So many people use the descriptive “lists” of the great biblical women as weapons against other women or a judgment against themselves. Mother’s Day has often become a terrible display of making women feel like they will never measure up to the biblical standard.
The week before, in anticipation of Mother’s Day sermons, Elyse Fitzpatrick tweeted this: “The Gospel is good news. ‘Be a Proverbs 31; Titus 2’ woman isn’t good news. ‘You are loved and forgiven’ is. Preach the gospel!
The way I understand Titus, Paul is not giving law – i.e. a list that you need to work on.
We tend to hear all commands as laws that we need to do. And many women, have a tendency to weigh themselves down when they read things like Titus 2:1-5.
Elyse Fitzpatrick likens the weight of law-lists to bricks:
“Most of the churches I get invited to are filled with women who are serious about their faith. And these women say they don’t want to attend women’s conferences because they’re tired. They’ve been lugging around 78-pound backpacks filled with bricks inscribed with thousands of rules about how to get rid of wrinkles, have abs of steel, produce children who are little Augustine clones, and make nutritious casseroles for hubby, all perfectly within their budget while single-handedly bringing revival to their neighborhood and smiling all the while. Most of the women I know don’t need any more bricks or tips or Laws or helpful hints. They’re exhausted. For crying out loud, they get bricks when they stand in line at the grocery store!
“Perhaps men don’t internalize the rules like women do . . . but women do and we really don’t need any more. Again, I’m nearly 62 and I’ve been in church for over 40 years. I know what I’m supposed to do. I know God’s Law. I need a rest that will refresh my soul and fill me with zeal.
“Another form brick-seminars take is the 4 or 17 or 432 Steps to Become a Better Me. In these seminars, you’ll get bricks but they’re wrapped in fluff. They still hurt when you get hit in the head with them, but while you’re lying half-dazed on the floor, you can eat the cotton candy and feel better about yourself.”
This is not a list for you to do – nor is it supposed to be bricks we hurl at each other.
The biblical descriptions (Titus 2, Proverbs 31, Galatians 5) ARE God’s will for you…but HE is working in you over the long course of your life. There is a huge difference between law and rest. Rest knows that God’s will is aiming for future consummation. Those that attempt to attain it now will constantly live in frustration and discouragement because they ARE WORKING AGAINST GOD (i.e. attempting to live like future Christlikeness will happen now).
This is where the gospel hits us! The gospel is rest – knowing that I cannot keep the lists, but Jesus has!!