OceanSide church of Christ
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AN EXHORTATION OF YOUNG WOMEN
Victor M. Eskew
Oftentimes, preachers have a tendency to focus on the men of the congregation. They are the ones who either are, or will be, serving in public leadership capacities within the local congregation. The men, however, are not the only ones who enable the church to function smoothly. There are many women who labor diligently and constantly behind the scenes to make the church successful.
In this article, we want to address and exhort our younger women. This group includes those women who are newly married and those with small children. It includes those who have graduated from high school or college and are working, but are single. It also includes those young ladies who are in their teen years. This group of women is important to the present well-being and also to the future success of the body of Christ. There are several things that the younger women need to focus upon in their Christian lives.
First, they need to develop their knowledge of the Word of God just as the young men do. Peter exhorted all Christians, saying: “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (II Pet. 3:18). Knowledge for a young woman is essential for many reasons. One reason knowledge is vital is because it gives strength to one’s spiritual life. Another reason is because knowledge keeps one protected from the darts of the evil one. Still another reason knowledge is needed is because a younger woman can be a teacher of others. Young women have families and friends who need to be instructed in the way of truth. Young women have children of their own who need to be instructed in the paths of righteousness. In addition, young women are often called upon to teach the smaller children of the congregation. It is impossible to teach what is not known. Young women need to take advantage of as many opportunities to learn God’s Word as possible. Ladies classes and Ladies Days are available. Teacher workshops are also another good educational tool. Just keep in mind that without knowledge destruction looms near (Hos. 4:6).
A second attribute that women need to develop is a meek and quiet spirit. Peter encouraged women to possess this type of a spirit when he wrote to Christian woman in his first epistle. He wrote: “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price” (I Pet. 3:3-4). Meekness is often thought of as timidity. Meekness, however, is strength under control. Another definition of meekness is the ability to submit to control and authority. A horse is a powerful creature. Wild and out of control, a horse can be very dangerous. A horse that has been tamed is a picture of meekness. He still possesses great strength, but that strength yields to controls and commands. That majestic creature can be used for wonderful purposes when under control. The same is true of a meek woman. Within, she remains strong and courageous. However, she is not out of control. She allows her knowledge and talents to be guided by God for useful purposes.
Peter also says that a Christian woman’s spirit is quiet. A literal translation of the Greek word would be “to keep one’s seat.” The Christian woman is not one who creates a disturbance. She is a very peaceful person. She is not the eagle who soars. She is the wind beneath the eagle’s wings. She is not the diplomat. She is the secretary who keeps the diplomat “in the know” and on-time to all of his appointments. She is not the jockey. She is the stable-hand who provides the basics for a strong and healthy racehorse.
A meek and quiet spirit is difficult for a woman to possess and develop in our society. Women today are outspoken. They are not individuals who like to be brought under control. They want to occupy positions of leadership instead of positions of servitude. These attitudes, behaviors, and practices are finding their way into the church. Sadly, men have been abdicating their roles and giving them to strong, talented, and loud women who long for power and control. These women struggle with meekness and are definitely not quiet. This is not what God wants for Christian women.
A third quality that young women need to possess is modesty. When the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, he gave these instructions about the apparel of Christian women: “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works” (I Tim. 2:9-10). Modesty is definitely something needed by both men and women. Here, however, Paul speaks specifically to the women. A Christian woman who lived in the city of Ephesus in the first century lived in the midst of an idolatrous society. Worship of the goddess Diana was commonplace. The dress of her female worshippers was very immodest. The temple prostitutes were easily identified by their attire. Paul did not want Christian women dressing like the immoral women of that city. Christian women were not to be confused with the heathen women. This is how is should be today. Christian women need to dress like ladies who are practicing godliness, not like the world. Modesty, shamefacedness, and sobriety are to govern their choice of clothing. Christian women do not need to dress provocatively. They do not need to show off their private areas. They do not need to expose their breasts and legs thereby calling attention to themselves. When Christian women dress, they need to select clothes that display holiness. Their entire manner of life is to be chaste and godly.
Lastly, young women need to continue to develop their skills within the home. In Titus 2:5, one of the areas wherein young women need the instruction of the older women involves being “keepers at home.” Cooking, cleaning, washing, organizing, and other basic skills are part of this obligation. Again, the world is in rebellion to this concept. Women want no part of being servants within their homes. Because of this, we have lost the appeal of the home. Our homes offer nothing to come home to. The abundance, the warmth, the peace, and the happiness of the home have been removed. Much of this is because women are not present in the home. Those who are present in the home often do not keep the home as God has mandated. Christian women do not need to forsake their duties at home. They need to do all they can do to make their homes a “heaven on earth” for their family.
None of the duties a Christian woman has been called upon to do it extreme. However, they do go against societal norms and often against one’s personal will. The Christian woman, therefore, must do two things to be a woman in whom God is well-pleased. First, she must yield her will to God’s will. Second, must be focused on becoming a woman in whom God delights. We would exhort all women to constantly keep the Virtuous Woman of Proverbs 31 in front of them as a pattern to follow.