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God’s ideal plan for us as His women — and another aspect of His job assignment for us — is that we learn from other women the “good things” of God. We are called both to seek this guidance and pass on all that God has taught us through discipleship (Titus 2:3-4).
The word discipleship can call to mind a variety of scenarios. Most often we equate discipleship with one-on-one, weekly meetings with another woman for years on end. That would be wonderful, but for most people that is neither a reality nor even a possibility. We can, however, choose from some enriching alternatives if we really want to grow.
Classes are ours for the taking. Churches in every town offer Bible studies and Bible classes. Correspondence courses are also available. All you and I have to do is enroll, do the work, and let God grow us.
Counsel from fellow Christians is also a valid form of discipleship. If you’re having a problem, ask a trusted and godly person— and you’ll receive God’s perspective and the prayer support you need. Even if you’re unable to attend any classes or meet with a mentor right now, you can always ask for counsel.
Interviewing other Christian women is one of my favorite means of growth and discipleship. When God sent a godly, older woman to my church, I took one look at her busy life and saw clearly that she would never be able to commit to a series of discipleship sessions with me. So I made a list of all the questions I wanted to ask her and set up an appointment. We met just that one time, but those two precious hours she gave me were life changing! Much of my philosophy of ministry and many of the things I teach are a direct result of that one blessed time in her presence, drinking in her wisdom.
Observation is another biblical means of growth. After all, “the hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both” (Proverbs 20:12). So make sure you are watching, watching, watching! It’s a great way to learn. In fact, Bible teacher Carole Mayhall says one way to learn how to love and demonstrate respect and support your husband is to watch other women. When it comes to admiring your husband, for instance, “keep a list of how other women show admiration for their husbands.” Watch, learn, write down what you learn, and then try those new behaviors yourself.
Reading plays an important role in spiritual growth. Of course, the primary book to read is your Bible. There you’ll find God’s direct teaching. Books offer another avenue for growth and help you develop skills for ministering to women. As an author I always include study questions or have an accompanying study guide available for personal study, growth, and discipleship. Read the books of respected others, who have put into print for us their mentoring programs, their counsel, and their observations. When we read such books, we are discipled.
If you’re not quite convinced, consider these thoughts about the value of reading:
“Reading is the best way to gain knowledge…. [But] only 5% of the people living in the U.S. will either buy or read a book this year.”
Mrs. Billy Graham told her daughters, “Keep reading and you’ll be educated.”
“Don’t read at random — the most important key to reading effectiveness can be summed up in one word — selectivity.”
“One characteristic common to every effective person is that they are avid readers.”
If you’re thinking, “But I don’t have time to read!” or “I can’t add any more appointments to my life,” a wise first step would be a sober evaluation of how you’re living your life. It’s easy to think you don’t have time to read, time to ponder, or time to spend with other wise women. But the simple act of carrying a book everywhere you go gets many books read. I used to set my timer and read for just five minutes a day. That approach also gets many books read. And, simple observation or asking for counsel over coffee, with purpose and humility, will help you glean wisdom from women you respect.
As it was in Biblical times, we as women can feel a lack time for all the demands placed on our lives. But, we would be lacking indeed if we neglected the important call to learn from the many godly women that God has placed in our lives.
For more encouragement in your spiritual walk,
read A Woman After God’s Own Heart.