Prayer… *winces* “Kindness!”
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue (Proverbs 31:26).
The Lord has planted in my heart a deep desire to be a Proverbs 31 woman! As silly as it sounds, prior to praying about what to write on from the amazingly rich Scripture, Proverbs 31:10-31, kindness isn’t.at.all the first attribute that came to mind when I thought of being and becoming a truly godly, authentic woman.
There is no denying, however, that as women who have been saved and redeemed by Jesus Christ — kindness is, and I repeat, is, to be an attribute in our daily lives, forming part of our demeanor and character.
Now, to be honest — in my life, this is easy on a surface-level to accomplish with friends or acquaintances. But bring in a boyfriend (let alone he isn’t even my husband yet nor do we even live in the same four corners of a house together! HA (I’m sure all you married women are chuckling right now!) — and this can get tricky! Whether married, or unmarried, countless women “Amen” the same struggle! How much harder it is when you have to show this display of love to those closest to us — those we are close to and often vulnerable with.
As I thought to myself in preparation for this post, “Lord, how can I grow in my kindness, and have it as a strong quality in my personality?” Well…He put in my way a message by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Mary A. Kassian on the extremely important quality for women — reverence. In Titus 2, women are told to be reverent. Does that mean they always have to speak in hushed tones, never laugh, and wear boring gowns?
Not exactly. Reverence to God should pass through to the way we act to others. We esteem God high, and us low — we see God’s holiness, remembering that although He is our best friend — that He also is the God who created the heavens and the earth — the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Titus 2:1-5 says,
But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. 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, that the word of God may not be reviled.
In Titus 2, Paul doesn’t just give general instructions for the Church body; rather, he breaks it down into specific groups. He is speaking to women and to men (older and younger). God knows men and women have specific tendencies relative to our sex, and Paul (under the guidance of the Holy Spirit) addresses these.
What I was reminded of in this message is that as Christian women, we are saints — “holy ones.” So women are supposed to live like we really are — like saints.
Nancy and Mary reminded me so beautifully, and I quote: “and we are the temple of God, the Holy Spirit is with us all the time. We live in the presence of the King of kings and the Lord of lords. This doesn’t mean that we should always be standing formally at attention, but it means, in our hearts there ought to be this attitude of deep respect, tinged with awe. I mean, if you think about it, if we really believed that God was here, which He is, of course, but if we were conscious of that . . . And isn’t that what the fear of the Lord is about? It’s that constant conscious awareness that God is here. Yes. If I was aware that God was here, and Christ was with me when I’m in the kitchen, and if my husband says something and I’m a little bit snarky about it, would I retort in the same way? Would I respond in the same way? Would I snap his head off in the same way if Jesus were in the room?”
This ties in perfectly to kindness. If we are truly reverent of God — more focused on Him and His glory than our wants, our needs — we will have the appropriate respect for those around us, and “kindness” truly will be “on our tongues.” Reverence for God, which is grown in us by being in His word and living in the presence of His Spirit, will allow us to constantly be aware that people are made in His image and are to be considered of great worth.
It’s irreverence that so often plays out in my dealings with others, specifically those closest to me. I was so convicted by the Lord when I read over this Scripture and thought of my behavior — the way I can shrug off the very person I am supposed to love and respect. As women, I think we can often shrug off our loved ones’ emotions, belittle or demean them with no filter. Because really…in my behavior, if it is irreverent and in turn unkind, I am saying, “Well, really, I am God in this situation.” Irreverence or disrespect of others (and, thus, God in the process) isn’t the way to find true joy, peace and fun in our lives anyway. Rather, when I acknowledge His authority over my life as Lord and beautiful Savior, it is then that I enter into what Psalm 16:11 says:
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
An interesting and challenging question that was asked is, “So when we walk into a room, are we trying to make people conscious of who we are, or are we trying to, or hope, that we make people more conscious of Christ, in us, in that room?’
Christ in Us…Compels Us!
Titus 3:2-8 says,
“Remind them … to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. 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. 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, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.”
These verses really sum up this post beautifully and speaks for itself! Paul, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, wanted Titus (who was a pastor on the island of Crete), to remind the Christians He was shepherding there “to speak evil of no one” (kindness not just on our tongue, but in our thoughts and hearts), to “avoid quarreling, to be gentle” (kindness in our reactions rather than brash, crass or aggressive), “and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.”
He then reminds the Church that they (himself included!) were once the opposite of reverence for God and kindness toward others: “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 another”... but … BUT Paul says, “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 by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us rightly through Jesus Christ our Savior.”
Christ is our ultimate example. It was His kindness that saved us (what good news in and of itself!), and even greater than that — not because of our works but “according to His own mercy”… and How did He do this? “according to his own mercy by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us rightly through Jesus Christ our Savior.”
Poured out in the Greek means “to pour forth, to run greedily(out), to spill.” THIS is how the Holy Spirit was given to us. WITH POWER. THIS is the encouragement and power we need when we plead before the Lord with prayerful hearts to develop the beautiful Proverbs 31 woman quality of kindness in our lives. Amen.