“I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or quarreling…
…Likewise (also) that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel with modesty and self-control; not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works…. (1 Tim 2:8-10)
Roles of men and women: Are there many subjects in God’s Word that are more explosive or contentious? Maybe Election? I can’t think of many others. Yet, this is in God’s Word and so is required to be soberly considered for we will have to answer about this before the Throne on That Day.
Isn’t God good? I have to think so but really-could I have gotten a more controversial subject this morning? I have to remind myself of certain doctrines and chuckle at the Goodness of God.
I am reminded that God is decent and orderly from the Scriptures. Therefore, with that in mind, I see His tongue in cheek direction: “I desire that (everywhere) men should pray, lifting up holy hands-no anger, no quarreling among themselves…” No kidding! As I read the next statement, I better pray. In fact I better practice praying and move from novice praying guy to at least a journeyman praying guy because the next statement can be volatile:
“Likewise (or in parallel), women should… (and the list follows)”
Could there be any other statement that can raise hackles like this found in the Bible? More provocative or leading to strong, divisive argument? I can’t think of any right now.
I am not getting into any of the specifics in 1 Tim 2 (or any of the Pauline gender imperatives) except for this: If this is the Word of God, God-breathed Scripture, then it has to be something to pay attention to.
* Men: Pray. Pray seriously and fervently. Look to your own progress in Biblical maturity and conformity to the Word of God-let your progress be seen and testified of by all-and, if married, especially your wife. Be full of care not to lord authority over anyone including members of your own family and local church. Practice patience. Encourage seeking of God and asking the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts. Guys: if you are not excelling in the pursuit of God, don’t try to hold someone else to a standard you aren’t attaining. All you should be doing is suggesting, pleading, etc. Everyone has clay feet: scrub hard on your own feet first before scrubbing on someone else’s.
* Women: Pray. Pray seriously and fervently. Look to your own progress in Biblical maturity and conformity to the Word of God-let your progress be seen and testified of by all. Practice patience; take your time but be persistent in looking to the Holy Spirit for any necessary change.
Having tried once upon a time to point out to my wife that she was not conforming to the Word, I quickly found that didn’t work well at all. So my decision (cloaked in chicken feathers) was to focus on the man in the mirror and whenever the subject came up between us (accidental or on purpose) point to the Word of God and asking as good of questions that the Holy Spirit put in my mouth-trying to avoid the foot that was consistently there concerning this (and other) subjects.
Our response/reaction has been addressed by one thing: the Cross of Christ. All of those called by His Name have been set free of fear: Sin does not have dominion over us. We can seek Him who is the Counselor of Peace for direction and if in anything we think different than the Word on, God will reveal that to us IF we ask Him to. Like in Colossians 2 last week: don’t be taken in by philosophy or deceitful but plausible arguments.
Father God, You are good, better to me than I deserve. I ask for help that I don’t get puffed up and stupid on this subject for the same sin affects me as well as others-no matter which gender. The cheat sheet of conduct lists: Fruit of the Spirit; “think of these things” list; and so many others in the NT can be a quick reminder of where I am in You-if I pull these lists out and ponder them. I want to be immersed in Your Word. AMEN