Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Where Do You Get Your Counsel?

Leslie Basham: Here's author Mary Kassian. 

Mary Kassian: I see so many women that get themselves into trouble and can't figure out where they went wrong, and I think that you start going wrong by what you listen to. 

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, August 19. 

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Our guest this week is my friend, Mary Kassian, and we're talking about her latest book, Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild. Mary, thank you so much for joining us again on Revive Our Hearts.

Mary: Good to be back with you.

Nancy: And thank you for writing this book. As I've been reading it, I realize it took a lot of thought, heart, effort, time. You've poured yourself into this, and I believe you've given to women like myself and like our listeners a great resource to help us become wise women in a world that really has gone wild.

Mary: Thanks, Nancy. It really was a lot of fun writing it, and it was a lot of fun—it provoked a lot of good discussion in my household.

Nancy: I bet it did with three, young, adult sons.

Mary: With three, young, adult sons, we had a lot of discussions about what constitutes a wise woman. Actually the passage in Proverbs chapter 7 on which the book is based and the one we started to discuss in our last program, it was really written for a young man to give him instruction on how to be wise in choosing a wise woman and not a wild woman as a partner. When the sage is telling his son to look for a woman, he tells his son, “You know what? Have a look at how this woman behaves.

“Have a look at her feet. Have a look at the way she's walking, at the daily decisions she's making. Have a look at her steps.” In Scripture steps and walk and feet metaphorically describe how we live our lives in relationship to God. So the sage was really concerned that his son take a look at a woman's behavior to get a feel for where her heart is, if her heart really has latched on to the things of the Lord, whether God is central in her life, and whether she keeps the Lord at the center of her affections.

Nancy: You had a conversation with one of your sons about this very matter as he was starting to date a young woman, and you got right to the heart of the matter in how you discussed this with him.

Mary: I asked him—I did not know this young woman. He was telling me about her, and I asked him whether she loved Jesus, whether Jesus was at the center of her heart. He kind of started stammering and went, “Um, well, haven't really gotten to that yet.” I told him, “If you don't know that and you've been interacting with this woman for several months, then chances are that Jesus is not at the center of her heart and probably not at the center of your relationship.”

My son needed to make some adjustments in his heart as well to have Christ at the center. Unless we have Christ at the center, we're not going to get our relationships right. We're not going to get our behavior with men right. We're not going to do life the right way or make wise, godly decisions if Christ is not at the center.

Nancy: So when we think about the Proverbs 7 woman, the woman we looked at in the last program, and she's seductive; she brings this simple, young man down. She's a married woman. She ends up having this illicit relationship with a foolish young man, but we know also that she was a church woman.

She was religious. She had made sacrifices, so this is not just a woman out in the street. This is a woman who's sitting in church on Sunday morning. How might her choices and her behavior have been different if Christ really had been at the center of her life?

Mary: Well, I think her choices would have been different at every point. It's really interesting as we go through Proverbs chapter 7 that there are these contrasts, these 20 contrasts. At every point we are challenged in terms of her behavior, so I believe that her appearance would have been different. I believe her attitude would have been different. She wouldn't have been loud and wayward.

She would have had a more Christ-like attitude, and at every point of her behavior, she would have taken a look at her life and said, “Is what I'm doing pleasing to God?” Because if Christ is at the center, we want to please Him. We want to do what He wants. We hold His desires foremost in our hearts.

This woman didn't have Him at the center. She didn't have the Lord at the center. Of course, this is written in the Old Testament, so she didn't have an understanding of Jesus Christ. But certainly God had revealed Himself to her and to her people, and she didn't hold God at the center of her affections. Her behavior would have been markedly different if she would have.

Nancy: Don't you think that really describes where so many so-called Christian women are today—doing a lot of religious things going through a lot of religious motions, maybe homeschooling their children, in Bible study, doing a lot of good things, but their heart's not really being captured with the love of Christ above all?

Mary: That's right, and I love just the phrase that was used during the Great Awakening. When they used to describe their salvation experience, they had a phrase, and it was, “I've been seized by the power of a great affection.” In other words, the affection of God had seized their hearts and their own hearts had been seized with such an affection for Jesus that they were overwhelmed.

Their behavior changed, and we saw that during the Great Awakening. The brothels closed. The bars closed. It made a dramatic difference in their behavior, their affections. When their affections changed, their behavior changed.

So many women want to keep Christ in their side pocket. That's the way that a girl I was talking to a couple weeks ago described it. She said, “I want to keep Christ in my side pocket just in case I need Him. I want Him close but not too close.” But when she was seized with a great affection, she realized she needed to keep Christ at the center. She began to make a lot wiser decisions in her life because of that.

Nancy: That's why we call this ministry Revive Our Hearts, because we're not just trying to get women to act more Christian, to do more religious things, to be more moral. We want their hearts—I want my heart to be seized by the power of the love of Christ so that everything that flows out of my life—the way I walk, the way I talk, the way I dress, the way I relate to women and to men and to my family and to others—it's all the overflow of that love for Christ. Otherwise, we're just getting women who maybe behave better, but their heart's not really any different.

Mary: The Lord really does want to transform our hearts. He wants to grip us and teach us to live from knowing His Spirit speaking the right behavior into our hearts, telling us what to do. It's easy to come up with a list of do's and don'ts, but that just boils down to legalism.

The Lord doesn't want us just to follow a list of do's and don'ts; He wants our hearts. He knows that when He has our hearts, that our feet will follow. Our behavior will follow when He has captivated our hearts with a love for Jesus.

Nancy: I think as we talk about this matter of the heart and really loving Christ first and foremost, not just having Him in our side pocket or at the periphery of our lives, I think some of us would say, “I want to love Christ that way, but I really don't.” It's not something you can manufacture. How can that love be cultivated? Or maybe we should be asking, are there some things that can keep us from having that kind of love for Christ?

Mary: Well, I think there are many things that can keep us from having that kind of love for Christ when we put other things in Christ's place. But I think the way that we approach that problem—when our hearts aren't inclined toward the Lord—is first and foremost to talk to the Lord about that problem because He's the One that renews our hearts. He gives us a new heart.

So if I'm finding that my love is growing cold for the Lord, I go and I talk to the Lord about it and say, “Lord, my love is growing cold, and I need You to stir my heart.”

He told the church in Revelation also that when their love grew cold, what they needed to do was they needed to remember the things that they did at first and do those things. So to return to those basics of reading the Word, of fasting, of praying, of worshiping, and of really immersing ourselves in who God is. I think that that ignites the spark that's there and really enables us to again have that love renewed and to see Christ have first place in our hearts.

Nancy: One of the areas where I think many of us need to change is in relation to the sources of input that we're putting into our lives, and you have a whole chapter on this matter of the wild woman versus the wise woman—where we get our counsel, what we look to to feed us. I think one of the biggest reasons that—in my own life and in the lives of other women I know—that we short-circuit our love for Christ is because there is all manner of other kinds of worldly wisdom and counsel pumping itself wholesale into our minds and hearts that is stealing our love for Christ.

Mary: It really is, and that was the case for the woman that we see in Proverbs chapter 7. It tells us earlier in Proverbs chapter 5, verses 5 and 6, “Her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol.” Then this verse is very profound, “She does not ponder the path of life; her ways wander, and she does not know it.” So this woman is a woman who does not make the effort or take the time to ponder the path of life.

She doesn't take the time to think about the ways of the Lord, and that caused her feet to wander. She didn't even know she was wandering down the wrong path because she hadn't taken the time to ponder the path of life, and that's why her ways wandered.

Nancy: How contemporary is that thought? Because if we listen to the messages of the world, they are going to invariably mislead us and keep us from becoming wise women.

Mary: They will, and we get a staggering amount of counsel from the world. Statistics show that the average woman listens to or is exposed to 70 hours of mass media a week.

Nancy: That's seven zero.

Mary: Seven zero—seventy hours, seven zero, which is a staggering amount. So we're talking about television and radio, video games, Internet, iPod, women's magazines, newspapers, movies perhaps, but 70 hours, seven zero.

Nancy: Here's how that translates over a lifetime. I found this statistic staggering. You said that if your daily intake of TV, Internet, radio, and women's magazines is about average, by the time you are 65, you will have spent 40 solid years of all day, everyday time sitting under the tutelage of worldly wisdom. Now how can we think we can do that and not be influenced by the message that's coming through those media?

Mary: Well, and we are influenced. I know that a lot of women think that they are not influenced, and they deny that they are influenced. But I think it's like a dripping—drip, drip, drip of counsel into your mind. You may not realize that you are being influenced, but you are being influenced.

The problem is those messages—worldly media tells lies about:

  • womanhood
  • relationships
  • what will give us significance
  • how we should live
  • how we should conduct ourselves in our relationships
  • the right kind of behavior that we ought to aspire to

Listening to those things all the time really wears us down.

That was the mistake of Eve—our mother, the first girl gone wild, who listened to the wrong counsel. There's a progression. When you start listening to the wrong counsel, that leads you down the road to acting the wrong way.

Nancy: Ultimately, it's going to give us a higher level of tolerance for sinful images, for sinful ways of thinking and lead us to compromise.

Mary: It will, and you see that actually in television now. When you switch on the TV, the images that you see now are much more sinful and have gone down the path of sin far more than 10 years ago, 20 years ago. Things that we would have never dreamed of seeing on television back then, we tolerate now. I think it really does wear down our defenses and wear down our thoughts about what we consider to be right and wrong.

Nancy: It desensitizes us.

Mary: It really does.

Nancy: I find that we're—and maybe the media likes it that we do this—that we're rather mindless about how we take all this in.

Mary: The Christian women that I talk to say, “Well, I know the truth. It's not going to affect me.” But I believe that the progression is from listening to the wrong message. You listen to it, and it just kind of percolates in your mind.

You begin to contemplate it, and that's what our mother, Eve, did as well. She listened to the serpent when he told her lies about who God was, lies about her own right to choose, lies about her making the best decision for herself, that she had the right and she had the power and the wisdom to decide for herself what was the best way to live.

Nancy: A sense of entitlement.

Mary: A sense of entitlement, and she listened to that. She pondered it, and after she pondered at it, it began to change her belief system. Then she ended up acting on it. I see so many women that get themselves into trouble and can't figure out where they went wrong. I think that you start going wrong by what you listen to and by . . .

Nancy: . . . what you're exposed to.

Mary: By what you expose yourself to, by the messages. If you expose yourself to these movies that glamorize sin, that show infidelity as being glamorous, that show adultery as being glamorous, that show immorality as something that's very desirable, well then, you're going to start thinking that way. Instead of portraying it as ugly and sinful and how terrible it really is, it's glamorizing it, and women start to go down the wrong path when they expose themselves to these messages.

Nancy: I'll tell you, I think so many Christian women today have the world with its ways of thinking hooked up to them like an IV in their arm. It's so subtle, but it's so persistent. It's so continuous. It's repeated exposure to ideas and ways of thinking that are not consistent with Scripture, and before they know it, they have become wild, ungoverned women who don't know how to think biblically.

So when pressure comes into their marriage, when pressure comes into their life, when they are faced with choices, they have become women who think like what they've been putting in through that IV all those weeks, months, years.

Mary: That's right, and Scripture tells us that we ought not to walk in the counsel of the wicked. We ought not to stand in the way of sinners, nor ought we to sit in the seat of scoffers (paraphrase).

Nancy: That, by the way, is a wonderful passage to memorize and meditate on, Psalm 1.

Mary: It really is.

Nancy: Get that passage into your system.

Mary: Psalm 1:1 and 2. It says if you are wise, you are going to delight in the law of the Lord, and you're going to meditate on Him and on His ways day and night.

Nancy: If you want to be seized with the power of a great affection, then you're going to want to put your focus, your attention, on things that are pure and true and lovely and good and things that are biblical. That way of thinking will, like an IV, shape the way that you think and transform you, in time, into a wise woman.

Mary: It will transform you, and I cannot stress enough how intentional we need to be about this. Because you're right, it's like we've got these IVs into our veins, and worldly ideas get into our minds and worldly ways of thinking. So we have a really difficult time even discerning what truth is.

That was the problem of the Proverbs 7 woman is. She couldn't even discern where she was going wrong because she didn't take that time to ponder the path of life. So we need to be very, very intentional to turn off the messages of the world, to tune them out and to tune in to the ways of the Lord and to get into His Word and to listen to godly counsel, to have godly input into our lives.

Nancy: Okay, we want to make this really practical. I know that a lot of our listeners like our 30-day challenges, so we have a new 30-day challenge. It's a 30-Day Media Reduction Challenge that Mary has helped us come up with, and Mary, describe what that 30-day challenge looks like.

Mary: Well, the 30-day challenge encourages you to turn off, and to trim back, and to tune in. So turn off—so to turn off your electronics, to turn off your television and your movies, to unplug it from the wall so that you're not even tempted to go there, video games, those types of electronics. To trim back—to trim back on your text messaging, your Facebook social networking, to take those forms of communication that you perhaps can't cut off entirely, but just to trim them back and see if you can trim that back maybe to checking your email once a day or twice a day.

Nancy: Oh, is that possible!?

Mary: Is that even possible? Or to just let your friends know that you're not going to be texting them as often or returning their texts immediately—so to trim back on those types of communication. Then really to take time to tune in to the Lord. As women have done this, I have gotten just some emails . . . I just got an email last week from a woman who did this. She said, “I cannot believe the dramatic difference it has made in my life. These 30 days have transformed me.”

Nancy: I believe that will be true of anybody who will turn off, trim back, and tune in—just being intentional about what you're taking in, where you're getting your counsel. It's really just living out the heartbeat of Psalm 1 that you quoted a moment ago, Mary.

Blessed is the man [or the woman] who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night (Psalm 1:1-2).

I think there are many Christians today who think it sounds really boring to meditate on the law of God, the Word of God, day and night, but maybe the reason we think it's boring is because we haven't tasted. We've so been imbibing what the world has to offer and its entertainment, and we think that's filling. We think that's satisfying. God says, “No, I have something so much better for you if you will just taste and see that My ways and My Word really are good.”

Mary: If you take that time to ponder that path of life and just—because it is life. It's life, and it is nourishing. It feeds our souls, and David knew that secret of spending a lot of time in the Word and spending that time meditating and delighting in the Lord and drawing strength from that. That's the way of wisdom.

I mean, we can make the choice. We can walk the way of wildness. We can just be affected by worldly counsel, or we can choose the wisdom and choose to turn off the worldly counsel and tune in to the Lord.

Nancy: I think many of our listeners want to take that 30-Day Media Reduction Challenge. I need to take that challenge. There's a lot of media, not just secular media, but just a lot of noise coming into my life through email and the Internet. What a challenge for 30 days to just cut back, to trim back, and to more intentionally tune in to the Word of God!

So go to ReviveOurHearts.com. There'll be a link there that will take you to the 30-Day Media Reduction Challenge, and join with me and others who through these next 30 days say we want to become more intentional about taking in godly wisdom into our lives so we can become wise women of God. If you sign up on the website to take that challenge, through the course of the next 30 days, we'll be sending you some emails to help nurture you in this way of thinking, to be prompts and reminders about how to choose the way of wisdom.

Leslie: Again, to take the 30-Day Media Challenge, Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Mary Kassian have been describing, just visit ReviveOurHearts.com. Now, when you visit that site, it's easy to get a copy of the book they've been discussing. It's by our guest, Mary Kassian, and it's called Girls Gone Wise. We'll send you a copy when you donate any amount to Revive Our Hearts, and we'll also include the entire conversation between Nancy and Mary in a CD set.

As you listen again at your own pace, you'll find yourself recognizing the difference between wise and foolish behavior day by day. Again the web address is ReviveOurHearts.com or ask for Girls Gone Wise, the book, and the CD series when you call 1-800-569-5959.

Today's helpful conversation is a bit of what you'll experience at a True Woman conference. Nancy and Mary will both speak and offer biblical counsel at True Woman in Indianapolis this September, and they'll also be in Fort Worth this October.

Women from around the world are making plans. Here's Nancy talking about it with customer service representative Debbie Hancock.

Nancy: I understand there's a good-size group coming from the Dominican Republic.

Leslie: A group of women from the Dominican Republic came to True Woman in 2008 in Chicago. They started telling other women about it, and now they have an even bigger group coming.

Debbie Hancock: We registered 80 from the Dominican.

Nancy: So obviously they're not driving. (laughing)

Debbie: No, they're not driving.

Nancy: That's going to be some cost involved for them just getting to the conference.

Debbie: There is. There is, and we even had just a generous lady had heard one of the testimonies and called and said, “You know what? I want to bless the Dominican ladies. I want to purchase two tickets.”

Nancy: For them.

Debbie: For them. And she's doing her own tickets.

Leslie: Customer service rep, Jessie Stoltzfus says many women who attended in 2008 are spreading the message of True Woman. They're becoming group coordinators, and they're saying things like this.

Jessie Stoltzfus: “You have to go!” They're calling their girlfriends. I had one call today, and the lady said, “We have a group code. My girlfriend and I set one up. But her church didn't have enough ladies, and my church didn't have enough ladies. So we're teaming up."

They called each other and said, “We're going to go, and we're going to get enough people to get a group between the two of us.” So they're telling everyone from firsthand experience of what happened to them in Chicago.

I think a lot of what I'm hearing from those ladies in Chicago who are excited and telling everyone is that this conference has the whole “Yes, Lord” theme, and the “Yes, Lord” theme is really a charge to obedience. "I'm agreeing with God that I'm going to do it His way, and I'm going to accept the way He made me."

That is giving women a new-found passion. They want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. They want to embrace God's calling on their lives. They want to make a difference in their homes and communities, so it's women telling women.

Leslie: Don't miss True Woman in Indianapolis this September or in Fort Worth this October. Call our special True Woman phone number at 1-877-966-2608 or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Well, who directs your love story? Nancy and Mary will address that important question tomorrow. I hope you'll join them for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

 

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