To Be Discreet

We have been looking at things that God commands the older women to teach the younger women: to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children. We want to look now at the next things on the list: To be Discreet


You do not have to look very far today to find young women lacking in discretion. Discretion is not a word that we use very often, but today we might call it just good old common sense. The definition for the word discreet is as follows: Prudent, wise in avoiding errors or evil and in selecting the best means to accomplish a purpose.

Synonyms would include sober-minded, self-controlled, discerning, cautious, reserved, temperate, sensible, and reasonable. Wow! That is a pretty tall order!

God wants us as godly women to think wisely, to act wisely, and to live wisely. This involves our total being—body, soul, and spirit.

But it all starts with right thinking. If a woman is not thinking rightly, she will not act properly. She will not make wise choices. Wrong thinking also causes wrong emotions, which leads to wrong actions. A woman who is discreet will be sober-minded. She will be careful in her conduct and will possess common sense and good judgment.

The opposite of discretion would be foolishness, rashness, impulsive, emotional, and improper behavior. It would be characterized by such things as speaking or acting foolishly; doing things before asking permission (of God, of husband or father); letting it “all hang out”; acting without thinking; saying things to intentionally hurt others; or giving in to impulse and emotion.

God’s description of a woman who is not discreet is found in Proverbs 11:22, “As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.”  Not a very pretty description, is it? Who would put a beautiful gold ring with jewels in a pig’s nose? It is not something that you expect to see. And if you did happen to see such a sight, it would definitely get your attention and would be something you would point out to others. Why? Because it is so foolish and so inappropriate!

Likewise, a lovely woman who acts foolishly and without discretion is as unattractive and as inappropriate as a filthy, unclean pig with an expensive jeweled nose-ring in its snout! When people see her, it definitely gets their attention because it is not something that they would expect to see. And as she makes a spectacle and a fool of herself, others point her out in disbelief.

How do you, as an older woman, teach discretion to the younger women in your life? First, since you teach by example as well as by words, you need to make sure that wisdom and discretion are part of your life and are seen in the choices you make and the things that you do.

Second, look for areas that show lack of discretion and wisdom in a younger woman’s life. Point these out to her and help her to see what God says and how she can improve. How can we teach younger women to be discreet, to be sensible?

Teach her to have biblical priorities.

Many of the young women today want it all right now. They want a husband and children and an education and a career, and not necessarily in that order! Consequently, they may make unwise decisions just to have it their way.

A young Christian wife and mother needs to remember that her main ministry is to be in the home. She is to serve God, her husband, her children, and also her church. Often her priorities are unwise and unbiblical. She may be very busy but not necessarily doing what God wants her to do.

She may try to pile on too many responsibilities, thinking she can handle it all. In doing so, she ends up neglecting her husband, her children, and her home. Time-consuming ministries outside the home are not usually very wise for a young wife and mother.

It is also important to realize that just because a young woman is doing something for the Lord, it may not necessarily be what the Lord desires for her to do at that time. When they neglect their own family and go against the counsel of their husband, their priorities become unbiblical.

This does not mean that it is wrong for her to do things outside the home. But she needs to be sure her priorities are in order—God first, husband next, children next, then church, then others. She needs to be wise with the use of her time and energy.

Teach her to stay within her budget.

Another area where the older woman can teach and encourage the younger woman is the area of finances. Many young women do not know how to make up a budget, and then how to stick with it. Generally, the root problem underlying this temptation is discontentment with what God has given her.

One of the most important influences an older woman can have over a younger woman is to help her learn gratefulness and contentment, and to watch out for grumbling and complaining. Teach her to exercise self-control when the money is tight and simply not to go shopping or write any checks, or charge things on the credit card.

In today’s society of instant credit and slick advertising, sinful desires coupled with a young woman’s inexperience and a selfish heart make it very hard to resist the temptation to buy things she really doesn’t need. Many women will go shopping when they feel depressed or anxious. When they buy something, they feel better for awhile. Eventually, they feel guilty and more anxious and depressed as they try to figure out how to pay for their new goodies.

We need to teach the young woman to be grateful and to thank the Lord for what she has. Help her to see that discontentment is actually covetousness, because a person desires what God has not given them. Teach her how to exercise self-control by simply not going shopping.

Teach her to think Biblically.

Another area you can teach discretion in is the area of right thinking. Philippians 4:8 is the measuring stick for what right thinking looks like. Every thought that comes into our mind should be measured by it.

Teach the younger woman to judge her thoughts to be sure she is thinking biblically. Are her thoughts true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, or praise-worthy? Teach her how to recognize her wrong thoughts, how to measure them up against God’s Word, and then to see what God has to say about the subject.

When she has gotten God’s opinion on the situation, then she needs to bring those wrong thoughts into captivity, and replace them with God’s thoughts (Second Corinthians 10:5).


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