In our last article in which we began our study of Titus 2:4, 5, we called attention to the love which a young wife is called to give her husband and children.
According to this inspired Word of God, that calling to love comes to virtuous manifestation, as we see in verse 5.
In the first place, we note that the young wife is to be marked by discretion.
To be discreet is to be of sound judgment, wise in conduct and management. To be characterized by discretion is to have a spiritual-minded perspective and approach to all decisions necessary in the home.
The discreet woman avoids that which would injure her own soul and influence, or that would injure her husband and children. She realizes that what she takes into her life and what she does will have its effect through the years. She realizes that what is in harmony with God’s will shall certainly have a good end, but the bad is a means to a grievous outcome. Therefore she seeks to do what is right in God’s sight, and rejects the bad.
And she knows, because the heart is deceitful above all things, that she may not rely upon her own feelings or opinions as to what is right in a given situation; but she must seek God’s will in all things.
The young women who is discreet is a young woman who prays. She prays for wisdom, for sound judgment, for the fervent desire to walk according to all God’s precepts. And God grants her request. The enemy is not able to “pull the wool over her eyes.” She seeks the glory of God and His praise.
And when she errs, for she still struggles with her sinful nature, that error is the exception, and her husband and children will recognize it as such.
The young wife must also be chaste.
That is a reflection of the love she has for her husband, love flowing forth from the love of God in her heart.
She is chaste, pure, expressing a life of holiness. She is careful about her conduct, her influence, her plans and purposes. She guards her tongue, that source of much impurity and evil. She is careful concerning her dress. She does not live for extravagance, is not wasteful. She is cautious about where she goes and doesn’t keep company with those who are unholy and impure.
To this godly young woman, pure and upright womanhood is a pearl of great price. She possesses self-control, not to be led astray like the silly women who are worldly and ungodly.
This holiness characterizes her life because she anchors her life to Christ, the Rock.
These are among the attributes that you women who are older are to set before the young women.
Keeper at Home
In addition, a God-fearing young wife is to be a home-worker and good.
In our society and in the day and age in which we live, this text has become one that most preachers would like to avoid. The expression “keepers at home” is so unmistakably clear, that in churches where young mothers working outside the home has become the norm, rather than the exception, the teaching of this Word of God presses upon the waywardness of many. That makes it uncomfortable, not only for those who have disobeyed this Word, but also for the preacher who must preach it without regard to the faces of men and women.
The consequences of disobedience to this commanded place of the mother are seen even by society. Many want to deny those consequences, but they are evident in undisciplined children, broken marriages, two-income families filled with financial strife over where money shall be spent, and many other societal evils. But we do not make judgments in the matter on the basis of bad results in society when mothers leave their God-given calling in the home.
We stand before the Word of God Himself. As Christians the Word of God is the standard for us, both concerning what we believe, but also how we live.
Remember, the Apostle gives instruction here concerning that lifestyle which is becoming, i.e., which is consistent with sound doctrine. This is the kind of lifestyle that is in harmony with God’s truth.
It is God’s will that young mothers are to be “keepers at home,” home-workers. For there is a steep price to be paid in the violation of this Word of God.
Again, you will notice that the text speaks specifically of those young women who have children in the home. And the text speaks not only of toddlers, but children from infancy through the age of adolescence. When you have children who come home to an empty house after school, or who are regularly left during the summer months without mother’s direct supervision and guidance; when you have children that are turned over to someone else’s care during the day, there is a forsaking of the God-ordained bond between mother and children, and the responsibility that God has given father and mother with respect to their children.
The inspired Apostle puts it this way in I Timothy 5:14: “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.”
Mothers with children at home are not to be off working outside of the home, but in their house, serving God, literally, as the “despot of the house.” Now, in the usage of our language that term despot often carries the connotation of a tyrant. But the meaning is simply that in the home during the day there must be one with authority, one who is governing. The husband is out of the home, laboring in obedience to God’s will for him. The wife and mother must be in the home, governing and giving constant guidance, also spiritually, for the welfare of that home.
No exceptions are mentioned. Sometimes there is argument made that there must be exceptions to this, if financial necessity requires a second income. But where do you find such an exception in the Bible? Where do you find it? I don’t find it anywhere.
I find much instruction in Scripture concerning what we must do in times of financial distress.
I learn from Scripture that when I consider myself lacking, I must first examine my own lifestyle and expenditures. Do I have a mistaken notions about what are necessities and what are luxuries? Are there things that we can do without, or lesser things that will suffice our needs?
I learn from Scripture as well, that when I look at my budget and my expenditures and find that I am not mismanaging as a poor steward those gifts which God has provided, nor am neglecting my calling to labor for the provision of my family, then I must seek help from others. I Timothy 5 is clear on that, to mention one passage.
The others from whom I must first seek help are my relatives. That is nothing shameful. That is the way God would have us go. And Christian relatives, parents, brothers and sisters, even aunts and uncles, should be sensitive to the needs of such families and stand willing to help them. I Timothy 5:8 is clear: “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”
And then, the Bible tells us, if our needs are such that our extended family cannot help us, we are to seek the mercies of Christ from His appointed deacons. Again, that is not a shameful thing, when God has providentially placed you in that position. That is a tremendous blessing, to know that God has appointed a means to care for you in time of need. And let me just mention, that includes provision for the godly instruction of our children in our Christian schools. When we are needful for financial assistance, that help must be there, also in order that we may fulfill our covenant obligations in the godly instruction of our children. God’s mercies provide for us through the office of deacon. We must not seek another way than the ways which God points us toward.
The Bible tells us how to deal with financial distress. Let us heed God’s wise instruction.
But never does the Bible give as an option, the mother’s forsaking of her calling to be a “keeper at home.” That is a necessary and tremendously important aspect of her calling, a manifestation of godly virtue on the part of a young wife and mother in the church.
As to those who object that the church would make the house a prison for mothers, we will not be led astray by such argumentation, shall we.
You understand that it is not at all the point of this text to confine young women exclusively to the house. She has other callings within the body of believers that will take her out of the house from time to time, often with her children.
Besides being an integral part of her husband’s household, she is an integral part of the church, and lives in the fellowship of the saints.
The God-fearing young wife also shows love for her husband by showing herself “good.” She is to be taught to be “good.”
The reference to being “good” is a reference to the fact that she is not only the home-maker, but a helper in the body of Christ. She is ready to come to the assistance of other members of the congregation. She visits others in the church, particular to speak encouraging words. She takes her time by showing pure religion and undefiled, visiting the widows and orphans.
Unlike one who fills her day with work outside the home, this virtuous woman has time for others.
Not only to be discreet, chaste and keepers at home, but good—that is the calling of the young wife.
You older women must teach these things to your daughters and younger sisters in Christ. (To be continued.)