Living in Sacred Realities

Adorned (week 4)

In a conversation with a couple of teens several years ago, I used the word “sacred” in talking about the marriage relationship, as a sacred covenant before God, and they looked shocked. They seemed startled by the idea, then one said, “Sacred—what a cool word. But I never would’ve thought to put that word together with marriage.”

The idea that there are “sacred realities” is not just a mystical romantic notion. To live as a “reverent” woman is to live in the awareness of the sacred and adjust your life accordingly.

The passage we’ve been studying (Titus 2:3–5) contains the word “reverent” as something we’re encouraged to become: “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior . . .”

This is another word in our study that you may not hear every day, and may not be too familiar with. So, let’s consider what it means to be a “reverent woman” and later this week, I’ll provide instructions for how a reverent woman guards her conversations, as we move into the listed behaviors of Titus 2.

This is the fourth week in our summer study using Nancy Wolgemuth’s book: Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together. This week’s posts include my teaching notes for the session from our church’s women’s study, but instead of unloading it all on you in one SUPER LONG post (like last week), I’m dividing it up in five days with the homework portion at the end of the post (if you’re doing this as a summer study with us).

  1. A Reverent Woman Lives in the Awareness of the Sacred

Reverent: (Greek: ἱεροπρεπής [hee-er-op-rep-ace’] hieroprepés)

This word is a combination of two words: hieroprepḗss (from hieron, “a sacred place, a temple,” and prépō, “fitting) “befitting men, places, actions, or things sacred to God, reverent” (K. Wuest); “suited to a sacred character, reverend” (Abbott-Smith).

This is the only time the New Testament uses this word.

Let’s elaborate on this definition:

To be reverent is to live in a way that is “fitting” or suitable to God’s sacred character. To live a life of reverence is to live in the active “fear” of God. The reverent woman functions under the awareness of the presence of the Holy Almighty. The reverent woman is respectful toward sacred things, recognizes the sacred, and rejoices in the sacred. This is a picture of a reverent woman:

The reverent woman is in awe of “who God is;” she “trembles at His Word” (Isa. 66:1–2).

A good antonym for “sacred” is profane.

Profane: Characterized by irreverence or contempt for God or sacred principles or things; irreligious. Not devoted to holy purposes. Unholy; heathen; pagan; blasphemous.

To treat all things that were once considered sacred with irreverence is the air we breathe today. We live in a day where “OMG” is uttered by most people, even little ones, where God is mocked, and the “church lady” is an American Icon that is used as comic relief.

How did we get here? How did we move from a society that held God, and things pertaining to Christianity, as “off limits” to crude jokes and slams—to a society that seems to delight in mocking the sacred? I think we’ve moved into an era and culture of profanity because we’ve lost the one thing that is crucial to living a reverent life.

Reverence is a heart posture that affects all my attitudes and actions.

At the heart of reverence is the fear of God.

Homework Assignment: Read Proverbs 31:10–31, noting the admirable qualities and activities of this woman. Consider what kind of description that others would record about you based on your daily activities. Start reading Adorned Chapter 5–6.

What do you think of when you hear the word “reverence”?

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash