Teaching Our Girls - Part 1
Teaching Our Girls
"Let our sons in their youth be as grown-up plants, and our daughters as corner pillars fashioned as for a palace" (Psalm 144:12).
The above prayer starts with the family and its rising generation, not with dreams of an empire. David realized what was really important, what blessings were true and lasting. The sons are pictured as well-established and sturdy saplings, and the daughters as the very picture of statuesque elegance and strength. There has been nothing slipshod in their upbringing. This verse also means that our daughters can be pillars of strength in their youth. Our society has embraced various myths and one of those myths is that the teen years must be years of turmoil and rebellion. But God doesn’t excuse young people who rebel (2 Timothy 3:2), and He holds them accountable for how they act during the days of their youthfulness (Ecclesiastes 11:9 "Yet know that God will bring you to judgment for all these things"). Young people don’t have to rebel, teenagers do have a choice, "he who begets a wise son will be glad in him. Let your father and your mother be glad, and let her rejoice who gave birth to you" (Proverbs 23:24-25).
Hope For The Single Parent
Some parents seem to give up because either they are without a spouse or the spouse that they do have is either weak, unfaithful, or an unbeliever. Timothy’s father, we are told in Acts 16:1 was a Greek, which is an unbeliever. Apparently, he had even prevented Timothy from being circumcised (16:1-3). As far as we know, Timothy’s father didn’t lift a finger in seeing that his son learned about God and actually might have been somewhat of a hindrance. Yet, Timothy turned out to be a very unselfish man and a very faithful Christian(Philippians 2:19-22; 2 Timothy 1:5; 3:10). Women without godly husbands need to realize that God, who has promised to be a "father to the fatherless" (Psalm 68:5), can bring your daughter or son to spiritual maturity through His word, even without the presence of an earthly father. In such a situation it is essential that you don’t harbor bitterness against God, a particular man or men in general for your circumstances. Pray for the influence of godly men in your daughter’s life. If your husband isn’t faithful, don’t complain. Respect your husband’s God-ordained position, and set a godly example before your daughter (1 Peter 3:1-4). Such behavior might not only win your husband and it will go a long way in influencing the direction of your daughter’s life.
Take Advantage of the Seasons
"Little girls are little shadows. They love following Mommy and Daddy around. They love to imitate. Use this time of their lives for memorizing Scripture, hearing Bible stories over and over, learning basic facts about how to treat others" (Polished Cornerstones, Pam Forster, p. 17). Little girls are typically very sharp, eager to learn, really want to please their parents, and are very interested in spiritual things. We must take advantage of this hunger for goodness and serving others.
"We may have to rethink our approach to the academic education of our children. If the acquiring of man’s knowledge about the world leaves no time for acquiring the wisdom of the Creator about His creation, then man’s knowledge has become too important. God’s Word and His wisdom, helping us interpret our limited knowledge of His creation, needs to be our priority" (Forster p. 20) (Matthew 6:33).
- Some of the most effective personal workers in the kingdom of God are young women. Many wives have converted husbands or future husbands. Young women often have many contacts, especially with other women. We are only helping congregations grow in the future if we take the time to educate our daughters in the Scriptures.
- Remember, our daughters will one day have their own husbands and their own children. Women who have been taught to place God first in their lives will naturally become unselfish and loving mothers and wives (Titus 2:4-5). A self-centered woman can create tremendous unhappiness in her own family (Proverbs 12:4).
A Virtuous Woman
"For all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence" (Ruth 3:11); "An excellent wife is the crown of her husband" (Proverbs 12:4); "An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels" (31:10). The word translated "excellent" in the above passages means, "strength, power, might, valor, and then, virtue, uprightness, integrity". Hence, virtue is moral strength, the ability to resist the world’s allurements, the strength to trust God and depend upon Him, the courage of believing that one will find happiness and fulfillment in doing what is right. Well, what does such virtue or moral courage look like in the daily lives of our daughters?
Does she desire to read, hear, and understand God’s word? ("Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness" Matthew 5:6).Is she consistently seeking to obey God’s word? ("Blessed are those who hear the word of God, and observe it" Luke 11:28). Does she have a growing relationship with God? ("But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" 2 Peter 3:18). Is she open to correction and spiritual instruction? ("That they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children" Titus 2:4). Is she repentant when convicted of sin? Does she seek to make restitution and ask forgiveness when she has wronged others?("For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret"(2 Corinthians 7:10). Are the fruits of the Spirit evident in her life? (Galatians 5:22-23). Does she long to be like those of this world in dress, activities, etc…(James 4:4), or does she find pleasure in becoming more and more like Christ? Is she striving to mature in their areas of weakness? Do you and your daughter have specific goals for her life---do they focus on bringing glory to God, on servant hood, and on family, or do they focus on her personal pleasure and "success"?
Modesty Is About Others
"Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly…but rather by means of good works, as befits women making a claim to godliness" (1 Timothy 2:9-10). "As is appropriate for women who profess to be religious" (Gspd); "as is right for women who are living in the fear of God" (Bas); "women who profess reverential fear for and devotion to God" (Amp). Wearing modest apparel is all about loving our neighbor as ourselves and refusing to place a stumbling block in the way of another believer or unbeliever."Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes" (Matthew 18:7). Some people will argue, "But what really can my solitary example accomplish?" It is easy to excuse any sort of compromise with evil by saying, "It is accepted in the world and my determination to resist is like trying to stop a raging river with my foot". Yet note the language in the above passage. God knows that stumbling blocks will come, but that doesn’t excuse the person who is the stumbling block. Yes, the world is full of bad examples—determine to avoid being one of them! "Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore is the fulfillment of the law" (Romans 13:10). Paul said, "Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died" (14:15), how much more, "Do not destroy with immodest clothing him for whom Christ died". Virtue means getting our minds off ourselves, and getting out of the habit of thinking, "Will people notice me?" Virtue means placing a greater importance on what God thinks about us, rather than, what our peers think about us. "Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised" (Proverbs 31:30).
Being A Servant
Issues such as modesty, what type of entertainment is acceptable, and so on, won’t be the huge issues that they are in the lives of unbelievers if we accept the fact that this life isn’t about us or putting ourselves first. We need to insist in our daughters the concept that we are here to serve God and others, "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" (Galatians 2:20); "and He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf" (2 Corinthians 5:15); (Acts 20:24)". So our prayer to God needs to be, "Don’t give me popularity, give me opportunities to proclaim the gospel; don’t give me comfort, give me conviction, give me trials so I can see what I am made out of, test my faith so I can see if it is really genuine or not. Don’t give me free time, give me time to serve others, don’t feel sorry for me, challenge me to do better". Someone said, "Don’t give me comfort, command me!" Our prayer should be, "God remind me every day that this life isn’t about me or my immediate happiness. Rather, humble me by bringing me into contact with people who are far less fortunate than myself, and help me break my preoccupation with myself". We can help our daughters develop a servant attitude by giving them opportunities to serve others while they are young. We can bring them along when we visit someone who is shut in and they can assist us in cleaning or cooking meals for those who are ill. Paul said, "But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all" (Philippians 2:17). Earlier in the letter he noted that while he was in prison, others were having great success in their preaching, even if their motives weren’t all that pure, yet he rejoiced that the gospel was being preached (Philippians 1:12-18). We must teach our girls not to strive for fame, fortune, or personal glory, but for God’s glory. And that greatness in the eyes of God comes through the spiritual wealth that you possess, your character, and serving others (Matthew 20:25-28).
Mark Dunagan/Beaverton Church of Christ/(503)644-9017