You’ve probably heard the old saying, “Discretion is the better part of valor.” This Shakespearean expression is said to mean that good judgment is better than rash bravery, and prudence is preferable to careless courage. That’s good advice, wise counsel that many an aged soldier has passed on to younger soldiers before they went off to war. Sound counsel like that ensures that our soldiers will make the most of their time in the service of our country, and make their lives count in the battle to preserve our freedom.
But as soldiers of the cross, the Apostle Paul tells us that there are some things that aged Christian women should pass on to younger Christian women, things that he wrote about in his epistle to Titus:
“The aged women… may teach the young women… to be discreet, chaste…” (Titus 2:3-5).
The word “discreet” means prudent, or wise when it comes to avoiding mistakes. It can also have the idea of exercising good judgment, and knowing the best way to accomplish a purpose. After Joseph told Pharaoh that seven years of famine were coming, he suggested, “let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt” (Gen. 41:33). It was absolutely crucial that Pharaoh find a man wise enough to avoid making mistakes, for it was going to be up to Egypt to keep the known world alive during those seven years of famine! They needed a prudent man who could exercise good judgment, and know how to accomplish the purpose of saving the world.
It is equally crucial for young Christian wives and mothers to be discreet, wise enough to avoid the mistakes that can destroy a marriage and family, and prudent enough to always exercise good judgment, so as to accomplish the purpose of making a home for their husbands and children. King Solomon had a thousand wives, and he wrote,
“As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion” (Proverbs 11:22).
That’s what the wisest man in the world said about a pretty wife who was too foolish to learn to be discreet. If you are a young man looking for a wife, you might want to keep that proverb in mind. And if you are a husband who is married to a discreet wife, that’s something for which you should thank God—especially if she is also “chaste,” the next thing that Paul says aged women should teach young women to be. Chastity is purity from extramarital sexual contact, and ignoring it is a mistake that exercises the highest form of bad judgment in marriage, for infidelity is one of the fastest ways to destroy a marriage and family.
Unless you are in what is called an “open marriage,” a union in which couples give one another permission to cheat. The fact that such a term even exists shows how low our society has plummeted in morality. Some very famous people have (or have had) open marriages, but if those people are your role models in life, you need to trade up for some better ones!
Young Christian women who seek to be soldiers of the cross should want to fight to preserve their marriages, for in doing so, they will make the most of their time in the service of the Savior, and make their lives count for Him. And since discretion and chastity are the very first things that Paul says aged Christian women should teach young Christian women, we know that being discreet and chaste are foundational virtues in which wives of all ages should seek to excel.
Women seek to be glamorous by nature, but Christian women should remember that discretion is the better part of glamour, and that there is nothing more attractive to a husband than a faithful wife.
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.