Friday, October 5, 2007
Devotional #10 (part 6 of 1 Timothy 4:12 study)
We have now come to part 6 in our devotional study of 1 Timothy 4:12! 1 Timothy 4:12 says, "Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity." We have now come to the part of the verse which commands us to be an example in spirit. If you have not had the chance to read the previous devotionals, please click here so that you can read them in order before you proceed with this one.
This is a very important one for us, ladies! 1 Peter 3:3-4 says, "Do not let your adornment be merely outward-arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel-rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God." As Christian ladies, it is our duty to be an example to other Christian females in the very important area of a gentle and quiet spirit. You can wear distinctly feminine clothing (i.e. skirts, dresses, jumpers, etc.) and still not be a true lady or completely feminine. I've watched old black-and-white movies before where the leading actress was wearing dresses or skirts throughout the movie, yet she was anything but feminine! Why? Because the way she spoke was rough, masculine, loud, immodest, gruff, etc. She did not possess a gentle and quiet spirit, and that sad truth came out so clearly in the way she spoke. I remember watching these such movies, and I would watch the actress and be completely turned off by the way she spoke. I had no desire to watch the rest of the movie, because the way in which she spoke was so unattractive! She wore skirts and dresses but she seemed so much like a man! However, contrast this type of a woman with a lady who speaks in a quiet, gentle, sweet, feminine tone of voice. When these particular women speak, it's like music to your ears, isn't it? The way they sound is just so beautiful, attractive, and very becoming. This manner of speaking adds to the lady's beauty, and her inner beauty just shines through radiantly. I have a great-grandmother who is exactly like this! It seems like nothing at all can make her angry. She never gives into her temper and never speaks in a loud, angry, rude, or unkind tone of voice. She is always quiet and gentle in her speech and manner of speaking, and her gentle and quiet spirit is just so evident. This is just one of the many reasons why I look up to her and desire to be like her-she is a true role model! So, ladies, practice daily to have a meek, gentle and quiet spirit. Practice gentle answers with your family. They will sometimes do things that hurt you, due to the fact that they make mistakes. They make say an unkind word, etc., but use this as the prime opportunity it really is to practice a gentle and quiet spirit! Forgive them and don't give into your temper. Rather, be kind, gentle, loving, sweet, meek and quiet in the way you speak to them. If you are in the habit of being boisterous, obnoxious, loud or immodest in your conversations due to the way you speak, stop that behavior now. It's very unbecoming to a lady and takes away from her true beauty. Rather be quiet in your tone of voice and in the manner in which you speak. Practice to possess a gentle and quiet spirit, for that will leak over into the way you speak, and you will find yourself speaking more like a true lady ought. Whatever you do, do not be obnoxious or boisterous in your tone of voice or in the manner in which you speak during conversations! Neither one of these is a characteristic of a true lady! These are not feminine characteristics at all, and so we should therefore put them off. Ask the Lord for the strength and ability to be more feminine in your way of speaking. Ask Him to develop in you a meek and quiet spirit. Ask Him for help to practice being gentle, meek and quiet in your tone of voice. He will do these things! Just trust in Him, rely on Him, and He will give you the ability to begin speaking in a more becoming fashion, rather than in loud, temper-driven speech. This is such an important area for us ladies!! If we ever hope to be an example for the believers in spirit, then this is an area that we must conquer!
We also must have a forgiving spirit if we hope to be the Christ-like example that we are called on to be. As I've said before, Christ is to be our example in all areas of our lives! We are to strive to be more and more like Him each and every day. Throughout God's Word, we see the command to be forgiving. Why? Because if we are Christians, that means that Christ forgave us! A redeemed and forgiven Christian has absolutely no right to not forgive others! We must be forgiving! Matthew 6:14-15 says, "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." In our families, we have many opportunities to practice forgiveness! So often, even though it should not be the case, the ones we love the most are the ones we hurt the most. There will probably be many times that a sibling does or says something to you that is unkind and unloving. Instead of giving into your temper and lashing out at them, instead practice forgiveness! Be loving, kind, and remember that always needed meek and quiet spirit-put that into practice as well. Forgive your siblings for whatever they did to you and however they wronged you. This is what Christ would do, and so it is therefore out duty and responsibility to do so as well! There are also times in which your parents may hurt you. They aren't perfect either, and they will at times make mistakes. Just forgive them! I know this is sometimes easier said than done, but the Lord will always give you the strength to do His will and to obey His commands! This is a really hard one, but we are also commanded throughout Scripture to forgive our enemies! I had to deal with this a lot when I was little. There was a girl (who had a really sad home life-parents divorced, older brother with the wrong croud, etc.) that would always say mean things to me. I didn't know why at the time (the real reason, I later found out, was that she was unhappy due to her home life, and that affected how she treated others). All I knew was that she was hurting my feelings a lot! I was a very sensitive child, and even if this girl looked at me wrong, I would feel immediately like crying. But all these verses about forgiving your enemies kept popping out at me! I didn't want to forgive her-I didn't even think I could forgive her. When I, a short time later, realized why she was so mean to others, I couldn't help but feel so sorry for her! I did forgive her, and that is something that we all must do! There are times when we have enemies, and they make life miserable for us. We may, at times, want to get back at them. But this is not the response that a Christian should make!! We have no idea what this person's circumstances may be! We should feel sorry for them, forgive them, and yes, pray for them! This is all commanded in Matthew 5:43-48. We must remember what is said in Romans 12:17-21:"Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord. Therefore 'If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.' Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." This ought to be our response to all of our enemies and their wrongdoings to us! We should be loving, kind, sweet, and forgiving to them! And we must possess a meek, gentle and quiet spirit! Every time someone hurts you (such as an enemy) go to that person and tell them that you forgive them. They may never ask for your forgiveness, but go to them anyway, and lovingly tell them that you forgive them. This is how a Christian must act! For if we are not forgiving to our enenies, we are no better than the pagans and we are not being an example or role model at all, and we're definitely not immitating Christ as we ought!
We also must possess the fruits of the Spirit! I don't have the time to touch on this at the moment, but as soon as this devotional study is over, I will be moving on to a devotional series over Galatians 5:22-23, which covers all of the fruits of the Spirit, in hopes that it will be of help to you, and will better equip you to be an example to the believers in spirit!
I pray that this devotional series is continuing to be a blessing and encouragement and strength to you! Please return on Monday for part 7 of this series, for a devotional on us being an example in faith!
Have a wonderful weekend and a blessed Lord's Day!