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“Keep Your Finger on the Text,” D.A. Carson Speaks on Gender

March 19, 2009

Courtney Tarter is a friend and previous staff member of CBMW. This blogpost originally appeared at In View of God's Mercy. We continue the series begun yesterday with Part I.

I was at a graduation brunch a week ago, and the woman who hosted the event had discipled the graduate for the last year. It was a sweet testimony of a Titus 2 relationship, and it was an encouragement I know to me, and I am sure to many who were there. As she gave a brief talk about the graduate, she encouraged every woman in the room to pour our lives into another woman even if we feel that we have nothing to offer. She encouraged us that God had made each of us to be a little bit ahead of a woman in some way, and that we can walk through life in obedience to the Titus 2 call on our lives. 

This was immensely encouraging to me. I don't know about you, but there are many times that I feel that I have nothing to offer to a younger woman. But as we have seen already, our ability to disciple is not based on our merit, but on the merit of Christ. If we are growing in Christlikeness and pursuing holiness we have something to offer-the Savior.

Mothers have an especially high calling to disciple their daughters. If you are a mother, your primary sphere of influence is your children-and especially in the life of your daughter. It is through you that she will learn what it means to be a woman, and it is your responsibility to teach her how to live as the woman that God has called her to be. Married women, even without daughters, can be a tremendous blessing to younger women around them. I know that my mom was encouraged and strengthened by an older, married woman in her life when she was a young mother with two children. And now that my mom's children are out of the house (or on their way out), she is a great source of encouragement to young mothers around her.

If you are married and do not have children yet, this does not mean that you are to wait for biological children in order to pour your life into others. Marriage is a maturing and sanctifying process that, by the grace of God, gives you tremendous opportunities to teach and train a woman who has not been given this season of life yet. Perhaps there is a college-age woman in your church who you can befriend and disciple. Or perhaps there are opportunities for you to serve the youth in your congregation by leading a small group Bible study. I have been so blessed by the married women in my life. They have taught me tremendous truths about loving their husbands and running a home-even before there were children in the picture.

Single women are called to be mentors, too. I wouldn't be writing about it if this were not a true statement! Singleness is a wonderful season of freedom to give our lives for the building up of God's kingdom. If we abandoned, or postponed, our calling to disciple younger women even now, we would be wasting our singleness-and doing a disservice to the Gospel. As we cultivate biblical womanhood in our own lives, we can use these times to teach other single, younger woman how to joyfully serve God even while we wait for what we desire. 

Maybe you have a young neighbor girl whose mother works nights. Perhaps you can invite her over to bake cookies and talk about the Gospel. Maybe you live in a college dorm with a lot of freshman. This is an amazing opportunity to be a help and encouragement to a young girl in her first year away from home.

Discipleship is for all ages and all seasons. As we grow in the Gospel, we should be seeking to impart the truth that we have received and taught. We have already seen that we do not mentor out of our own ability, but out of the strength that God provides. And we do not mentor only if we are seasoned with a long life, many experiences, and four kids. A heart of discipleship begins by cultivating it while we are young, and as we mature the Lord provides varying opportunities in different seasons of life. Discipleship looks very different as a single woman compared to a mother with many children and a husband.

And that is where we will pick up next time…


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