Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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You Can't Be a True Woman (On Your Own)

Leslie Basham: Yesterday on Revive Our Hearts, Nancy Leigh DeMoss asked an important question.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: What does it mean to be a true woman?

Leslie: She began answering that question by looking to the book of Titus.

Nancy: The true woman is tethered to the Word of God.

Leslie: Mary Kassian heard Nancy deliver this message at True Woman.

Mary Kassian: A verse that stood out when Nancy was speaking was the verse in Titus chapter 1, right at the end of the chapter, where it says, “They professed to know God, but they deny him by their works” (verse 16). I just think that’s the situation in many women’s lives, and I see that sometimes in my life as well. I think, if we’re honest, we all profess to know God and yet our lives don’t always line up with what our words are saying with our confession of faith.

So the goal of being a true woman really is to get our lives to line up so that we not only confess to know God with our mouths, but we also confess to know Him with our behavior and our lives.

Nancy: You see, ladies, the world will never be convinced by our arguments about the reality of God or about moral issues: abortion, same-sex marriage. It's not our arguments that are going to persuade the world. The world is going to be persuaded as they see the reality of the gospel lived out in our lives and our relationships.

Leslie: An attendee named Lori took away many points from this message.

Lori: Probably the one that resonated the most was we need to have character before we can pursue a calling.

Nancy: We can't teach others—moms, grandmoms, disciplers, older women in the church—we cannot teach others what we are not living ourselves, what we have not learned ourselves.

Leslie: On Revive Our Hearts for Tuesday, November 30, we’re about to hear the second part of that message from Titus 2.

We saw yesterday how important it is for older women to be teaching younger women. That’s where we’ll pick up.

Nancy: What are the older women to teach the younger women? Well, thankfully Paul gives us a curriculum here, and we read it here at the end of verse 3.

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.

Now, unless you've been in a closet for the last 30 years and have had no connection to the culture, you realize that them's fightin’ words in our culture. (Laughter) Those words are really, really counter-cultural. They are radical. They are not politically correct. But can I just remind us that that is God's way, and that God says these things are good.

“Teach what is good.” We need to remember, when we are teaching God's ways to others, these are not burdensome. These are a delight. These are the way to experience God's blessing and the fullness of His goodness in your life. These things are good and beautiful because they are true, and they are a reflection of God's greatness and goodness.

Now, rather than delving into each of these points, let me just make a few observations about that list. These qualities are what flow out of believing sound doctrine.

You cannot claim to be a saved woman and not live like a saved woman. Your lifestyle either proves, validates, or disproves your claim to be a child of God. The gospel, the grace of God should make our lives distinctive in the way that we think, the way that we act, the way we talk, the way we dress, we eat, drink, everything being done for His glory, the furthering of His reign and rule in this world. This is what flows out of sound doctrine.

And then I see in this passage the priority that God places on the home. Four of the seven qualities in this list relates specifically to marriage and family. There seems to be an assumption made by the apostle Paul here that young women will be wives and mothers. This is God's norm.

It shows the value that He places on that calling. It is no insignificant thing to be a wife, to be a mother. It's not just like you drift through life and you fall in love, get married, you have children, just part of the story. No. It's part of God's plan and His story.

Now, 1 Corinthians 7 tells us that God has called and gifted some to be able to stay single for the purpose of serving God in a more concentrated way. But those are the exceptions, not the rule. And so we see that our homes are the first and primary sphere we as women live out the gospel. Again, if we are not living it there, something's wrong.

And then I see in this list the priority of love. We are called to reflect the love of God, first to those within the four walls of our homes and then to others.

Ladies, let me just say it again. You can't claim to love God if you don't love your husband and your children. It's one thing for the people at work or in your church or your small group to think of you as a sweet, loving, gracious, true woman and friend, but what if we were to ask your family?

You see, that's a starting place. The testing place for true love is at home. If it doesn't work there, it doesn't work.

Now you may be thinking . . . I know we have women coming from a lot of different and some very difficult home situations. You’re sitting here and maybe thinking, “How can I love that man? How can I love that child, that prodigal who is breaking my heart, or that 2-year-old for whom no textbook was ever written?” You know which one I'm talking about? (Laughter) “How can I love that mate, that child?”

Well, this passage says you can learn. These things don't always come naturally. They do need to be trained; they do need to be taught. But there is also a provision made here, and we’ll see it in just a few moments, of God's supernatural grace to enable you to love in the most difficult, even impossible situations.

So throughout the book of Titus, and we saw it here in these verses, the lives of believers should be radically different than those who do not believe. Our culture is characterized by the kinds of things we read about at the end of chapter 1—violence, sexual promiscuity, greed, lying, gluttony, drunkenness, rebellion, hatred, anger. You see these things, descriptions of the world, throughout the book of Titus.

But because of how the gospel of Christ has changed us, our lives are supposed to look different. The world is supposed to be able to look at us as Christian women and see a massive difference, see that our lives are characterized by things like love, gentleness, purity, self-control, truthfulness, submissiveness, well-ordered family relationships. We are expected to be a living demonstration of the gospel, to make the gospel believable.

And so as we look at this list, and you could do this all through the book of Titus, but let me just show you a bit of it starting in the verses we have looked at in Titus 2, verse 1. You see how a Christian or Christian woman in verses 3 through 5 is to reflect or illustrate the gospel. I want us to just walk through those qualities again, just real quickly here, and just have us consider what would it look like if a woman is not grounded in truth and is not living out the gospel.

For example, in verse 1, we see that a Christian woman bases her life on sound doctrine, the truth, the Word of God. But a woman whose life is not informed or shaped by the gospel is going to minimize the importance of the doctrine, will ignore or disregard it. That woman's life is going to be based on beliefs that are not true, that are not sound.

The godly woman, the woman whose life has been informed by the gospel of Christ, we read in verses 2 through 3 that older believers are to model godliness and spiritual maturity. They are to be intentional about passing the baton, investing the gospel, the faith in the next generation, intentional about discipling and mentoring the next generation.

But what if the gospel does not inform our lives? What does that look like? Older people are set free to pursue their own dreams, their own pleasures, to retire, to have the easy life, to live their own way. They’ve paid their dues, and they want to spend the rest of their life seeing the U.S.A. in their Chevrolet, or whatever, traveling around in their R.V., enjoying hobbies or whatever. Just take it easy. That's a life that is not informed by the gospel.

In verse 3 we see that older women whose lives have been shaped by the gospel are to be reverent in behavior. But a woman whose life is not shaped or informed by the gospel is going to be secular, coarse, or vulgar.

Women whose lives have been shaped by the gospel are not slanderers. They are to speak the truth, words that build up. But if our lives have not been shaped by the gospel, we're going to have loose lips. We are going to wound others with our words.

The woman whose life is built on sound doctrine and informed by the gospel is not going to be a slave to much wine. She’s going to have a temperate lifestyle, but a woman for whom the gospel doesn't matter or mean anything is going to be self-indulgent. She will have addictive behavior, substance abuse, eating disorders, live for pleasures, live for senses, medicate emotional pain.

A woman whose life is shaped by the gospel will teach what is good. She will train younger women. But what happens in a model where the gospel does not speak into the life is we devalue what older people have to offer. We make them feel useless or marginalized, and younger women are left adrift to fend for themselves, and so many of them, sadly, don't make it. They end up shipwrecked.

We see that the gospel-informed woman, the younger women are to love their husbands. They are to value marriage. They are to be covenant keepers, even when it's hard, when it hurts, when it seems so difficult. But in the culture and the climate where the gospel does not inform the way we live, women will resent their husbands. They will dishonor them, neglect them, leave them. This is where we have the divorce culture, disposable marriages.

The gospel-informed woman will love her children. She will value motherhood. She will value having children according to the will and plan of God and be intentional about shaping their lives for Christ. But in the culture and in a mindset that is not informed by the gospel, women are discouraged from having children in the first place, and then when they do have them, they either abuse them or spoil them, perhaps let others raise them. They’re not intentional about discipling them to be followers of Christ.

A woman whose life is informed by the gospel will be self-controlled. That's a word that I found myself parking on, camping on a lot in recent days. It's a word sophrone in the Greek. It means "to have a saved or sound mind." A sophrone state of mind is what enables us to curb fleshly desires, and it results in our practicing self-control in every area of our lives—our tongue, habits, sexuality, every area of our lives.

But a woman whose life is not bound by the gospel has no self-control. She's out of control—spending habits, her tongue, her use of time. She will be impetuous, impulsive. Whatever she thinks, she just says it. Her mind is not sophrone. It's not a saved, sound mind.

The woman whose life is informed by the gospel will be pure in her heart, her mind, her sexuality, versus immodesty, sexual permissiveness, promiscuity.

A woman who is a gospel-oriented woman will value the home. She’ll have a heart for home. Her focus and priorities will involve the home. But what does the world do? Where the gospel doesn’t have a say, you devalue homemaking. Hospitality has become a thing of the past. Our homes are in a state of chaos. We’re yanking women out of the home and elevating the work they do out of the home above the work they could be doing in and for their homes.

So you see, all through this passage and through the book of Titus how a gospel-informed life looks qualitatively different than a life that is not informed by the gospel.

So the question is: How well does your life, how well does my life reflect the gospel and grace of God and what it looks like to be a redeemed woman?

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been answering the question: What is a true woman by looking at Titus 2. She delivered that message at the True Woman conference this summer. All the plenary sessions from the conference are available at the True Woman website. You can access them by visiting That’s also where you can find out how to get a copy of this message on DVD or CD.

When Nancy began this message, she told us she had three big questions. The first was: What is a true woman? Now we’ll move into the second: How do you become a true woman? Here’s Nancy.

Nancy: Now, as I look at these qualities, just the few we have talked about, and there are others throughout the book of Titus, I come across a problem. I see this incredible portrait of a true woman. I see what she looks like. I see her character. I see her calling to pass a legacy of godliness onto the next generation. But here’s my problem: I can't live that way. I can't be that kind of woman. And you know what? Neither can you.

Recognizing that problem is the first step to dealing with it. We don't have the power. Christ is calling us to live a life that is impossible for us to live. We can't do it. And the sooner we recognize that, the better. We do not have the power to live this kind of life.

How many of you within the past week, just think back, would say, “There’s been at least one moment, maybe more, when I look back and I say, “I was not thinking, acting, looking, talking, whatever, like a true woman”? Can you just remember? Okay, maybe, like, in the past day, past hour. (Laughter)

You know what, I can get out of my quiet time and within three minutes or less, I'm living like a pagan, talking like a pagan, not like a true woman, and I go, “Oh, why do I act that way? Why do I talk that way? Why did I say that? Why am I thinking that?”

How can we become true women of God? Well, verses 11 through 14 give us three resources. I wish we could do a whole message just on this. I'm just going to touch on them, and then you can go back and explore their marvels for yourself. But three resources that will enable us to be God's true women who live in accord with sound doctrine.

The first one, a present resource, is the grace of God. In the present, look at verses 11 and 12—the grace of God:

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.

The grace of God—that is a resource God gives to me every moment of every day, that, right here and now, will enable me, not just here in this auditorium, but when I go home, when I’m in the workplace, when I'm being squeezed and the flesh is coming out. The grace of God is what will give me the desire and the power to live according to sound doctrine.

And then chapter 3 reminds us that it wasn't always that way. We didn't always have the grace of God. We didn't always live as true women. We used to be just like the world. Look at verse 3 of chapter 3:

For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.

Whether you remember or not, whether you realize it or not, that's who we were before Christ came and changed our lives. So what made the difference? What changed us? Look at verse 4 of chapter 3:

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy. . . . so that being justified by his grace [grace, grace, grace] we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life (verses 4, 5, 7).

I cannot be saved by human willpower or effort, and I cannot be sanctified by human effort or willpower. I cannot be God's true woman, nor can you, apart from His grace.

If you try and live this life on your own, you will become hopeless. You will live a despairing life. You will constantly feel like a failure because you will be a failure, and you will be living under the law, living in bondage. If you don't fail, you will strive and struggle and be rigid and uptight, and no one will want what you have as you’re trying to be a true woman.

It's God's grace that enables us to say “no” to the flesh and “yes” to God. In the present, we have the grace of God. What an incredible resource.

And then there's a future-looking resource, and that is the return of Christ. Verse 13:

Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ (2:13).

Keep your eyes on the finish line. And remember, it will be worth it all—when?—when we see Christ. When we see Him, the process of being conformed to His image will be complete. We will be forever with the Lord.

When you get weary here, when you feel like giving up here, God will use the reminder of that blessed hope of the return of Christ to be something that will infuse you with strength and desire, to press into the battle and to be God's true woman.

And then as we reflect on the past, we have a third resource. It’s found in verse 14. It’s the power of the cross.

Who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

It’s the gospel of Christ that is the source of all godliness. We are called to live our lives in light of what Christ has already done for us on the cross where He died our death, in our place, for our sin, so that we might be clothed in His righteousness and be true women of God.

Let me say, if you have never been to the cross to repent of your sin and place your faith in Jesus Christ, you can't even be in the game as a true woman of God. I believe there are many women here this weekend that God brought you here because He wanted to bring you to faith in Jesus Christ.

As you reflect on what Christ has done for you, just lift your eyes up to Him, and you say, “Yes, Lord, I believe You did it for me. Make me Your child so that I can become Your true woman who brings glory to You.”

Leslie: It’s impossible to live as a true woman of God if you’re trying to do it in your own strength.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss just offered us three resources in living out God’s call as true woman: The grace of God; the return of Christ; the power of the cross. If you missed any of that important message, you can get a copy on CD or DVD by visiting our website

Tomorrow, we’ll hear part three of the series, What Is a True Woman? recorded at the True Woman conference. Throughout the series, Nancy has been taking us deep into the book of Titus, explaining it thoroughly, showing us how it should shape us day by day.

One of our listeners, Kari Windon, says this type of teaching is what she appreciates about Revive Our Hearts.

Kari Windon: Revive Our Hearts has benefitted my life personally in challenging me to look at Scripture and to take it for what it says and then act on it, apply it—don’t just read it, don’t snack on it, but apply it—and then trust God for the results.

Nancy : Hi, this is Nancy again. I wanted to come back at the end of this program to share my heart with you on something for just a few moments.

We’re able to provide that kind of teaching to women just like Kari thanks to listeners like you who donate to Revive Our Hearts. This is a listener-supported ministry, and it’s your gifts that make it possible for us to continue.

Maybe you’ve heard us say that before, and yet you’ve never given. Maybe you’ve thought, “Someone else will donate, and the program will still stay on the air.” Well, sadly, that’s not always the case. Whenever we have to stop broadcasting on a radio station, it’s a really difficult process, and we’ve been through some of those tough decisions recently.

At Revive Our Hearts, we’re committed to living within our means, and sometimes the result is that we can’t afford air time on all the stations and networks that we’d like to be on.

I want to let you know that right now we’re in the most difficult financial position that we’ve been in since the beginning of Revive Our Hearts nearly ten years ago. Many listeners have stood with us, even in this uncertain economy, and I am so very grateful for that. But we’ve also seen a significant drop in other sources of income.

Some friends of this ministry, who are aware of the current needs, want to give to help out, and they want to encourage you to give. So they’ve created a special matching challenge fund of $300,000. That means when you give a gift to Revive Our Hearts between now and December 31, they will double your gift up to that matching challenge amount.

Meeting this challenge will help us greatly, and, frankly, we’re asking God to provide substantially more than that in order to meet our current budget needs.

Would you pray about helping us to meet and even exceed that matching challenge? If you’ve supported Revive Our Hearts in the past, I want to ask you to consider doing it again at this critical time. And if you’ve never supported the ministry, we especially need to hear from you. Don’t assume that someone else is going to do it.

You can make a donation at, or give us a call at 1-800-569-5959.

At the end of your life, what do you want people to say about you? You’ll be challenged to think through that important question tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version.

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About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.