by Rachel Harkins
“And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist’s head in a charger.” Matthew 14:8
The above verse not only causes me to cringe when I read it, but also serves as a solemn reminder of the huge influence that mothers have on their daughters. No, our instruction may not be as straightforward as this verbal request for John Baptist’s head. On the contrary, I would say the majority of our influence comes from our example, not our words. Titus 2:3-5 gives us a good idea of the areas of instruction that godly women should be giving their daughters as well as other young women, “The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” Titus 2:3-5
What about our dress? Would our clothing exemplify a chaste and discreet lady? This past week, we had the opportunity to glean a little bit from Mrs. Don Greene and, as she once again exhorted us in the issue of modest clothing, my thoughts were, “We know.” When we stand in front of a mirror each day, I would say the majority of the time we know whether or not our clothing will draw attention to our bodies. We know if our clothing is too tight, too low, too short, too shapely, too sheer, etc. We know. And, it doesn’t take long at all for our daughters to realize this as well. The question is, do we care enough about the influence we are having on our daughters to deny our own flesh and choose modesty? If we desire the respect of our girls when pointing out their immodest clothing, why not give them that same liberty to point out our questionable apparel…with the right spirit, of course. And, if what we are wearing is doubtful and can’t be fixed then don’t wear it. I have made an “amazing” discovery over the years. Did you know that, if our clothing consists of a low, revealing neckline, it is possible to change to a modest neckline and still go about our day without any hindrances whatsoever? 🙂 And we could go down the line, covering all the areas of modesty. Any changes that need to be made in order to cover up, loosen up, etc. will most likely not hinder our daily activities at all.
What about our attitudes? Do we love our husbands and children as we should? Would our behavior be described as “holy” or “horrific”? It is often said that the husband is the head of the home but the wife is the heart of the home. How is our “heart” beating these days? Could our home be likened to a serene, steady heartbeat, or do our mood swings create an atmosphere that is constantly out of rhythm? Yesterday’s Proverb named four things that are unbearable and one of those was a type of woman that each of us should strive with all our might not to imitate – an “odious woman”. We can read it in Proverbs 30:21-23 – “For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear: For a servant when he reigneth; and a fool when he is filled with meat; For an odious woman when she is married; and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress.”
Matthew Henry’s comments on the “odious woman” are as follows:
“An ill-natured, cross-grained, woman, when she gets a husband, one who, having made herself odious by her pride and sourness, so that one would not have thought any body would ever love her, yet, if at last she be married, that honourable estate makes her more intolerably scornful and spiteful than ever. It is a pity that that which should sweeten the disposition should have a contrary effect. A gracious woman, when she is married, will be yet more obliging.”
What are we teaching our daughters or other young ladies when our emotions resemble a roller coaster ride? How are we preparing them for marriage? Proverbs 18:22 says, “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.” Would our husbands say that they found a “good thing” when they found us? Would they agree that finding us brought them favor? Or, as the above verses in Proverbs state, has life with us been unbearable?
Our pastor has been preaching for the past few months on the home and marriage. This past Sunday evening, he made a thought-provoking statement that went something like this: “Will the last day of our marriage be better than the first?” He went on to say that, IF he were to die and his wife eventually remarry, he wanted to be sure to make it hard for her to be happier with that new fella than she was when he was still alive! 🙂 Although a little humorous, that thought has stayed with me this week. Knowing that it is the wife’s duty to “build” her home, if I were to die and my husband remarry, would he suddenly go from a one-level building to a high-rise? That’s something to think about, isn’t it?
What about our speech? Do we have the desire to always speak the truth, or have our wild imaginations and emotions caused us to become false accusers? Do we delight in godliness or gossip? What are our daughters learning from our conversations, whether in person or on the phone. Are they learning to pray for someone or pick them apart? Are they learning how to hold their tongue or are they being taught that it’s perfectly fine for a Christian to “speak their mind”…even if it is the truth? Anyone who has spent much time in the book of Proverbs will know that controlling the tongue is not a sign of weakness but of wisdom. Of the virtuous woman, Proverbs 31:26 says, “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law ofkindness.” Are they learning that the older women are to be “teachers of good things” or are they observing indifference toward the younger generation due in part to our own lack of appetite for the things of God?
The instructions to the aged and younger women in Titus 2 is followed by the phrase, “…that the word of God be not blasphemed.” If the preceding guidelines in Titus 2, to both older and younger women, do not get our attention, this phrase should. If this phrase does not, I seriously do not know what would. As women, do our lives bring honour and glory to the Lord? Are we striving to live in accordance with the Bible or are there known areas in our lives that blaspheme His Holy Word? None of us are perfect. Each of us fail so often…thank God for His mercy and longsuffering! But, what is our desire? Do we have a desire to grow in grace and knowledge or are we content right where we are at? Our desires soon become our actions and our actions are what speak the loudest to those watching and following our example. May each of us desire to live our lives pleasing to the Lord, with a constant awareness of and consideration for those we are influencing.
“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works” Hebrews 10:24
by Rachel Harkins
Original article can be found at http://www.inthineheart.com/2014/07/01/instructed-of-her-mother/