Note from Ann: I found this guest post from Sharon Kaufman in the archives, and I wanted to share it. At some point, I looked in the mirror (and at my children!) and realized I have become one of the women who can teach and help the younger women around me while still being nurtured by those who are more experienced and wise. I love Titus 2 and the message for women…it’s one we all need! I also love the wisdom that to make your heart and home beautiful you have to start inside yourself.
Guest Post by Sharon Kaufman
Could your house, with its tasteful and attractively arranged furnishings, make it into the pages of House Beautiful? Most of us would say, “No, but I’m working toward beautifying my home in such a way.” A well-cared-for and pleasingly outfitted home is what many godly women strive for.
But regardless of how visually stunning and impeccably organized our homes are, there is yet a greater priority for the Christian woman – the beautification of her heart.
The other day I took up reading John Piper’s The Pleasures of God where I had left off the day before:
“He beautifies the meek with salvation.” (Psalm 149:4)…God is an infinitely beautiful person…One of the ways God expresses His delight in this beauty is by giving it away to His people. He takes pleasure in them by adorning them…with His own beauty.” (The Pleasures of God by John Piper, page 186-87)
There you have it – the beautification of the heart, the Christian woman’s priority. Our homes will never really be beautiful until our hearts reflect back to God and to those around us the ever-increasing image of the loveliness of our Savior.
Proverbs 14:1 says, “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands”. The wise woman takes time to behold the beauty of the Lord and wait quietly as He instills that beauty within her. But godly, inner loveliness is of no consequence to the foolish woman. She may even be pursuing worthy goals – homeschooling, serving in women’s ministries, singing in the choir, etc. But these pursuits are vain without first sitting down at the feet of the Beautiful One.
So why should we be so beautified? Why? But for the glory of God put forth in our own little worlds. For women, this happens as we nurture others, as God has so designed. Regardless of our marital status, by prioritizing our time at Christ’s feet, we are empowered to nurture those God puts into our lives. It is the overflow of the Lord’s beauty, as the Spirit of God produces in us God’s quality of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control.
As nurturers, we have countless opportunities to profoundly influence the next generation with the beauty of the Lord, and it happens as we bring this beauty first into our own hearts. Even an unbelieving world acknowledges this “influence principle” in their secularistic way. I became aware of this fact after having read a magazine article about a man who educates young girls in northern Pakistan, a poverty stricken region where girls have never had the privilege of attending school.
In his own way, this former U.S. Army medic has gone to war against Islamic fundamentalists. His method is based on a simple yet profound idea: that by helping to provide secular education (especially for girls) in this most explosively unstable part of the world, support for the Taliban will slowly evaporate.
The importance of women as nurturers in the home and the huge impact that nurturing has upon society is obvious even to this man, having stated in the article that nothing would change in northern Pakistan until its girls are educated, for they are the ones who remain in the home and instill values in the upcoming generation.
Isn’t it interesting that in the little book of Titus, Paul instructs Titus, the pastor on the Island of Crete, to teach the older women how to train the younger women to love and submit to their husbands, to love their children, to be pure and kind, and to be workers at home? God had redeemed these women who were now exiting out of a culture in which it was customary for them to sip wine in excess and gossip maliciously.
It is significant that “of all the ways Paul could have instructed in how to combat the decadence of that culture, he told the older women to invest their energies in training the younger women to live Christianly in their own homes.” (Spiritual Mothering by Susan Hunt, p. 43).
What you do there, in your home, really does make a dramatic difference! By outwardly manifesting a heart that displays the exquisite character of Christ, that difference will resound for God’s glorious cause.
While it is important to look well to the ways of our homes, it is imperative that we first beautify our hearts. My little cottage may never be featured in House Beautiful: the couch is a bit threadbare and the carpet worn. If the beauty of the Lord dwells there, though, it is perfect.
May we find ourselves sitting at the feet of our stunning Savior, being adorned by Him so that His radiance and beauty may be enjoyed by all who dwell alongside us.