those who are older are reminded to pass on the truth of God's Word to the younger.
The Book of Titus, chapter two, provides a model.
The model is tried and true.
God's Word does not change. Trusting it, the older Christian is equipped to train the younger. The older in age, experience, or faith can confidently use the model our Lord has provided in Titus 2.
But isn't Titus 2 one of the most unpopular passages in Scripture? Yes, and here's why. God's Word through St. Paul to the young pastor Titus is gender-specific. Instructions from God that are gender-specific remind us of His order of creation and that being "equal" as male and female does not mean being "the same."
Women, in particular, take a defensive posture upon hearing verses 3-5. That's because these verses instruct "older women" to teach "younger women" to "love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands" (ESV). This flies in the face of modern feminism. Who wants to be a homemaker when they could be a corporate president? Who wants to be pure? (Isn't that the same as being Victorian and prudish?) How many women bristle when they are told they should "be submissive to their own husband"?
The model of Titus 2 is also unpopular because too many of us don't believe we are capable of mentoring. Instead, we are tempted to believe:
I'm not a role model!
I'm not a teacher!
I'm just a homemaker!
I'm just a stay-at-home mom!
I've made too many mistakes in my life!
From where have such thoughts come? Who did we believe?
Living Truth, Affecting Culture
Titus was a young pastor whose congregation found itself in the midst of an immoral and pagan culture. What were the men and women, the fathers and mothers to do? St. Paul could have offered Titus a sophisticated church growth program. Instead, he was inspired by God to provide a model for mentoring biblical manhood and womanhood. The older would teach the younger.
We, too, are living in a culture that calls evil "good." But because God's Word is the same today as yesterday, we can trust that an older Christian will push back against evil by mentoring the younger.
The Israelites were reminded time and again to tell the next generation "the glorious deeds of the Lord, and His might, and the wonders that He has done" (Psalm 78:4 ESV). These instructions hold promise! "Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commandments! His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed" (Psalm 112:1-2 ESV).
Mentoring is needed by every generation.
Mentoring is the model used by people of God from the very beginning. It is the model God wants us to use today. Titus 2 speaks specifically to male and female, thus emphasizing the order of creation. True to Himself, God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the Creator of order, not chaos. Modern feminists have worked long and hard to diminish the differences between male and female; to make their distinct roles interchangeable. But God did not create male and female at the same time, in the same way, or for the same purpose. Social engineers who think their will is superior to God's might encourage girls to be boys and boys to be girls, but the consequences will torment body, mind, and soul.
Hitler said to the parents of Germany: Who needs you? Germany will create a new society by shaping the minds of the young. You and I are naïve if we believe the same thing isn't happening here in the U.S. At least two generations have been told that the ways of parents and grandparents are embarrassingly antiquated. Too many young men and women have been without Christian mentoring and under the influence of secular humanism and worldly ideology. What are the consequences?
Although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools . . . they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator (Romans 1:21-22, 25).
Faithful and courageous Christian fathers, mothers, grandparents, and pastors are needed. The older in age, experience, or faith are needed to train and equip those who are younger and more vulnerable to deception. Older Christians are not proud of wrong choices in life, but God uses the humble to teach valuable lessons and to warn: "I've been there. Please... don't go there!"
The enemy of life is giddy with excitement whenever the righteous call to mentor is ignored. Satan delights in missed opportunities when we:
Doubt God's Word.
Cling to heavy baggage and assume we're too broken to be an instrument of God.
Are intimidated by the foolishness of the world, or by those younger than us who appear savvy and sophisticated.
Think we deserve a break; after all, we have given too much already and it's time to steer clear of life's battles.
Believe it's impossible to bridge the gap between "old" and "young."
What is the greatest obstacle to mentoring biblical womanhood?
Surprisingly, the greatest obstacle to mentoring biblical womanhood is not the younger woman, but the older. Why would the older woman resist such an opportunity? Perhaps we're afraid to mentor because it means we have to act our age. Or because it means re-visiting our past mistakes and becoming vulnerable all over again. Or because we fear rejection by younger women. Some of us may be afraid to mentor because we are untrained. Perhaps no one mentored us with God's Word. Perhaps we were led off the good path of life on painful and dangerous detours by older men and women we trusted more than God.
It's true. We can't mentor if we're afraid to act our age. If we don't want to accept where we're at in life. If we're afraid to re-visit our past and acknowledge wrong choices. If we're afraid of rejection. In other words, we can't mentor if it's all about me!
We can't mentor if
it's "all about me!"
We can't mentor if it's all about "my inabilities, my fears, my past." We can, however, make a positive, life-changing difference if we're all about God--God's Word--God's Word in Christ. It is God's Word that tells us who we are and why we exist. It is God's Word that helps us accept age, experience, failure, and disappointment. God works through our lives to warn, prepare, and equip those younger than us. Trusting God's Word we become wise, willing, and more confident. We are free to focus less on self... and more on the needs of others.
There is hope!
The model of Titus 2 is as effective for Christians today as it has been for those before us. Younger people in our lives don't need to see perfection. (It doesn't exist in a broken world.) They do, however need to see how sinful people fall on their knees with faces lifted to Jesus (1 John 1:9). They need to see repentance for sin and joy in forgiveness (Psalm 32:3-5). They need to see how to become "new creatures in Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:17) so they can begin each day with new attitudes and behaviors (Ephesians 4:22-24).
The men and women of young Titus' congregation found themselves in the midst of a dark and hopeless culture. But with the model of Titus 2, younger Christians learned how to respect human life, appreciate the complementary differences of male and female, live holy rather than sexual lives, marry and bring children into the world, rejoice in grandchildren, bring order out of chaos, and strengthen society.
Today's Christian men and women can do the same! With the Titus 2 model, we help transform the culture one woman, one man, one child, one family, one neighbor, one community at a time. Believe it!
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