or clamorous. Really, the kind of woman that we see back in Proverbs chapter 7, the "me first, look at me, it's all about me," instead of saying, "we are in the presence of someone greater, and it's all about Christ."

Nancy: So, can a woman be reverent and have fun?

Mary: Certainly. If you're having fun in a reverent way. I think that Christ demonstrated that so well when He was on earth. When I picture Him, I picture Him as such a joyful person, just enjoying the children, enjoying walks with His disciples, enjoying walks outside. I just think of the joy of breaking those loaves and fishes and enjoying the look of surprise on everyone's face when it just got to be more and more. Christ was just a joyful person, and yet He is the person who epitomizes what reverence is all about.

Nancy: So, in His presence, Psalms tells us, is fullness of joy. And true reverence, if we have this as women, if we're reverent in behavior, that's going to make us more winsome, more enjoyable. In fact, you were talking about Jesus being kind of fun to be around. I think the only people that would not have been true for were the religious Pharisees.

Mary: Yes!

Nancy: The ones who acted reverent but didn't have reverent hearts. They were more centered on themselves than on God and more concerned about the show that they made, the impression that they made. And Jesus, I don't think He was real fun around them.

Mary: Well, they weren't that much fun either.

Nancy: They were no fun.

Mary: They were no fun at all.

Nancy: But people would have said . . . If you said, "Who were the reverent people?"

Mary: Who are the holy people? It's the ones that were putting on a show, but Scripture teaches us otherwise.

Nancy: So true reverence is living out this honor and this respect in the presence of God and acknowledging His authority over us.

Mary: Yes. It's interesting to me that reverence shows up in the list for women. Why? Why is it important, why does Paul highlight it? Reverence is important for everyone, but there's a specific emphasis on it here for women.

Nancy: And I wonder if it's because, as women we're more prone to be verbal really quickly. Sometimes we don't have a filter; we don't have self-control over what we say or how we display our emotions. Sometimes we're just more comfortable being out there and may not be careful and cautious to be appropriately reserved when it's appropriate to be reserved.

Mary: Yes.

Nancy: I don't know, these instructions address bents, sin-specific tendencies that we have as women. And when he says for older women, it makes me wonder, as I'm getting older, is there a tendency maybe to let down your guard as you get older and to feel . . .

Mary: We're a little bit more entitled?

Nancy: A little bit more entitled? Yes.

Mary: It's about me instead of understanding that all of life is about Christ. And we tend to see that in older women where older women will go one way or the other. They'll become more reverent, or they'll become more irreverent.

Nancy: We've seen both.

Mary: Yes.

Nancy: I look at both kinds of women, and I say, "Okay, this is the kind of woman I don't want to become." But the kind of woman I do what to be is a woman who just always has a sense of living in the presence of the Lord.

Mary: Yes.

Nancy: And that means that our reverence flows out of our view of God. However we see God:

  • If we humanize God, we make Him after our image, then we're just going to be casual and not careful about how we talk and act and think in His presence.
  • But if we have this elevated view of God being great, which is why again we go back to keeping our heads and our hearts in this Book, in God's Word, that elevated view of God will produce a lifestyle of reverent behavior.

Mary: Yes. I agree. And I think that so often we focus on Jesus being our friend, Christ being our friend, the Lord being a friend of sinners . . .

Nancy: Which He is.

Mary: Which He is. He is the best friend a person could have. But we focus on that to the exclusion of thinking: He is God. This is God we're talking about. This is not just a buddy-buddy down the street who struggles with sin the same way I do. This is the Lord who created the universe, put the stars in place, directs the seasons.

Nancy: And who is holy, holy, holy.

Mary: Yes, He is holy, holy, holy. And that ought to make our knees shake a little bit.

Nancy: And then that has an effect on the way we deal with other people, because if the vertical's right with God, that relationship, then the horizontal's going to be impacted. So if we have reverence for God, then we're going to have appropriate respect for those around us.

Mary: If you look back at the passage, it says, "Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior," and then it gives two examples of irreverent behavior, behavior that is not in line with being reverent. So "be reverent in behavior, not slanders or slaves to much wine."

Nancy: So what does that have to do with reverence?

Mary: Well, slandering is putting someone down, subtly. If you're talking about them in a way that makes them seem lesser.

And I think being a slave to much wine is talking about the whole situation of self-indulgence, that I am the most important person.

So if I see myself as the most important person, and I don't revere Christ, then that shows up in my behavior and I feel like I can put other people down, or that I can self-indulge and do whatever I want.

Nancy: I like something that you said in a part of this book that you wrote. You said, "Irreverence is failing to honor something of great worth. It's making little of something that we should make much of."

So if we don't have reverence for God, then we're not going to have appropriate respect for people who were made in the image of God, and we're going to belittle them, demean them, put them down, not consider them of great worth. And that's irreverent behavior as it affects us and, many times, in our closest relationships.

Mary: Yes.

Nancy: Don't you find that it's easiest to speak carelessly or in a demeaning or belittling way of the people that we should have the most respect for.

Mary: Well, so reverence or irreverence shows up in our speech. And I think reverence shows up in our speech also whether we're respectful. If we revere God, and we respect the Lord, that's going to show up in the way that we speak to other people.

Nancy: There are two verses that come to mind on that when I think of that.

James 3 says, "The tongue is a restless evil full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with the same tongue, we curse people who are made in the likeness of God" (vv. 8–9).

So we say, "Yes, I respect God," but then I treat you like dirt, disrespectfully. Well, I'm not probably going to do that to you, and certainly not sitting on this set doing this program, but in my own home, or with the people I work most closely with . . ."

Mary: Yes, or in your thoughts or in your attitudes.

Nancy: And the way we treat others really reflects how we view God in spite of what we might say.

Mary: Well, James says, "Out of the same mouth flows cursing and blessing. This ought not to be" (v. 10).

You shouldn't bless God and curse your fellow man. You shouldn't say good things about God, and, "Oh, I'm a believer, and I love Him, and I follow Him," and then turn around and say something mean and nasty to someone who has irked you.

Nancy: Yes. There's a similar concept in Proverbs 17 that says, "Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker" (v. 5).

So the way that I speak to the person that I consider lowly, not of great worth (I wouldn't maybe consciously think that) but if I speak to someone as if they were not worth a lot, what I am really doing is showing irreverence and disrespect towards God. Puts it all into perspective, doesn't it?

Mary: Yes. It really puts it into perspective. And I think our speech is one of those areas where we can really do a reality check to see whether or not we have reverence in our lives.

Nancy: And could I just slip in here, it's not just our audible speech, but it's the way we speak on social media. We've talked about this recently how both of us have been impacted by people making comments on our blogs, on Twitter, on Facebook, that, it's like there's no filter on their mouths. Whatever they think, they just . . .

Mary: It's something that they would never say in person.

Nancy: Well, you would hope they wouldn't.

Mary: You would hope they wouldn't, but saying things on, yes, Twitter, or even texting—just these quick responses that can be so hurtful and so unthought through, and so irreverent, that lack of respect, not only for the person being talked about but, ultimately, for the Lord.

Nancy: So we don't get a pass if we don't say it out loud but we put it on a text or a comment on a blog. That's where reverence and respect will help us to be careful about what we think first, and then what we say, what we communicate, and treating others as made in the image of God.

Paul says in Philippians, "Let each of you esteem others better than yourself" (2:3 KJV).

So that reverence flows out of a heart of humility.

Mary: Yes. It really does.

Nancy: God is great, and as others and you are created in the likeness of God, I need to treat you in a way that is worthy of an image-bearer of God.

Mary: Yes. And then the second one, over-indulging.

Nancy: "Not slaves to much wine."

Mary: Yes, "Not slaves to much wine." So what does that say? That's an interesting thing. Maybe these women were tipsy, coming to church having a little bit too much. But I think that the core thing that Paul is getting at here is in the terms of the over-indulgence—too much. It's too much.

Nancy: Which could be a lot of different things.

Mary: Which could be a lot of different things.

Nancy: It could be substance abuse, but it could be food abuse, too.

Mary: Too much shopping? Ooooh.

Nancy: You had to say that? Actually, I don't enjoy shopping, so you could say that.

Mary: Too much shopping or too much Facebook or too much TV or too much this or too much that. Over-indulging.

Nancy: Slaves.

Mary: Slaves.

Nancy: We think we're free because we can just spend our lives doing these things that make us feel satisfied, but Peter says a slave, a person is a slave to whatever controls him. So if this thing is controlling my time, if it's something I can't do without. . .

Mary: If it's impacting my behavior, impacting my family, impacting how I go about my daily life and I'm not able to tear myself away from that thing in order to do what I ought to be doing, that is irreverence, according to Paul. You're being irreverent when you are not honoring God's presence in your life and are over-indulging in other things.

Nancy: So, as Christian women, our lives are supposed to look different than the world in every respect. What difference does it make if Christian women are reverent or irreverent?

Mary: Well, it shows where our heart is. It shows where our heart is. We know that irreverence is not very attractive, and when you see an older woman—or any woman for that matter, but particularly an older woman—who is just crabby and speaks in a way that is slanderous and unkind, you just go, "Whoa! Christ has not made a difference in her life."

Nancy: And then what that does is, it reflects poorly on Christ.

Mary: Yes, or "I don't want to be like her."

Nancy: Which then, "If that's what Christ is, if that's what a Christian is, then I don't really want to be that."

Mary: Exactly.

Nancy: And conversely, by reverent behavior, I think we can create a climate and an environment in our homes and in our churches and in our communities where people are drawn to have that same kind of reverence and awe for God, for the gospel, for Christ, for these truths we say we believe. I think we make them more believable when our lives communicate: "This is something that really matters to us and someone that we respect with all of our hearts."

Mary: Yes.

Leslie: Reverence. Maybe you've never thought of that word as very exciting, but Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Mary Kassian have been showing us how dynamic the concept of reverence really is.

Nancy will be right back to pray.

Nancy and Mary write about this topic of reverence in their brand-new workbook, True Woman 201: Interior Design. Now, this new workbook is a follow up to their earlier study, True Woman 101.

Just recently a listener wrote to tell us how God's been using the study in her life. She calls True Woman 101 a life saver. She heard about this workbook a while ago and started praying that God would lead her to women so they could all go through the study together.

She writes, "Out of the blue, two younger women asked me if I would mentor them. I said, 'Yes,' instantly." She offered to buy the True Woman 101 workbooks for these younger women, and now they're on week six.

These two younger women have not heard this kind of teaching on biblical womanhood in their church, so they're being challenged to embrace God's design on their lives.

Now, when this group finishes True Woman 101, what can they do next? To serve groups like this, Nancy and Mary wrote this follow up, True Woman 201: Interior Design.

We'd like to send you a copy of True Woman 201 when you support Revive Our Hearts with a financial gift of any size. We'll send it to you as our way of saying "thanks." Then you can evaluate it and be praying about taking a group of your own through the study. And, of course, you can get a lot out of it as an individual study as well.

Our number is 1–800–569–5959. You can also visit ReviveOurHearts.com. We'll send one copy per household with your donation this week.

To see today's conversation between Nancy and Mary on video, make sure to visit www.ReviveOurHearts.com. And, when you lead a group through True Woman 101, remember that you can watch those videos together and then talk about them.

Well, tomorrow Nancy and Mary will help wives understand why it's important not to just to tolerate husbands but to learn to like them.

And now, Nancy's back to pray that we'll develop the kind of reverent heart we've been hearing about.

Nancy: Oh Lord, this is something that is so foundational, and as we'll be talking about these other elements in the days ahead, we realize that if we don't have this foundation of reverence for God in our hearts, that we won't be able to have these other characteristics that we need to be women of God.

So, Lord, give us a fresh view of how great You are, how awesome You are, how beautiful, how wonderful, how precious is this saving, redeeming grace that You have poured into our lives, and make us women who reverence You, who have a sense of awe and wonder, and who live these temple-appropriate, holy lives wherever we are, whatever we're doing, whoever we're with, in every context—the way we think and talk and act and treat others—may it all flow out of the great reverence for You.

We pray it in Jesus' name, amen.

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

All Scripture is taken from the ESV unless otherwise noted.

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