“People cannot thrive in our chaos.”
This is a leadership axiom with a lot of application. And it’s true. But have we ever thought of what chaos within an entire church can do to people?
In American culture, we are quickly moving towards gender chaos—perhaps we’re already there. We’re pressured to not assume a biological female identifies as a woman. We’re taught in schools and in news, a biological man can decide he’s a woman and we must call him “her”.
This is chaos.
As our culture moves towards the chaos of blurring the biological, emotional, and practical differences between men and women, Scripture offers a lens in sharp contrast. In our ongoing study of 1 Timothy we read in 1 Timothy 2:8-10:
8 Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. 9 I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
1 Timothy 2:8-10
New International Version
The Apostle wrote of the substance of praying (1 Timothy 2:1-7), now he gives application to Timothy—this is what he’s supposed to do with the substance Paul wrote about.
To the Christian men: praying should be done with the consistency of holy lives. Lifting hands in prayer would have been the normal way for Jewish people to pray, but we can’t assume Paul is trying to impart Jewish tradition so much as he’s insisting on holy hearts.
To the Christian women: praying should also be done with the consistency of holy lives. The seasoned Apostle, however, addresses this using an illustration drawn from Roman culture. Instead of pursuing vanity, Godly women pursue holiness. Note: Paul is not dismissing beauty; he’s expanding it to not only be physical.
As the seasoned Apostle begins unfolding the application of prayer, we find part of the power of the Gospel is it is restoring order to chaos. Anger, disputing, provocative dress, drawing attention to oneself, are illustrations of chaos in our lives. Conversely, Christians—men and women of faith—are called to be different.
We are called to order.
As the Gospel is changing us as individuals, it is also changing us in the Church. It is transforming our desires, perspectives, hopes, dreams, trajectories, and values.
Understanding this order the Lord is calling us towards is crucial for us to understand not only these verses but the verses following this as well.
As Christian men lift up holy hands supported by holy lives and Christian women live lives of worship adorned with the pearls of God’s praise, may the world see the Gospel transforms the Lord’s church and the church members.
Instead of blurring the abilities, strengths, and benefits of the two genders God created, the Gospel redeems manhood and womanhood. It offers us the way to see the created order God gave us before we fell into sin.
In a world of gender confusion chaos, Scripture offers order. And in this order, we thrive.
Interested in more like this? Consider my book: 31 Days of Spiritual Wisdom: A Month in the Proverbs. Moving through a selection of verses from a chapter of Proverbs for every day of the month, I walk readers through a journey of spiritual formation applicable to everyday life. The goal? Knowing how to apply the wisdom of Scripture so we grow in our faith, become wiser, and show the world the life-changing power of Jesus.