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Faithlife Corporation

Grace-Energized Mothers Deal with Bitterness

Notes & Transcripts

March 16,2012

By John Barnett

Read, print and listen to this resource on our website www.DiscoverTheBook.org

The decline and fall of the human race is set forth in Romans 1.

Curiously, right in between all of those dreadful sins is one that seems to have always stood in the way of mothers loving their children to the max. Here it is in Romans 1:26-30.

Romans 1:26-30 "For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;" NKJV

You see not much has changed in two thousand years, the same old sins are still swirling around and the same challenges face each of us.

God wanted the lost pagans living on Crete to see their changed lives and be confronted with living examples of Jesus Christ. Society was to be flooded at every level with the irrefutable proof of changed lives.

Grace-energized Wives and Mothers Have Two Qualities Everyone Could See

So Paul told all the grace-energized wives and mothers in the church to have two qualities everyone could detect. Listen again to them in Titus 2:

Titus 2:4 "that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children," NKJV

For a believer both sacrificial giving (agape) love is commanded as well as emotional, caring, friendship (phileo) love. We have been studying these admonitions in Titus 2. These life-truths have always deeply impacted any society. When the Gospel that brings this impossible life into the heart of a newly saved individual starts to work through Christ's church, the world takes notice.

So what would hinder these grace-energized mothers from loving their children? As we saw last time, the most formidable hindrance may be bitterness, but the most common hindrance may be selfishness. One hindrance that is always with us, is our flesh that wants to go its way instead of God’s. That is the hindrance of selfishness.

Grace-energized Wives and Mothers Are Hindered by Selfishness

God has high standards. He says “nothing” can be done that is eternal, nothing enduring, nothing that pleases Him can be done energized-by-self.

Philippians 2:3-4" Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others." NKJV

He only blesses, accepts, and desires grace-energized love. Only love for husbands and children that is energized by grace is acceptable and glorifying to Him.

Each of us were born selfish. Babies cry for their own needs, not others. Toddlers do not wage battles for others, it is their own space, their own toys, and their own sinful desire for attention that prompts the terrible two’s.

Watching most teenagers is a study in the art of self-absorbtion as their life is consumed by the upkeep of their little world. And sadly, physical maturity does not end this spiritual problem.

Adults retain most of the selfish desires of childhood and youth, they just are able to mask them better the older they get. A basic description of most adults in America would be that they are individuals who have these priorities: the satisfaction of their own personal needs and desires, the maintenance of their own good feelings about themselves, and the preservation of their own personal rights.

As we turn to II Timothy 3 this evening, we find a “prophecy” of what the world will be like in the “last days”. Our present-day pleasure seeking, self-serving culture closely and ominously mirrors Paul’s warnings of the “last days”:

2 Timothy 3:1-7 "But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." NKJV

To the hedonistic culture of Roman Crete, and to the equally pleasure-seeking and narcissistic culture of today, God gives the same message. We are to be self-denying, others-ahead-of-ourselves-choosing believers.

That self-sacrificing lifestyle is never easy, always strange to the culture, and constantly glorifying to God. God made happiness, peace, and joy to grow only along the narrow pathway of grace-energized self-denial.

When wives and mothers heed this call for grace-energized love for their husbands and children, they begin down that narrow pathway of self-denial. Grace-energized love for husbands and children leads to the deepest happiness, joy, and fulfillment.

But when God’s pathway of self-denial is un-followed, His admonitions unheeded, and life gets “graceless” without the grace of God energizing a life, marriage, and family--there is only emptiness, frustration, and sorrows.

How is this grace-energized emotional love for your husband and children cultivated? Paul explains that in Romans 12:10.

Romans 12:10 "Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;" NKJV

Love is encouraged when selfishness is mortified.

Selfishness will hinder, thwart, and stifle this grace-energized love God wants from wives and mothers.

But selfishness isn’t the biggest hindrance, we already saw the one that is far more deadly, and it is called bitterness. As we have studied, bitterness is a deadly cancer that grows rapidly and produces a deadly poison that paralyzes a believer’s love, robs their joy, and ends their peace. It zaps their spiritual strength and removes God’s blessing from their lives. So at all costs, avoid bitterness.

Spotting Signs of Bitterness

What are the warning signs of bitterness? As I list off some of the most common signs of bitterness, ask yourself as a grace-energized wife or mother (and everyone else listening) are you showing any of these signs of bitterness?

It is really not that complicated to recognize that bitterness has set in. Let's think of some of the characteristics of a bitter person:

• They show a lack of concern for others. A bitter person cares very little about anybody else.

• They're very sensitive and touchy. For instance, if a bitter person walks into a room where two other people are talking, and those people get quieter as he walks in, the bitter person thinks, “They're talking about me.”

• They tend to avoid meeting new people, show little or no gratitude at all, and usually speak words of empty flattery or harsh criticism.

• They hold grudges against people, often for a long, long time. They find it extremely difficult to forgive.

• They often have a stubborn or sulking attitude.

• They end up experiencing mood extremes - very high and happy one minute, and the next thing you know, they're so low they can reach up and touch bottom.

• Bitterness can be called the seed of Hell because one of the worst things about bitterness is that it doesn't stop… it keeps getting worse. It may only start as a little seed of hurt, but then it grows and festers into a very dangerous thing.

Bitterness is one of the more deadly cancers of the spiritual life of the believer. If you are infected by bitterness, get out of your self-imposed prison now, don’t stay in a moment longer. Paul said that the Spirit of God, in the power of Christ's cross can set you free. The escape route has been marked for us by the One who should have had all the reasons in the world to be bitter but was not.

Getting Out of The Bitterness Trap

Have you ever notice that line in the Lord’s Prayer? Often we have said it so many times we skip right over it. “Forgive us God the way we have forgiven others”. God wants us to forgive others and not cultivate bitterness. Forgiving others isn’t denying that they hurt us, or ignoring it either. Denial is mindless foolishness, God wants us to face real problems with real solutions from His Word.

Getting out of the bitterness trap starts by honestly confronting hurts in our life—and as those energized-by-grace, doing something about each hurt-induced wound!

Here are some basic steps.

1) Make a list of the people who've hurt you. This is always easiest for us because that is what we remember the best—the offenses others commit against us. Just jot names and things they have done to hurt you. Here are some typical hurts: “My parents didn't keep their promises.” “They gave more love and affection to other members of the family.” “My dad took out his bad temper on me.” “My wife tries to make me into something I'm not.” “My friend wasn't there when I needed him,” etc.

2) Make another list of the things you have done to hurt them. Whoa, this is the hard part. Pride effectively edits our memories of the wrongs we do by shifting the blame, hiding our guilt, and so on. Our flesh likes our faults to stay hidden from others, so pray and ask God to shine the light of the Spirit upon your heart and expose ways you have harmed others.

One of the hardest things to do is to really clear the debts between parents and children. You could put down things like: laziness, ungratefulness (when was the last time you ever thanked your parents - just called them and thanked them?), deceitfulness (what have you done behind their backs to make them distrust you?), etc.

Making a list of those I have wronged is vital. Only when we agree with God about our sin, and see it as He sees it—can we be forgiven (I John 1:9). One of the results of making such a list is that we find that in most of the ways that we have been hurt—we hurt others. My pride maximizes others faults and minimizes mine. This exercise will bring reality into focus.

3) Take a good look at how you have hurt the Lord. Now we are at the most important place in our grace-energized journey out of bitterness. This is the most life-changing step. Get down on your face before God and ask Him to reveal all the ways you have hurt Him. God's Word says He is grieved when we sin. Do we miss that terrible truth? Spurgeon said, “For it is an inexpressibly delightful thought, that He who rules heaven and earth, and is the creator of all things, and the infinite and ever blessed God, condescends to enter into such infinite relationships with his people that his divine mind may be affected by their actions.”

Each area the Spirit convicts you about, revealing where you have grieved God, confess and forsake, making no excuses to God. God said Christ's blood cleanses away our sins not our excuses. We are transformed as we see that though God has been deeply hurt (grieved) yet He loves and forgives us and NEVER gets embittered towards us.

People closets to us can hurt us the most—right? Now as a believer think about who knows every thought, hears every word, feels every emotion we have ever had. God does, right? We have the potential to hurt God so much, and we do. Yet He forgives. Because He forgives He demands that we must do so also to all who hurt us.

The Bible says that “The Lord was grieved that He had made man on the earth, and His heart was filled with pain.” (Genesis 6:6) The phrase “heart filled with pain” literally means ‘to have difficulty in breathing’. God made this beautiful creation, and then He sees people not only hating and killing each other, but hating Him, too. And all that hurt goes deep, deep into His heart. We forget that God has a perfect memory. We only see a little bit - He sees it all, continuously. We only live a short time - He lives forever. When God looked at the world He made, He gasped with pain and horror. It hurt Him.

4) Pray, and ask the forgiveness of God and man. Now comes the simplest and hardest part of our task. Get alone with your list of how you hurt God and others and ask God to work in your heart. One by one confess them to God, then ask for and receive His forgiveness for every thing you have listed (and more as He reminds you). Then you need to tear up that list and get rid of it. Just doing that is a picture of how God wipes out, erases, washes clean, and removes our sins. Then you need to get in touch with those you have hurt and either by letter, email, phone, or in person ask for their forgiveness.

5) Destroy your files. Finally, there is one more vital step to take. There is still a copy of that list, it is in your mind. God says that He can also wipe that file clean. Hebrews 9:14 and 10:22 say that the blood of Christ, through the Eternal Spirit will purge your conscience from things that defile, and will allow you to get close to the Lord with a pure heart, confident you are right with Him, and as much as is possible with others.

Open the filing cabinets of your mind, take out all the files, and get rid of them. Tear up your list and burn it. You must release it all to God. Forgiveness is opening the filing cabinet before God and clearing the debts. “I'm not going to hold this against them. I'm not even going to keep a record of it.”

No record. That's what God does with you. Do you want Him to remember and recall all the debts He has cleared you of? You do the same.

The Bible says, “For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” (Matt. 6.14-15)

It's a choice you must make in response to God's offer of forgiveness to you. What will you do?

Christ's Church Needs Grace-Energized Wives and Mothers

The Titus Two woman is an imperfect person, saved by God, and energized by His grace to live an exemplary life as described in Titus 2:3-4. So we could easily say that:

• Grace-energized-women—are reverent in their behavior,

• Grace-energized-women —are not slanderers,

• Grace-energized-women—are not given to much wine,

• Grace-energized-women —are teachers of good things, and

• Grace-energized-women—are discipling younger women.

Those new believers, fresh out of paganism needed coaching, training, modeling, and encouraging in a one-on-one relationship. Godly behavior is a series of choices; and those men and women had to be nurtured in daily skills that would lead to loving marriages and families.

Women energized by grace love their children. That is what Titus 2:4 says. We are going to see how to love children with love they can feel this evening. But before we do that we need to ask why are we even here tonight? Why do we even sacrifice another hour-plus to gather in this building and study God's Word? The answer is that we desire to be a faithful part of Christ's church !

If you want a summary of our lives as believers it would be: We were saved by God’s grace; we are kept by God’s grace; and we live in a way that pleases God and earns His rewards—energized by His grace.

God’s plan to work in the world is His church. Christ's church may be described as a group of people, energized by grace, doing the impossible for the glory of God. A key insight into God’s plan to reach the world through Christ's church is in Titus chapter 2.

The verses of this chapter contain a call to First Century men and women energized by grace to live an extraordinary spiritual life in a very unspiritual culture.

When grace energizes us we want to deny ungodliness in any form we find it cropping up in our lives. When God’s grace energizes us we want to mortify lust in any form in our lives.

The Cretan church was saved, bought from the slave market of sin (redeemed), but still had clinging to their lives the garbage of their culture. They had generations of bad habits, false thinking, and warped lives.

What was the plan God had in mind to transform these very un-saintly people? The same plan He has for all of us today. Save them by His grace and sanctify them by His Word.

As long as the power was on in their lives, as long as they operated energized by grace the old ways, the lusts of the flesh, and all the manifestations of pride were held back. But whenever the power was interrupted and they did not walk in the Spirit—the old corrupt ways of the flesh would spring to life.

As believers this morning we are on the journey of new beginnings through Christ—energized each step of the way by grace.

v. 4b “the young women to love their husbands” (6) Wives energized by grace love their husbands.

Wives energized by grace are first of all “lovers of their husbands”.

v. 4c “to love their children” Grace-energized-mothers love their children.

This characteristic is also one word in the Greek text, philoteknos and it means to be a lover of children.

Secondly, grace-energized-mothers love their children. That is what Titus 2:4 says. And this love is phileo love that can be felt. That is a grace-energized-mother’s special ministry in Christ's church !

From time to time it becomes so very hard to take care of children that a mom of any century in history no longer “feels” positive feelings towards her children.

So how did God instruct Paul to prepare Christ's church for these great social challenges and family pressures? Again, Titus 2 has the solution. God says that the way that tired, burned out, and depressed mothers get relief is from the faithful army of Titus 2 grace-energized role models.

The Bible clearly explains and illustrates this love that was modeled by Christ. This special phileo love is demonstrated by Jesus Himself. This type of close, companionship and friendship, emotional love is how Christ's relationship is described with Lazarus (John 11:3) and with “the disciple He loved” named John (John 20:2). This is also the word used in Revelation 3:19 for Christ's love for true saints in His church.

Jesus demonstrated His love to Lazarus and all who saw that friendship knew how close they were. The same was seen in Christ's closeness to the Apostle John. That is how Jesus loves us, and wants us to know He loves us, feeling His closeness, and enjoying His friendship.

And that phileo love that is emotional, close, and visible is what the Lord asks from grace-energized mothers towards their children.

Give The Priceless Gift of Love to Your Children

Do your loved ones in your family feel your love?

Just as many husbands think that their wives admire other men more than them as they relate how, “So-and-so’s husband does this and that with his children or for his wife…”. Those men do not feel the respect and admiration of their wives.

Likewise, many wives feel that their husbands think other women are either better at caring for their husbands, prettier, or better at caring for their families than they are. Those women do not feel the love of their husbands.

• But most importantly for Titus 2 mothers energized by grace , we need to consider that many kids hurt because they sense that their parents don’t even like them.

This absence of loving approval, can lead to untold pain; whereas loved ones who feel approval and love face the daily challenges in their world with eagerness and confidence.

Do you remember how Paul cultivated this type of love with a needy young man named Timothy? The mighty pastor of the church at Ephesus was also a young man with many physical and emotional needs. Paul discipled Timothy with love that could be seen and felt.

Paul Loved his “son” Timothy

Paul loved his “son” in the faith. So as our example, how was his “love” for Timothy his “son” in the faith expressed? One of the most beautiful testimonies to the power of encouragement (or affirmation) in the New Testament is in the life of the Apostle Paul. If you read Paul’s letters to Timothy you can hear Paul tenderly encouraging Timothy.

So Paul loved Timothy with love he could feel. Paul “affirmed” Timothy, and used tender and encouraging words to help him as his son in the faith Timothy. These exhortations were tenderly given to a struggling man.

Practice Ways to Make your Love Felt

Grace-energized-mothers make sure their loved ones feel their love. To help them receive and be touched by your love, we can try to use those several key ingredients that we see in both Christ's and Paul’s ministry. These small choices always help us to communicate affirmation and encouragement.

1. Grace-energized-mothers love their children in a way that can be felt when they use meaningful touches with them.

That is what Jesus did (Mark 10:16) when he blessed the children, He was always touching those He ministered to. He could have healed them with a word, eight times in Mark alone Jesus touches those He served. So should we! The act of touch is a key to communicating warmth and affirmation. It is even essential to physical health. Be generous with your hugs.

2. Grace-energized-mothers love their children in a way that can be felt when they prepare special words for them.

Remember how we saw that Paul used tender and encouraging words to help his son in the faith Timothy. He doesn’t belittle him for his weaknesses and tears. We should always remember that hugs aren’t enough.

Tell your children how you feel about them! Those who are left to fill in the blanks often feel worthless and insecure. At best, only confusion can come from silence. Far too many of us are really not that encouraging.

It’s not that we have a critical spirit. Rather, we just say nothing. Our loved ones are not mind readers. We can do better than just expecting them to know we are in their corner, loving and admiring them silently. They need to hear it!

Grace-energized-mothers make an effort to catch them doing something good, right, thoughtful, considerate, well done, etc. and point it out. Highlight it! "Hey, you really handled that situation very well."

3. Grace-energized-mothers love their children in a way that can be felt when they attach high value to them.

Remember what we saw in Paul, how he told Timothy he had a “treasure” entrusted him; and that he was “gifted”; and that God was “going to use him”. Grace-energized-mothers tell their children the qualities you admire in them.

4. Grace-energized-mothers love their children in a way that can be felt when they picture a bright future for them.

Paul told Timothy about a “crown” that was awaiting him as he ran the “race” set before him; and that the Lord was going to “reward” him. So we also should express what God can do with them as they follow Him in their life.

Grace-energized-mothers explain to their children how they can become the greatest servant of the Lord in what ever field God has gifted them. Explain why you think their gifts and character traits will be useful throughout their lives. Avoid the overuse of negative admonitions; use Biblical affirmations to inspire confident dependence upon God.

5. Grace-energized-mothers love their children in a way that can be felt when they make a commitment to walk through life with them.

Stand by your loved one through the months and years ahead to help make your words of affirmation become a reality. Express ways you want to be a deeper part of their life (monthly dates, weekly prayer studies, nightly prayer times, on going shared prayer list, etc.)

Don’t quit as soon as you miss a scheduled time because of a conflict or your loved one hurts or discourages you, or your child fails in some area. What words rang in Christ's disciples ears from the “Great Commission”? For the rest of their life they heard Him say, “I am with YOU always!”

6. Grace-energized-mothers love their children in a way that can be felt when they make a commitment to pray through life with them.

Grace-energized-mothers pray for their children. Let them know you’ve done so. Start a life-long prayer list with specific areas that you have learned from them need prayer, and then PRAY. Ask for updates. Celebrate answers. Pray together.

If you are not praying for them each day, who is? Regardless of the age, they need you to lift them up before the Lord in prayer each day. Think about their day. Think about their setting. Think about the people they will be with. Pray about these situations. We need all the help we can get, and much of what happens to us or to our children in this life is beyond our control. John 17 is Christ's model prayer for us to treasure just as His disciples did back then as they heard Him pray for THEM.

That is giving them a heart that prays.

7. Grace-energized-mothers love their children in a way that can be felt when they become a student of their child’s life.

Jesus started His ministry with the Twelve by one simple plan in Mark 3:14, “and He ordained 12 that they should be with Him”. Watch them, share their ups and downs; know where they are in their spiritual life, their school life, work life, home life. Find out who they are close to and who they are not close to—and why.

• Take an interest in whatever seems to interest your children. Get into his or her world.

• Be lovingly persistent in communicating with your children. That is, keep trying to set up times when meaningful communication can occur.

• Share activities. Go to the grocery store, try a family time camping together, or even just ask them to do what you are doing with you (cooking, yard work, running errands). It is always loving to want them, include them, and ask for them to spend time with you.

• Take the initiative in asking your children questions. Have an endless learning time asking about what they think, what they feel, what they like or don’t like—and why. Learn their favorite flavor, favorite food, favorite activity, dreamed of place to go, and so much more. Write it down afterward to see what you remembered, and ask again until you do remember. Then surprise them with something they like!

• Listen to your children with full attention. Let her see your eyes light up when they talk to you.

8. Grace-energized-mothers love their children in a way that can be felt when they meet their needs with love: a regular schedule of nutritious meals, clean clothes, clean bodies, adequate sleep and rest. Give them a heart that serves. And as we do so we add to that more gifts:

Give them a heart that rejoices and is filled with happiness. Psalm 113:9 describes a “joyful” mother.

Give them a heart that gives like Christ's (Mark 10:45): because love gives (John 3:16); because love is generous (II Cor. 9:6); because love expects nothing back (Luke 6:35).

Give them a heart that plays and is full of fun.

Give them a heart that celebrates all their special days (Matthew 5:41); and since we have to do all those things in the family, why not make them special!

Give them a heart that prefers your family first (Titus 2:4 says they are your first priority).

Give them a heart that is focused (Matthew 6:24).

Give them a heart that is present and attentive (Psalm 119:10 ‘my whole heart’).

Give them a heart that trusts in the Lord (Isaiah 26:3 ‘perfect peace…trusts’).

Dorothy Patterson, one of the authors of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, puts the issue into focus:

“A mother builds something far more magnificent than any cathedral the dwelling place for an immortal soul…No professional pursuit so uniquely combines the most menial tasks with the most meaningful opportunities.”

Grace-Energized-Mothers Cultivate Spiritual Assets

A servant of God has their heart set on spiritual treasures and measures life by the acquisition of spiritual assets rather than merely physical assets. Do you keep track of your Spiritual Assets? Often we know our house value, our retirement investment value, the worth of our collections and treasures—but do you keep an inventory of spiritual assets? What are some of our spiritual assets?

These are things like:

• Knowing where your kid’s are reading in God's Word so they remember when they grow up and leave home that you always cared how they were doing spiritually.

• Asking your husband or wife each week what they are finding in God's Word that is helping them to make it through the day. And, actually remembering what they said the last time because you care. This is a spiritual treasure because it forges a strong bond in your hearts of a shared spiritual walk.

• Finding and learning scripture memory verses that you share in common with your loved ones are a spiritual treasure. Not hundreds or even dozens, but a handful that you all have learned and share in common. What a treasure to quote them around the living room when the power goes out, or an ice storm cancels church, or when you are traveling, to have this body of Scripture that you together as a couple and a family learned is a true spiritual treasure. Some of the more valuable passages are Psalm 23, the love chapter--I Corinthians 13, the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5, and key verses on the tongue and faith in James.

• Collecting testimonies of salvation is a record of each person’s greatest treasure, isn’t it? The only thing that lasts forever from this world will be people and whatever we send up to Heaven before we leave. So, who are you taking to Heaven with you? Have you heard, understood, and savored the testimonies of your family? Can you tell your husband’s or wife’s testimony? How about your children? What an incredible treasure is our salvation. Take a spiritual inventory of the status of each soul around you in those you love.

• Recording and remembering those spiritual milestones, have you started on this spiritual asset yet? Do you record your loved ones salvation date, baptism date, when they started the habit of personal devotional quiet times, what they are doing in that QT? Have you started yet to celebrate each other’s spiritual birthdays? Do you keep a record of, share and celebrate any souls led to Christ by you or by loved ones, and then uphold them by prayer? Who can your family say that you as a family are “taking to Heaven”?

• Finally, one of the great spiritual treasures is a lifelong prayer journal. Even if you’ve never started, it is never too late to start watching God at work through prayer. Any type of list will do, just date it, hold onto it, and be specific enough in your requests—and there you have it—an actual record of the God of Heaven moving in and through your life by prayer. A list of family needs, specific challenges, hurdles, obstacles, great goals, and so on are all prayed over. As well the verses for Christ's formation in the lives of those you love are always such a tool. Just a sheet of paper, dated, written out and prayed over faithfully until it wears out and then a new one started will harvest great spiritual gains and treasures.

Grace-Energized-Mothers Cultivate Habits that Demonstrate their Love

1. Mothers Energized by Grace love their children anyway. Yes I know you love them. Most of us parents adore our children — most of the time. Yet, some parents have a way of regularly communicating to their children that they do not measure up. I’m thinking now about the young girl who grew up in a family where she was seen as the dunce. Now as a young woman, she continues to experience the same from her family. Children need parents who will believe in them and no matter what will love them anyway.

2. Mothers Energized by Grace prepare their children for the battleground, not the playground. Some parents constantly buy their children toys, gadgets, candy, McDonalds, etc. The kids then get into their high school years and the pampering continues. Only now, the toys are much more expensive. What does that communicate to these children? Meanwhile, other parents prepare their children for life on the battleground where a spiritual battle is taking place. These parents realize that children need more than toys. They need to be equipped for life so that they will survive the difficulties and trials they will face.

3. Mothers Energized by Grace deal with their own issues. There are no perfect human beings. Yet, if you don’t deal with your own issues (your sins, your insecurities, your feelings of inadequacy, etc.), these can impact your children. They may end up having to deal with some of the very issues you would never grapple with.

4. Mothers Energized by Grace take every opportunity to remind them of who they are in Christ. They will, most likely, receive many false messages about their identity. They will be told that their worth is based upon their academic record, their physical attractiveness, their charm, their ability to make money, etc. You bless your children when you help them grow up with a sense of their real identity.

5. Mothers Energized by Grace bless your children by giving them you. Jesus called the 12 to spend time with Him (Mark 3:14) and that was the great expression of His love. So should we commit to spend time with those we love. There is no substitute for your presence in their lives. Your regular, consistent, emotional and physical presence means so much. I have known a few parents who seem to see their child as one more activity on the list of things to be done for the day. Yet one senses there is no real connection between parent and child. Being attentive and giving one-on-one time are priceless gifts to children.

6. Mothers Energized by Grace say only what communicates value, respect, and love. Choose to never say or do anything that will humiliate. Sometimes, families will tell embarrassing, humiliating, stories about their children. The child is embarrassed at this but then the parent says, "I’m just kidding." (In other words, "Since I think this is funny, you shouldn’t let this bother you.") Listen, we all do things in our families that are silly, stupid, mindless, careless, etc. I have found that it is much better for me to tell about something silly or stupid that I did — not my children. Children need to know that homes are safe places where one’s mistakes are not announced to the world.

7. Mothers Energized by Grace want to be their child’s greatest encourager. Far too many parents are really not that encouraging. It’s not that they have a critical spirit. Rather, they just say nothing. Children are not mind readers. We can do better than just expecting them to know we are in their corner. They need to hear it! Make an effort to catch them doing something good, right, thoughtful, considerate, well done, etc. and point it out. Highlight it! "Hey, you really handled that situation very well."

8. Mothers Energized by Grace Give them what they need not what they want. Many of us are very busy people. We have a lot going on. So often, parents will feel guilty about how busy they are and so decide to give them a new "toy." Yet, we do our children no favors when we give them most everything they want. The point is this: Too many children grow up getting all the things they want while little attention is given to what they really need. Think about what your children really need if they are going to make it in this difficult world as obedient children of a loving God.

9. Mothers Energized by Grace Give their children something to look forward to when they come home. Give them a beautiful home to look forward to. That’s home — not house. Anyone with enough money can build a beautiful house. Our children need beautiful homes. Homes that are filled with warmth, laughter, and love. Beautiful homes are places where children can catch a glimpse of the loving God in the love of their parents. These homes remind kids that no matter how bad the day is at school or with friends, they can always come home.

For a Christian mother, another core responsibility is to care for her children. Children are to be a priority in her life. In many developed countries of the world today, an anti-birth, anti-child mentality permeates society. Bible-believing Christians, however, must affirm the paramount value of children and motherhood .

For a Christian mother, another core responsibility is to care for her children. Children are to be a priority in her life. In many developed countries of the world today, an anti-birth, anti-child mentality permeates society. Bible-believing Christians, however, must affirm the paramount value of children and motherhood .

Dorothy Patterson, one of the authors of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, puts the issue into focus:

“A mother builds something far more magnificent than any cathedral the dwelling place for an immortal soul…No professional pursuit so uniquely combines the most menial tasks with the most meaningful opportunities.”

Titus 2 is a roadmap for all who want their life to count. It is God’s pathway of disciplines to choose each day in the power of the Spirit of grace.

God’s plan to work in the world is His church . Christ's church may be described as a group of people, energized by grace, doing the impossible for the glory of God. A key insight into God’s plan to reach the world through Christ's church is in Titus chapter 2.

The verses of this chapter contain a call to First Century men and women energized by grace to live an extraordinary spiritual life in a very unspiritual culture.

When grace energizes us we want to deny ungodliness in any form we find it cropping up in our lives. When God’s grace energizes us we want to mortify lust in any form in our lives.

When we study this idea of the older-in-the-faith godly, Titus 2 woman we are describing a woman who has chosen to learn from God how to live her life day-by-day and step-by-step in way that pleases God. Women energized by grace are useful to God.

When the Gospel of Jesus Christ entered the Roman world of the New Testament the landscape was very bleak. Christ's church was born into a sin-warped, sin-darkened world of mixed-up marriages, sin-scarred lives, and confused families.

But men and women who were gloriously saved did not automatically become great wives and mothers, or husbands and fathers. When they came to Christ and were forgiven, God graciously gave them everything they needed to become godly wives, mothers, husbands, and fathers. But, they needed something else. They need worship services that taught them to believe correctly, and then they needed small group discipleship times to learn how to behave correctly. Correct behavior is behavior energized by grace.

Titus 2 describes how God works in the life of a believer. When we were saved and the gospel of grace began in our lives, the evidence is seen in the sanctification process. Grace always teaches genuine believers how to say no to sin in any form.

The Titus Two woman is an imperfect person, saved by God, and energized by His grace to live an exemplary life as described in Titus 2:3-4. So we could easily say that:

• Women energized by grace—are reverent in their behavior,

• Women energized by grace—are not slanderers,

• Women energized by grace—are not given to much wine,

• Women energized by grace—are teachers of good things, and

• Women energized by grace—are discipling younger women.

Those new believers, fresh out of paganism needed coaching, training, modeling, and encouraging in a one-on-one relationship. Godly behavior is a series of choices; and those men and women had to be nurtured in daily skills that would lead to loving marriages and families.

And that is the vital ministry which we find captured for us in Titus 2.

Christ's Church Used Grace Energized Coaches in Godly Living

Just as important as the preaching and teaching of the doctrines of God's Word was the modeling and nurturing of individual saints through practical hands-on lessons in godly living.

The building blocks of Christ's church are Spirit-filled men and women. Lives given daily as obedient servants of God.

God wants men and women that will mentor, nurture, and coach godly living for His church. These individuals believe that God has called them to touch one life at a time for His glory.

For just a moment please follow along in your Bibles in Titus 2:1-8, as I again read those special character traits for men and women.

v.1 But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: v.2 that the [grace energized] older men be:

1. sober,

2. reverent,

3. temperate,

4. sound in faith,

5. [sound in] love,

6. [sound in] patience;

v. 3 the [grace energized] older women likewise, that they be

1. reverent in behavior,

2. not slanderers,

3. not given to much wine,

4. teachers of good things— v. 4

5. that they admonish

the [grace energized] young women

1. to love their husbands,

2. to love their children, v. 5

3. to be discreet,

4. chaste,

5. homemakers,

6. good,

7. obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.

v. 6 Likewise exhort the [grace energized] young men

1. to be sober-minded, v. 7

2. in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works;

3. in doctrine showing integrity,

4. reverence,

5. incorruptibility, v. 8

6. sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you. (NKJV)

When God gets to pick the curriculum for His Church, what does He choose to be taught? He lays down twelve vital godly character qualities for women and 12 vital godly character qualities for men.

Women energized by grace have these characteristics are highly useful to God. The long-term goal of their lives is geared towards being useful to God. Parents who want their children be useful for the Lord begin early on to point their children towards the high calling and great joy of being a Titus 2 woman and the Titus 2 man.

The whole goal of a Titus 2 woman is to train younger women in Biblical, simple-to-measure, Spirit-empowered, love-based living.

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