What’s a Girl to Do? Part 2: Be Growing in Godliness

June 11, 2012

He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds. Titus 2:14

Perhaps you read the last post on the necessity of being teachable (exhibiting humility and honor toward older women), but you’re protesting with: “Yes, yes, we get it! But honestly, I am teachable. I’m just like that younger woman who begged the older woman to participate in care groups and to share her wisdom. I want the encouragement and training of older women, but no one is doing this for me.” (How’s that for putting words in your mouth?!)

While I think there are some things we can do to attract this type of relationship, in the meantime we still have the personal responsibility to be growing in godliness. And I am defining “godliness” as growing in holiness and in good works because according to Titus 2:14 Jesus gave himself for this purpose: “to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, (holiness) and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds (there’s the good works part) Young women, let’s be growing in godliness because:

1) Our growth is God’s purpose for our lives (Titus 2:14)

2) Our spiritual growth will actually commend us to godly older women instead of tempting them to “despise our youth.” (I Tim 4:12)

3) We need to be prepared to be the older woman.

6 Principles for growing in godliness

1) Meditate on the gospel for your motivation to grow. Remember your past. Recall all that God has done for you in Jesus. It is your defense against every kind of temptation. The gospel is simply the good news that God in his kindness has moved to redeem–rather than destroy–a race of rebels. He determined to pursue those rebels and to recreate their hearts to love him. While we were still sinners (and very unlovely) He sent his own Son to suffer the punishment for our sins. God’s wrath toward sin was turned on Jesus and exhausted on him. He forsook his Son who perfectly obeyed his every command. But because of these perfections he raised Jesus to a new life and guaranteed our own future resurrection and new life with him in Heaven. Because of Jesus’ work, God’s disposition toward us is no longer one of anger and condemnation but one of complete acceptance, delight, mercy, and favor! (Romans 8, Zephaniah 3:17, Hebrews 4:16, Hebrews 10:19-22, Colossians 1:19-22, Ephesians 2:1-8, I Thessalonians 1:9) Isn’t he good to us?! Doesn’t that good news inspire you to live a life worthy of this calling? But the gospel isn’t just a motivator–it is actually the engine that powers our growth.

2. Meditate on the gospel as your power to grow. Through Jesus’ work, God not only delivered us from the punishment for our sin but also from its power over us. We rejoice in this truth at church when we sing Rock of Ages, calling Jesus’ blood a “double cure.” It “save(s) from wrath and make(s) us pure.” If we have repented of our sins and trusted in Jesus, we can actually please God now. We are no longer slaves to sin, but have a new ability to do good. We can live the life God intended for Adam and Eve to live when he first created them. Now of course we often feel a disconnect between what is actually true about us (freedom from sin) and how we often live (repeated failures). We are still dealing with indwelling sin. (Romans 7) But, this leads to the next principle for growth–that God in his mercy toward his frail, “prone to wander” creatures, has made every provision for us to grow and lead holy lives, committed to good works.

3. Remember that God has made every provision for us to live like righteous children of God. (2 Peter 1:3) Not only has he freed us from sin and its power over us, he provides abundant grace to help us in our frailty. He has given us His spirit—the helper, the comforter, and the one who guides us into truth, reveals sin, and produces the fruit that is compatible with our new life. (John 14-16; Galatians 5) He has given us his Word, and the perfect example of Jesus’ earthly life. He has given us the church and gifted it with able pastors, teachers and leaders. (Eph 4) He has placed older women in the church who are practiced in daily submitting to God, fleeing sin and doing good works to guide us younger women. (Titus 2) He promises to always provide a way to escape temptation. (I Cor 10: 13) He has given us music to stir our emotions and to encourage our hearts with truth. So, sin is simply a betrayal of the truth. In the moment that we sin, we are not believing that God has fully equipped us to do what is right. But, we do still sin, don’t we? So a fourth principle for growth is to:

4. Remember that God is just and forgives us when we fail (I John 1:9). He forgives out of the same heart of justice that crushed Jesus for our sin. He recognizes that those sins we daily commit have been paid for and he would be unjust to exact a second punishment. He forgives–again and again.

5. Keep the perspective that God is always out for our good. And “good” does not imply earthly happiness, pleasure, comfort, and leisure. On the contrary, according to Scripture, it always includes discipline, the sacrifice of personal ambition, trials, suffering and persecution on some level. His “good” is something bigger and ultimately much more satisfying—our conformity to the likeness of Jesus and enabling us to “share in God’s holiness” (Romans 8, Hebrews 12:10,11). Jesus’ path to glory was one of humbling circumstances, rejection, persecution, and intense suffering in both the physical and mental sense. God used this suffering of Jesus to “perfect” him according to Hebrews 2:10. He uses our troubles to the same end. He is perfecting us. This is an area where older women can especially help us. Many of them have walked through deep waters and can testify to the faithfulness and goodness of God through difficult times.

6. Commit yourself to doing good works and inspire others toward love and good works as well. (Heb 10:24) According to Ephesians 2:10 “God created us anew in Christ Jesus so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” These good works are born out of a love for God and a love for his creatures. They are the natural by products of someone walking in the spirit. The more godly we become, the more our lives mirror Jesus’ life of complete devotion to his Father’s will, compassion toward the lost, eager self-sacrifice, and continual exhortation and encouragement of the doubters, the zealots, the self-righteous, the despairing, the faint-hearted and the suffering. Let’s commit ourselves to “do good to all people, and especially to those in the household of faith.” (Gal 6:10)

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