To become mentors, women need to pay special attention to the type of woman God calls to this task. “In the same way, older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to much wine. They are to teach what is good” (Titus 2:3).
Reverent in Behavior
The word reverent comes from the Greek language and describes a priestess serving in the temple of her god in the full-time service of worship. In other words, these women were willing to give their entire lives to serving a false god. Christian women who serve the risen Lord should be more willing than these women to count all of their lives as holy, living sacrifices (see Rom. 12:1). This means that cooking and cleaning, resting and exercising, speaking and listening, in addition to studying God’s Word and praying are all of consequence in God’s kingdom. The reverent life for the godly older women in the local congregation is lived out moment-by-moment and is certainly worth modeling for younger women. Potential mentors are easy to spot, for they truly are passionate about their relationship with God and want to share it with others.
Older, godly women make younger women feel they can safely communicate their struggles and problems without fear of others knowing their confidences. Christian senior adults communicate appropriate Scriptures instead of inappropriate stories, so that younger women will turn to God’s Word instead of speaking in ungodly ways. For example, when mentorees have a problem (or a victory), they can learn to turn from sin (or to praise) and thank God by using God’s Word instead of their own words. The more the Word is used, the less chance for gossip. The Greek word for slanderer or malicious gossip is taken from the root word diabolus, which means “devil.” Satan uses broken confidences to divide believers. Vickie Kraft says, “A woman who is rooted in a deep relationship with God will not have the overwhelming need to pass on juicy tidbits to enhance her own popularity, and consequently her personal relationships will be protected.”1
Not Addicted to Much Wine
The Greek term used in this phrase means “drunkard.” It could also include other addictive behaviors such as abusing drugs, watching soap operas, excessive shopping, reading inappropriate materials, and overeating. If older women haven’t learned how to live life in submission to the Lord rather than to compulsive behaviors, they will have little to offer younger women. Recently through a Christian weight loss program the Lord revealed to me my own addictive behavior. Gluttony, to put it bluntly, was my weakness. Through Scripture study and learning to eat only when I’m truly, physically hungry, my focus has shifted from food to God. Now I’m gaining the victory (actually losing pounds) and will someday be free from my slavery to food. Any behavior that takes your mind and focus from God is not in His will. “Escaping reality does not promote biblical living.”2 Older women should avoid escaping reality and teach younger women of faith to avoid it too.
Teach What Is Good
Like every form of teaching, passing on knowledge must have a goal—some principle or objective that needs to be taught. The goal of godly mentoring is for an older role model to teach a younger, willing student how to live a godly life. Good in Greek means “morally good, noble, or attractive.” The mentor understands what is good and has a working knowledge of Scripture. She knows right from wrong as it is stated in the Bible. In addition, she knows it in principle. A mature woman of faith can guide a younger woman to depend on God’s work in her own life to accomplish His purpose. This is the goal of mentoring.
This article is adapted from a chapter written by Valerie Howe and found in Women Reaching Women: Beginning and Building a Growing Women’s Ministry compiled by Chris Adams.
1. Vickie Kraft, Women Mentoring Women (Chicago: Moody Press, 1992), 29.
2. Ibid., 30.