Apologetics: ə-pŏl'ə-jĕt'ĭks from the Greek απоλоγία Def: The branch of theology that is concerned with defending or proving the truth of Christian doctrines.

Dressmaking 101 and Lessons in Reverence...

Written By Esthermay Bentley-Goossen on 30 March 2006

When I was nine years old my mother taught me how to sew. We spent probably two hours at So-Fro-Fabrics looking at all the pattern books, and another two hours selecting our fabric. I recall it was light blue with little white dots. It reminded me of a delicate, speckled robin’s egg. My mother called it Dotted Swiss. And since it was spring I had chosen a pattern for what would become my Easter dress.

My mother patiently showed me how to lay out the pattern pieces, cut out the fabric, and then sew the pieces together. Although I’m sure I did not think about it at the time, there was a great deal of love and joy for my mother in what she was doing. She was being a Titus 2 Woman!

So-Fro-Fabrics is long gone from Oak Park Mall. Probably a sign that sewing is one of those things now considered a lost art. Perhaps it is. But you don’t need expert skills as a seamstress to be a Titus 2 Woman. You do need character not unlike the“holy women of old.” (I Peter 3:5) What does that mean? “… women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior…” - Titus 2:3

In modern American, the word "behavior" refers to conduct or manners. But in the Greek, "behavior" refers much more to a life condition - inner characteristics – which, in turn, leads to outward behavior. The Greek word is katastema and it literally means “a standing down.” It speaks of a way of living that establishes something – living a life that really stands for something. This specific word is used no where else in the entire Bible! It’s meaning is just for women!

The King James Bible expresses it beautiffully: “behavior as becometh holiness.” This phrase combines hieros meaning “sacred” or “reverent” and prepo meaning "to stand up or to stick out." Paul is telling us to be obvious and noticeable! I kind of like that. But there’s an enormous difference between being noticeable and being proud, provocative or ostentatious.

An honest evaluation of today’s culture reveals that reverence and holiness are not character qualities that most young women have been taught. It used to be that these values were learned from either your parents or your church. The same was true for how you dressed. But what is being taught in homes and churches today about holiness, reverent behavior and appropriate dress? In most homes and churches
I’m afraid not much. How can the future “older-women” be “reverent in their behavior” if they’ve never been taught themselves?!

What does reverent behavior look like? Do you remember the first time you fell in love? I do. I was giddy all the time. All I wanted to do was think about Mark and every one of his characteristics and all his attributes. I doted on his every word. I thought he was probably the greatest person that ever lived. That’s how God wants us to be with Him – to have an all-consuming passion for Him to the exclusion of everything else. Unlike my Mark, God won’t fizzle out and disappoint you. (Oops! Did I say that out loud?!) When we put all our energy in people, they will disappoint us. God will not. If you have this kind of passion for God, you will have reverent behavior.

A woman with reverent behavior is not a sullen, old-fashioned “church-lady” who incessantly quotes Scripture and never laughs. She enjoys life. She laughs and speaks freely. She does not have a false idea of spirituality. She has fun with the Lord. She wants to make others comfortable. She shows love by acting properly as she rejoices in every day that the Lord has made. Her dress, attitude and behavior are naturally pleasing to the Lord. She enjoys the freedom that we have in Christ to wear make-up and fashionable clothes. She is a modern-version of the “holy women of old.”

Anyone in your life come to mind? I’m thinking of my mom! I was lucky. She’s a fine seamstress and reverant in behavior (and embarrassed over my using this photo. As a woman, I understand the whole hair-syle-thing. Sorry, Mom.) But there’s nothing embarrasing about a mother passing on dress-making skills along with character, reverence and modesty.

Our character needs to be obvious and visible. Not just to our daughters, but to the world. It must complement our highest calling. It encompasses not just the movements of our body and our individual skills and talents, but our expressions and our mood and our countenance and what we say and what we don’t say. And the thing that most dramatically affects our character is what’s inside our heart. Make sure it’s the resurrected Jesus.

And by the way, my Mark only fizzles out and disappoints me in direct proportion to my sometimes-lacking reverent behavior. He is the love of my life and he keeps me humble.

-Esthermay Bentley-Goossen
(This article originally appeared in Windows - The monthly church-news & ministry newsletter of Crane Community Chapel.)

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