But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine, that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things, that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” Titus 2:1-5
Have you ever been in a situation where you have said more than you should have or done something you wished you could take back? We have all been in that place at times and wished we could have a “do over” and to instead act with discretion. In this letter from the apostle Paul to Titus, Paul is encouraging Titus to admonish the people in the congregations on the island of Crete in sound doctrine. Evidently, the women there were notorious for being immoral, liars, slanderers, and everything that is the opposite of discretion. The word discretion comes from the root word discreet which means to be careful and circumspect in one’s speech or actions, especially in order to avoid causing offense or to gain an advantage.
It is honoring to God and to others to be discreet in our words and our actions and thus furthers our witness to the world that we are indeed followers of Christ and different than the culture. A lack of discretion will always cause hurt to others and pain and struggle for ourselves. Proverbs 2:11 says, “Discretion will preserve you; Understanding will keep you.” In other words, discretion can act as a guardrail for us, keeping us protected from the pain of regret and shame and causing our life to continue to testify to the world of His grace and power at work in us.
In our culture today, it seems to be accepted and even celebrated for women to be aggressive in their actions, crass in their words, and willing to say or do whatever to come out on top…that somehow this makes you empowered or stronger as a woman and, thus, more attractive. But the Word of God would say differently. Proverbs 11:22 says “As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.” What a vivid visual! As a pig wallows in mud and tarnishes the gold ring, so is a woman who may be lovely on the outside, but what flows out of her lack of character on the inside will make her unlovely in every way. Being a woman of discretion is beautiful in the sight of our God and causes us to be a winsome witness to the world and a blessing to all who our lives touch.
How is this beautiful virtue cultivated in our lives? Discretion is born from a life lived by the Word and the Spirit cultivated in intimate fellowship with Jesus. It is in our secret place time as we study the Word and ask to be daily filled with His Spirit where His character and wisdom is born in us. James 3:17 says “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.” What a great description of a woman of discretion! As we go from our secret place time and then abide in Jesus moment-by-moment in our day, the fruit of His Spirit is born in us and we are filled with His wisdom. As Galatians 5:22-23 says, the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Being a woman filled with His Holy Spirit and walking in every situation by His spirit causes our lives to bear much fruit, which is seen and experienced in every relationship and in every circumstance in our lives.
Remember these helpful hints as you walk as a woman of discretion:
- Don’t neglect the secret place time each day: As you cultivate the most important relationship in your life, King Jesus, all other relationships will benefit from that time of growth in the Word and the Spirit.
- Go to Jesus in prayer first in challenging situations: When you find yourself needing wisdom from above and counsel to navigate a challenging situation or relationship, go to Jesus first. Let His Word and His Spirit bring counsel and any needed adjustments to your heart.
- Go to a trusted leader and friend in challenging situations: After you have spent time in prayer and in the Word in the secret place, then, as needed, go to one or two trusted leaders and/or friends for further counsel. The wisdom of the Lord is found in the right counsel in leaders and friends. It isn’t helpful or discreet to share our challenges with more than one or two leaders and covenantal friendships.
- Ask for forgiveness: If you have lacked discretion in a situation and in doing so caused hurt, then in humility, ask for forgiveness. First in your relationship with Jesus and then in the relationship where the hurt was caused.
- Be teachable: Walk in a spirit of humility with a desire to grow as a woman of discretion as you spend time in the secret place in the Word and in prayer, being filled with His Spirit daily, and observing and learning from other godly women who walk as woman of discretion.
As stated in that first point, being a woman of the Word and the Spirit requires purposeful and intentional time in the secret place with the Lord. One practical strategy for making that time every day is designating a specific spot in your home to meet with the Lord. Matthew 6:6 reads, “When you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” As you choose a place in your home, choose a place that is private for you and the Lord. You want the place to be quiet and free from distraction. For some, finding a spot in an inner room with a door that closes is ideal. For others, finding a quiet spot before the rest of the household wakes up works just as well.
It’s helpful to have a comfortable seat with good lighting and a table where you can rest your Bible, study tools, and if you’re like me, a morning cup of coffee! Several of our New Song women shared pictures of their secret place spots. Each is as unique as the women who designed them, but they all meet the same need: a functional and comfortable place to meet with the Lord! Purposefully establishing a place where you desire to meet the Lord each morning will help draw you into consistent secret place time where you can grow as a woman of the Word and Spirit.
Isn’t it so encouraging to know that walking as a woman of discretion is possible with the transforming work of Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit in our lives? As we walk as women of discretion, it will bring us and others around us His great joy and peace!
By Donna Phillips & Jeannie Print