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Last weekend we had the joy of attending a "Ladies Tea" at our sister church. It was a day we looked forward to and prepared for. I myself was intrigued with the name "Ladies" tea versus tea party, etc. It's not a description you hear very often these days. I had some fun reminding everyone they must act like a "real" lady to attend. You know, versus those "other" ladies.
Well the day to make the hour and a half journey south arrived. Those in my car were excited, dressed up, and looking forward to the tea. We had lots of time to talk and catch up and the subject of "ladies" came up. I am intrigued by it. We were talking about the world's definition of a lady versus what God says a lady is. My friend asked "What does the bible say about being a lady?" A LOADED question. I quickly rattled off a few things but find myself days later wanting to revisit the subject.
You know there's something about reading the bible that is like no other book. It is ALIVE. The living word of God. No matter how many times you think you have read something you go back and it speaks to you again in a different way. It is the Lord showing you something you need to hear at that time. Well this morning here is what He showed me.
There are several places that speak about being a lady. Probably the most well known is the Proverbs 31 woman. But today He led me to Timothy and Titus, two of my favorite books because they are so clear and practical. Now I could go on and on, but I am going to practice the 9th fruit of the Spirit, self control, and stick with the three words that really stood out to me today. Ready?
"Their wives likewise must be DIGNIFIED" ( 1 Timothy 3:11)
hmmm...DIGNIFIED...what does that mean? Of course I had to look it up.
a way of appearing or behaving that suggests seriousness and self-control
the quality of being worthy of honor or respect
To help me further understand dignified I looked up the definition of what it means to be UNDIGNIFIED....unseemly...inappropriate...improper...unbecoming...unrefined...UNLADYLIKE
Now I'm getting the picture. There are some behaviors that are just not appropriate for a Godly woman. Does this mean you can't have fun? Of course not. Joy is the second fruit of the Spirit. However we are to "keep a CLOSE WATCH on ourselves" (1 Tim 4:16) and "TRAIN OURSELVES in godliness" (1 Tim 4:7). This stuff does not come naturally.
Ready for word #2?
"Not SLANDERERS" (1 Timothy 3:11)
A slanderer is one who attacks/maligns the reputation of another with false statements and opinions. It can be so easy to do, especially when others don't meet up to our standards or do things our way. Slandering is closely related to gossip. Ouch! The Lord wants us to think before we speak. We've all heard the saying "if you don't have anything good to say don't say anything at all". I think of Haley Mills in the movie Pollyanna. If you look for the bad in someone you will surely find it. Why not focus on what's good?
And here is word #3. It comes from a great list of ladylike traits in Titus 2.
"women are to be KIND"...having or showing a gentle nature and a desire to help others : wanting and liking to do good things and to bring happiness to others.
Well now I have a better picture of what a lady is and intend to further ponder and pray about these things. How about you? The bible has much more to say on the subject. I am thankful to have lived long enough to see the Lord transform women into His image and ways over time and it is a glorious sight to behold. We are all a work in progress. Lord help me to act in a dignified manner, not slandering others, but instead being kind.