If I could somehow wind the clock back thirty years or so, self-control is one area where I wish I could have a do-over. There are areas of my character and my walk with God today that would be more fruitful and blessed, battles I might not have to fight so vigorously, if I had been more intentional about developing a sophron (self-controlled) mind as a younger woman. How I would love to be an older woman in your life who helps you make those choices now.
Now, perhaps this self-controlled, sober-minded woman sounds to you like someone who never has any fun. Someone who is boring, rigid, uptight. You’ve probably known some women like that. I’ve been that kind of woman more often than I care to admit.
But the woman with Spirit-produced, grace-enabled self-control is anything but boring. Unlike other women around her, she is not a slave to her passions and impulses. She is free to love and serve God and others, free to enjoy His greatest gifts. Her life is a winsome, compelling reflection of the goodness and loveliness of Christ.
Or maybe this way of thinking and living sounds exhausting to you—always struggling to rein in your flesh—kind of like playing whack-a-mole at the county fair. No sooner do you strike one “mole” down into its hole than two more pop up.
But thankfully, God hasn’t left us to acquire sophron by sheer willpower and determination. As Paul makes clear in his letter to Titus, this sophron mindset is initiated, produced, and enabled by His Spirit and His grace.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age . . . (Titus 2:11–12)
That said, to be a sophron woman does require effort and vigilance on our part. And we tap into the enabling grace of God as we take advantage of the means He has provided for our transformation and growth.
Consider how you’ve felt at times after you’ve lost control, after your emotions rose up and sloshed over their banks like a river at flood stage. You were desperate to stop, to change, to get yourself back under control. But what you and I are most desperate for in such moments is not just more restraint and self-control, but more of Jesus. More of His Spirit. More of His power to live with a saved and sound mind.
And to get more of Him, we need more of His Word. I think most of us underestimate just how much we need it. This is why Paul’s exhortation in Romans 12 is so vital: Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (v. 2)
That’s the goal—being transformed by the renewal of our minds. And the proven means of this renewal is time spent in the Word. Reading it. Studying it. Discussing it. Meditating on it. And obeying it. It is the Word that will restrain your flesh, renew your mind, strengthen your resolve, and give you an appetite for those things that bring God pleasure. It is His Word that will fortify and prepare you for troubles that may lie around the corner.
Adorned: Living Out The Beauty of the Gospel Together, ©2016 by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. Adapted and used with permission of Moody Publishers.
More about Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together
Woman to woman. Older to younger. Day to day. Life to life.
This is God’s beautiful plan.
The Titus 2 model of older women living out the gospel alongside younger women is vital for us all to thrive. It is mutually strengthening, glorifies God, and makes His truth believable to our world.
Imagine older women investing themselves in the lives of younger women, blessing whole families and churches. Imagine young wives, moms, and singles gaining wisdom and encouragement from women who’ve been there and have found God’s ways to be true and good. Imagine all women—from older women to young girls—living out His transforming gospel together, growing the entire body of Christ to be more beautiful.
This is Christian community as God designed it. Read this book and take your relationships to new depths, that your life might find its fullest meaning as you adorn the gospel of Christ.