The Character of the Older Woman


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When an older woman befriends a younger woman, she is going to influence her thinking and her actions. This is good if she is doctrinally sound in her teaching and her character. It is bad if she leads the younger woman into heresy, if she is not under submission herself and leads the younger woman into rebelling against the authority in her life, or if she is a gossip.

Obviously, God does not want an older woman to be a bad influence or example for the younger woman. I think that is why Paul listed the character qualities needed for the older woman first. He says she is to have godly character. He gives several qualifications for her.
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Behavior as becometh holiness

The older woman is to behave in such a way that promotes holiness. Her behavior should be proper for a woman who is consecrated to God. If she is striving for holiness within, it will show up on the outside in her attitudes, her actions, and her words. A younger woman will be able to learn much from the example of the older woman just by watching her behavior.

The Bible teaches us very plainly that as Christians we are not to be like the world, and we are not to love the world. Rather we are to be holy, as God is holy. How can we strive for holiness in our lives so that we can be the example we need to be?

There are many ways, but the most important way is by growing closer and closer to Christ and His Word. This will cause us to want to please the Lord in all we do and will help us to make wise choices in our lives. We will want to spend time with the Lord and learn of Him and allow Him to mold and shape us into His image.

Does she dress modestly?

If you were looking for a woman who has this behavior as becometh holiness what would you look for? What does it look like on the outside? One way is by how she dresses. She should dress in a feminine manner, not like a man. She should dress modestly, not sensual and provocative. She should not seek to dress in a way that draws attention to herself.

First Timothy 2:9-10 gives us these principles. “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.”

It is interesting to note here that Paul was writing to Timothy, whom he had left in Ephesus with the church there. In Ephesus, the temple prostitutes were known for their gaudy, suggestive, provocative, extreme styles for their clothing, their hair, and their jewelry. Their beauty was only surface and very empty.

Paul did not want the Christian women to look like the worldly women. They should be different. Hence, he told them that their dress should be modest and discreet, and they should not adorn themselves with outlandish hairstyles or gaudy jewelry or extravagant clothing, but rather with good works. A Christian woman’s dress should not make her stand out. If she is going to be noticed, it should be because of her godly character and her good works.

Peter wrote a similar direction to Christians scattered throughout the world. In First Peter 3:3-4 he says that the adorning of the godly woman is not to be the external adornment—braided hair, gold jewelry, costly apparel—but rather the inner beauty that shines out.

Her true beauty comes from what is on the inside, the hidden man of the heart. It manifests itself in a meek and quiet spirit. A meek spirit is one that accepts what God is doing in her life, recognizes it as being for good, and does not argue with God. A quiet spirit is one that is peaceable and tranquil. She is not given to anger or fear.

Does she have proper attitudes and actions?

Second, look at her attitudes and actions. A godly woman will show the love of Christ to the world through her words and her actions. She shows love to others, remembering the qualities of love found in First Corinthians 13. She has good manners. She does not push and shove to have her way.

She will be concerned about doing things for others, not for herself. She does not embarrass herself and others by yelling at the store clerk and making loud threats when things don’t go her way. She is not loud and obnoxious and rolling over people like a steamroller.

This does not mean that she whispers when she talks, hides in the background, or does not look at others when they talk. A godly woman can enjoy life. She can laugh and speak loudly enough for others to hear. She knows how to have fun and love the Lord. Her dress, attitude, and behavior are pleasing to the Lord.

So, how about a behavior check? Ask yourself: Is my behavior such that it promotes holiness? Do others see godliness when they look at my life? Do I show love for others through my attitudes and actions? Do I dress in a godly, modest way? Are my words filled with God’s wisdom? Is the law of kindness in my mouth? If you are saved, holy living should be something you are striving toward.

Not false accusers

The second quality that God lists is directly opposite of holiness, and it seems even absurd that God would have to list it, after just talking about holiness. This quality is listed as, “not false accusers,” which speaks of gossiping, slandering, or maligning others. Why would God even list it here, after just talking about holy behavior?

I think it is because one of the most recurring problems for all women is the ability to control the tongue. The tongue is one of the smallest parts of our body, but it is very powerful. In the book of James, it is compared to “a fire, a world of iniquity . . . it defileth the whole body . . . and it is set on fire of hell. . . it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:6,8) In Revelation 12:10, Satan is referred to as “the accuser of our brethren.” This gives us a good idea where our problems with the tongue come from! Satan is the root of all evil. Since the tongue is capable of great evil, the source of that evil is Satan himself!

There is no way that you can control your tongue if you desire to live for yourself and to please yourself. In fact, James says that no man can tame his tongue by himself. Only God can tame your tongue. But for this to happen, you must resist the devil, and draw near to God (James 4:7). Both are necessary. On the one hand, you must come near to God, desire to please Him, seek His will, read His Word, and obey His commandments.
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On the other hand, you must resist Satan, and don’t give in to his temptations to gossip, to slander, to speak evil of anyone.

We have seen that Satan is the source of gossip, but what are the things that cause us to gossip? First, an evil heart. Jesus said that the things that come out of our mouth show what is in our heart (Luke 6:45).

A second cause of gossip would be hatred (Psalm 109:3). A third cause would be foolishness (Proverbs 10:18). Every time you gossip, you have just declared yourself to be a fool. A fourth cause is idleness (First Timothy 5:13). As you can see, none of these things should be in our life, if we are aspiring to be godly women!

The Titus 2 woman will guard her words carefully. Women do enjoy talking. There is nothing wrong with that to a point. The biblical criteria for the words you say could be summed up with these principles:

Speak edifying words (Ephesians 4:29). Edifying words build up the other person. They are not false words or manipulating words. They are spoken for the purpose of helping the other person be strong in the Lord or to help them become more like Jesus Christ.

Speak truthful words (Ephesians 4:25). It is not enough to just stop lying. You need to tell the truth. Sometimes we do not tell an outright lie, but in essence we lie by leaving out part of the story or by being deceitful in some other way. We must be cautious and realize that even when you are telling the truth, you can still be gossiping and painting the other person in a bad light. We need to be careful here.

Speak words that are of a good report (Philippians 4:8). If our thoughts are of good report, then our words will be too. These do not lead to slander and gossip. They think of the other person’s reputation in a favorable light. Thinking on things that are of a good report will lead to words that are of a good report.

Speak kind words (Proverbs 31:26). God says that the virtuous woman opens her mouth with wisdom, and the law of kindness governs her tongue. This means her speech is absent of gossip, slander, and malice towards others. She says nothing indiscreet or unwholesome.

Think before you speak (Proverbs 15:28). Learn to wait. Don’t speak in the heat of the moment. Pause and think about your words before you speak them. This will give you time to pray, calm down, weigh out the situation, and seek counsel. That will keep you out of a lot of trouble!

Don’t speak too much (Proverbs 10:19). If you continue to talk long enough, you are likely to say something that you should not have said. It is so easy to overstep the bounds of what is right. We need self-restraint in our speech. A godly woman is one who is not a yapper or a compulsive talker or a jabber-mouth.

Here are two good guidelines to follow: Speak only if the words are wise, speak only if they are kind. That way you will always have something to say that is worth saying (wisdom) and you will say it in the right way (kindness)!

Confess your sin (First John 1:9). If you find yourself thinking wrong thoughts about others, or are tempted to gossip about another person, stop yourself, recognize it as sin, and confess it to God. Ask Him to help you to resist the temptation of Satan. Avoid those settings that tend to lend themselves to gossip and avoid those women who are known to be gossips.

Use your tongue to glorify God. You were created to glorify God, and that includes your tongue. If you gossip and slander, you are perverting that purpose. Instead, spend your time praising and glorifying the Lord, and you won’t have time or inclination to gossip!

Nurture a heart of love for God. If you love the Lord, His Word, and others, then you won’t have a desire to gossip!
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