“…to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.” Titus 2:5

Good by God’s Standard

Paul’s epistle (letter) to Titus, whom he left in Crete to oversee the work Paul started, instructed him to raise up pastoral leaders who would be able to lead and teach the churches. In so doing, he was to appoint leaders of high moral character and principle who held fast to sound doctrine. Throughout his letter, Paul stressed the necessity of “maintaining good works by those who have believed in God and hope for eternal life from him.” Sound doctrine should inform a sound and solid life that in turn glorifies God, and Paul laid out for Titus qualities of various people who make up a sound church. In Titus 2, Paul addresses the conduct of five categories of believers: older men, older women, younger women, younger men, and bondservants. “Older women,” Paul writes, are to “admonish the young women…to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient…that the word of God may not be blasphemed” (2 Titus 2:3-5).

The Greek word agathós, translated “good” in this verse, refers to that which is good in both a physical and moral sense and which produces benefits. It means good, pleasant, kind, agreeable, joyful, happy, upright, and honorable. Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines good as something that is “complete or sufficiently perfect, having physical and moral qualities best adapted to its design and use, and opposed to that which is bad, imperfect, corrupt or evil.” In turn, kindness refers to one who is predisposed to do good to others. As Women of the Home, the call to be “good” and “kind” is a vital call to heed. In our culture, we have lost a solid understanding of what these words really mean. They have been watered down to refer to that which is desirable to, approved of or a benefit to man – so the rule of standard fluctuates based entirely upon the whims of another person and their preferences. But God’s call to be good and kind are based solely upon His unchanging character.

Jesus asked the rich young ruler, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God” (Luke 18:19). God alone is good, yet we, as women of the house and family of God, are exhorted to be good so “that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” Our conduct as women of the faith reflects directly upon our faith and, more importantly, the God of our faith. If our attitudes and actions are negative, downcast, unstable, angry, bitter, questioning, accusatory, provoking, bothersome and worrisome, what does that reflect of the person and nature of our great and powerful God? It certainly doesn’t reflect that He is either great or powerful.

I love how Matthew Henry puts it: “The word of God and the gospel of Christ are pure, excellent, and glorious, in themselves; and their excellency should be expressed and shown in the lives and conduct of their professors.”[1] The lives of those (that’s us!) who profess faith in the saving and redeeming work of Jesus Christ should reflect His greatness in every situation because He IS great in EVERY situation! Regardless of what obstacles we face, our God is NEVER less than trustworthy, wise, sovereign, righteous, holy, just, merciful, and faithful—and this is not an exhaustive list; He is so much more!

Here’s a great illustration from Abbie O’Neal about being good and kind:

Sometimes being good and kind feels good but often times it does require denying our flesh.  While I was at the zoo with my children, my younger daughter expressed that she was cold.  Her big sister, while putting on a vest, overheard what her sister had said.  Without thought, my older daughter gave my younger daughter her vest.  Despite being chilly herself, my older daughter was clearly pleased with her ability to be “good and kind” to her little sister.  Denying our flesh may not always be comfortable but being good and kind does not ever have to lack joy.
Being good and kind, the way scripture intends it, requires a constant leading of the Holy Spirit.  It means that while at the store you give a word of encouragement to a mom with little ones.  It means turning your husband’s socks right-side out; every single one of them.  It means having self control as you correct your children or as you work with an unhappy customer. Being good and kind is a standard that we don’t force upon ourselves, but rather a standard that comes out of a submitted heart to our Good Good Father.
Let us be women who, in every situation, look to the light of our God and to the light of His Word to enlighten and inform our beliefs so that our lives give testimony to a God who is worthy of nothing less. In our endeavors to be good and kind, let our goodness and kindness point others to the One Who was so unfailingly good and kind that He offered to us the only means of redemption and salvation: Jesus Christ.
[1] Henry, Matthew. An Exposition, With Practical Observations, of The Epistle of St. Paul to Titus. Introduction.

 


 By Mitch Rowe & Abbie O’Neal

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