For whatever reason, it seems Christmastime (especially last year and this year) is a time when the Spirit really admonishes
me- in every sense of the word.
I’ve been looking back, not in a longing way, not in a holding on to the past way, but as though I were an athlete looking at a previous game to learn from my mistakes that I might train myself to not perform them again.
I believe this is a godly sorrow that God is working in me. It’s not fun! It’s not condemning either though. It’s learning to despise my ways and love the Lords. And it’s clinging even more to His mercy and grace.
When I was a teenager I played basketball at my school. I wasn’t very much of a hustler. I was timid and scared of fouling anyone and therefore didn’t make much of an impact on the game for my team, other than rebounding. But in one game, the ball landed in my hands while my team was on offense. I was standing right under our hoop, but I was so excited about my destiny with the ball, convincing myself quickly that I could do this, that I made a terribly embarrassing error. I started dribbling down the court… THE WRONG WAY!!!! I heard all the screams and cheers and thought everyone was cheering for me, and then I made the shot. At that point, as I stood alone with a smile on my face under the opposing team’s basket I began looking around for my teammates to give them high fives. I suddenly realized what I had done when I saw my team hanging their shaking heads, my coach yelling my last name, and the opposing team cheering. I was mortified!!!! Utterly! I loathed myself and wanted to give up basketball forever. (That is a totally true story and one of the most embarrassing moments of my life by the way.)
This is sort of how I’ve felt this past week as the Spirit has “played the video” for me of previous “games” in my life where I’ve made grievous errors in judgement. I’m so glad God is more merciful than my 7th grade basketball coach. But I’m sad, because my sinful ways in life have caused a lot more damage than 2 points in the opposing teams basket.
I wanted to share with you (whoever you are out there in blogland) a sorrow I have from my past choices that has lead to a true turn around (repentance) in my life. I pray you will learn from my experience and not make the same error in your own “game”.
- I sorrow that I did not learn in silence.
“Women should listen and learn quietly and submissively.” 1
Timothy 2:11 NLT
The tendency, when I first hear that verse is to feel defensive and try to explain it away. But after having chosen to not
learn in silence, being quick to start “teaching” others what I was so convinced I understood, I realize how shameful my choice was and how wise and right God’s word is.
When I first reunited with my husband I was so excited! For many reasons. One being I was convinced I was going to start some version of a Billy Graham crusade where women would see how much Christ loved and valued them and suddenly WANT to love their husbands in Christ-like, humble love. I had the basketball and I started running with it! Problem is, I was running the wrong way! I ended up sharing online, and with a neighbor friend, and even with a small group at church, what I was convinced was a sure “two-pointer” for our team, but it turned out to be a score for the opposing team.
It wasn’t that what I wanted was wrong. I wanted to score for “my team” (women in the body of Christ). I wanted to encourage other women with the same encouragement I’d received from the Lord. I wanted them to know what God was teaching me, but my running to the wrong hoop lied in the fact that I was still learning. And because I was still the “younger woman”, learning how to apply this revelation of Christ’s love for me in my own life, when I went around “teaching” others I delivered a mixed up message… I didn’t rightly divide the word of truth.
The result was even more humiliating and more damaging than scoring for the wrong team. I’ve had to go back and confess that I was wrong to the women I’ve talked with, and even one of their husband’s (with the wife present). I’ve grieved much over them because in my haste I misrepresented God’s word to them. I’ve given the enemy fuel for the accusing and have been stuck in a mire of pity and discouragement, and much more, all as a result of not learning in silence.
The call to the sidelines in the months which followed that first year or two of running to the wrong hoop (not learning in silence) was even harder than it was for me in 7th grade. God humbled me and I didn’t want to “play” anymore! But this past year He’s been teaching me the importance of having a godly sorrow that leads to turning around, not a worldly sorrow that leads to giving up (death
). God doesn’t want me to stay sorrowful and stop running the race set before me (Hebrews 12:1
). He wants me to receive with meekness what He teaches me in His word and let be implanted in me for true growth.
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. – James 1:21
So this week as I was reflecting on this bad play from my past I thought, “Your Word is so good Lord! There’s nothing at all to be despised about 1 Timothy 2:11. It’s a rule of Your game of faith that will save many women from running to the wrong basket
Oh, how I wish I had of been more like Mary in the days, weeks and years following the miraculous intervention of God in my life. I wish I had just treasured up all the things God was doing and speaking to me, pondering them in my heart… learning in silence.
There’s a time to learn in silence and there’s a time to teach good things. But I would be wise to be sure I’ve learned before I teach.
So how do I know if I’ve learned something so that I might go teach it to another woman as God would have me?
Here are some questions I’m asking myself now:
- Am I still learning?
- Do I still have questions?
- Has this topic gone from “taking it in” to “fleshing it out” in my life or am I still just taking it in?
- Is what I think I’ve learned clearly in the Word?
- Do other godly women and accurate teachers of God’s Word I know confirm the things I’ve learned in their teaching of the Word?
It’s SOOOOO important to stick close to the Word!
When God says “learn in silence” He’s not saying, “Don’t talk to anyone.” He’s saying take time to learn, and while you’re learning, keep quiet about it. He also says, “Older women be teachers of good things,” and then He even goes on to list those good things very clearly.
God does want us to “teach” other women in our lives, for we are “older” than someone in the Lord, and we are “younger” than someone too. But if we stray from the simple power of God’s word and add in a lot of our own thoughts (which I have done), sin is not absent.
In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his
lips is wise. – Proverbs 10:19
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of
the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward. – Psalm 19:7-11
As I look back on my own mistakes I wish I had of made a few “passes” instead of running down the court with the ball. In other words, I wish I had of gotten together with another Biblical “older” woman in my life and discussed the things I was learning and then just prayerfully waited for who I should share it with.
Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of
counselors there is safety. -Proverbs 11:14
None of us in our “learning” ever fully arrive at attaining what we’ve learned. Even Paul said,
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press
on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” -Phil.3:12
And we know that the Lord wants us to teach others what He teaches us:
Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. -Matthew 10:27
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in
the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. -Matthew 28:20
…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 2:3-5
Yet there is clearly a time for quietly learning and waiting, receiving the implanted Word meekly, and letting it mature into seen fruitfulness in our own lives before we set out to teach it to others.
I am convinced, after my own sin in this, that there is a need to stop and truly spend time waiting on the Lord when He’s doing or has done something in our lives that we’re eager to share. I’m so quick to want to share with others what I’m learning, but there’s something to be said for just treasuring up what I’m learning, so that a day may come when I can effectively teach it to others.
Here I am, blogging about learning in silence. May seem to be a bit of a contradiction. And truly, the fact that I’ve set out to share my life and God’s Word on this blog should cause me to pause and check myself to be sure what I’m sharing is accurately God’s word. There’s a healthy tension God would have me press forward in. God does not want me to give up teaching good things- teaching the things He’s taught me, teaching His word accurately- but He wants me to restrain my teaching with silence while I’m learning. In this way I might go forward not like a wild horse, but like a trained and reigned in one.
To help me submit to those reigns gladly, yet move forward in the direction my Master would guide me, I’ve decided to embed these scriptures to the top of each of the posts I go to create. I want to be sure what I share here is clearly and accurately spoken by the Spirit in the scriptures and submitted to in my own life:
Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become
teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged by God with greater strictness. James 3:1 (NLT)
Women should listen and learn quietly and submissively. 1 Timothy 2:11 (NLT)
But as for you, promote the kind of living that reflects right teaching… live in a way that is appropriate for someone serving the Lord. They must not go around speaking evil of others and must not be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to take care of their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God. Titus 2:1, 3-5 (NLT)
Oh Father, You’ve been so patient with me. I’ve despised Your discipline and pouted for a long time. I haven’t received Your chastisements as a loving Father dealing with His wayward daughter. Thank You for being patient to let me see that it is good that You deal with me so. Please set a guard over my lips, and fingers (for typing), that I might be restrained with silence while I’m learning something You want to teach me. And let me press forward in sharing Your word accurately. I know it begins in my own heart. This is my prayer:
Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, And I shall be innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. -Psalm 19:12-14
* Related: A Great Devotion from Elizabeth Elliot on Observation in Silence
Redeeming the time