God's View of Women

Janet Aucoin October 8, 2021

On this podcast, hosts Janet and Alexandra discuss principles and methods. In the church, we should base all of our life principles on scripture, even though the methods we use might be different from person to person. Understanding the difference between principles and methods is crucial to experiencing the unity of Christ. Main Passage: 1 Peter 3:8

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Resources:

Books

By Design - Susan Hunt

Eve In Exile - Rebekah Merkle

Men and Women in the Church – Kevin DeYoung

Articles

Liberated but bound - Caitlin Flanagan

A Place to Eat, Sleep, and Watch - Greg Morse

Interview

Tom Holland

Janet: I don't just need to feel better. I need the truth. And ultimately that will make me better.
Alexandra: I just want to make it as totally simple and no brainer as possible for ladies to see that
the Bible is really applicable to their everyday life.
Jocelyn: When they understand theology, the application flows out of it quickly with joy.
Janet: It is a journey, but even the journey itself is joyful when I'm doing it, holding the hand of
my savior and trusting him all along the way. This is the joyful journey podcast, a podcast to
inspire and equip women to passionately pursue beautiful biblical truth on their journey as
women of God. When you choose truth, you're choosing joy. Typically, I’ll be joined by either
Jocelyn or Alexandra, but for our first full episode listen as all three of us discuss the topic of
joy.
Janet: Hello, everyone. Welcome back. I'm Janet again here with Alexandra.
Alexandra: Hi.
Janet: And Alexandra. I know you're leading us today in a discussion that you're calling
principles and methods, and I was so helped by our conversation about it that I know everyone
else is going to be helped by this too. So lead us away.
Alexandra: Yeah, I just want to say, first of all, that most of the teaching, if not practically
everything I'm going to be talking about today, I got it from a book. I didn't come up with this
material by myself by any means the book is called "The Fruit of Her Hands" by Nancy Wilson.
And when I read this, there was some strife going on. And understanding this chapter in this
book really helped me process some strife that I was seeing--
Janet: Oh I love it.
Alexandra: in the local church. And so I'm really, really, really excited. People that I've talked to
about this. They're like, oh man. That's so simple, but so profound. So take anything that you
hear today that you're like, oh man, I want to read more about that or hear more, get the book,
"The Fruit of Her Hands" by Nancy Wilson.
Janet: So I'm going to start with just asking you to define-- you said principles and methods. So
give me definitions of each and where you're going.
Alexandra: That's a great, great idea. Okay. So a principle is a basic truth, a general law or
doctrine. Used as a basis of reasoning or a guide to actions or behavior. Now I'm,
Janet: That's a lot of words.
Alexandra: I was going to say, I'm not like coming up with that, that's it a definition from a
dictionary. But essentially it's the reason behind we do things.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: So there's the why. It's the reasoning.
Janet: The why I like that.
Alexandra: Yes. Behind the why. So there are worldly principles and then there are Christian
principles and this should not be a shock to you. We should have a different value system than
the world's.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: Our principles should be different.
Janet: Excellent. And you know, if you're thinking about that, we did episode two, that's on our
purpose. Why we're here and the values of God. I would encourage you to go back there. But
yes, it should be very different.
Alexandra: Absolutely. So for the believer. Principles we find that in God's word. So it's either a
direct command or a principle that we learned throughout scripture. And it's an undeniable
responsibility that we as Christians, we should all agree on.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: So I'm going to give you an example just to kind of play this out a little bit. Okay. I
have a six month old daughter. A principle is I need to feed my daughter because she's not old
enough to feed herself. All Christians can agree --
Janet: I don't know anybody that would say don't feed your daughter.
Alexandra: Exactly. We can all I agree on that, that God's word supports that. That's the
principle. Now there are multiple methods to each principle. So here are some methods. She's six
months old, so she can start having solids. I could have nursed her up until this point or done
formula. Now that she's six months, I could pick either of those options. I can also introduce the
little baby foods from jars. I can do baby led weaning. There are so many different methods on
how to feed your baby, but the principle is I have to feed the baby. Janet, do you have any
examples of principles and methods in your life or something that you can think of?
Janet: Yeah, so I was thinking about that. and one that comes to my mind. When our kids were
younger, we, and we believe this, the principal, I believe from scripture-- my husband and I, I
think about parenting a lot, cause we teach parenting conferences. And we try to talk mostly
about principles. There is a principle in scripture that my home should be God-centered and not
child- centered. I don't want my children to think that the goal of life is that they're the center of
it. God is the center. Not them. I believe that that's true. And I don't think there's any Christian
who would say no, God shouldn't be the center. Their child should be the center of everything
that happens in the world. No we would all agree. Okay. So that's also going to mean, another
principle. My relationship with my husband is one flesh and permanent, until the Lord would
allow that to change. But with my children, the goal is to raise them up, and they go on. So it's a
temporary relationship. So I need to prioritize my relationship with my husband. Somehow. All
kinds of methods for this. In our home, we had our kids in bed at 7:30, because then we had time
with each other. But that's just a method. There are other people who would say, you know what,
nighttime is our family time. It's the only time we can actually be together. By the time my
husband gets home from work. And our kids go to bed a lot later and that's our time together.
And we get up early in the morning and my husband and I have time. And that's how we
prioritize it. And there are 8,000 other ways that you could do that. But the principle is Godcentered
home. My husband is the permanent relationship. Methods, all kinds of ways.
Alexandra: So many ways.
Janet: And so different from each other.
Alexandra: Yeah. Yeah. So another example that I thought of was about discipleship. And there's,
I guess, two main ways that you could do discipleship. Okay. you can do life on life, which is,
Hey, you know, As, my husband's in college ministry. So he's a college pastor. So I can say, Hey,
college girl, why don't you come over and fold laundry with me, or let's go grocery shopping
together.
Janet: Yeah.
Alexandra: And then just organic conversation comes up, and I'm using that to point them
towards Christ. Okay. That's life on life. Or more structured is, Hey, we're going to meet at this
time. We're going to open our Bibles and we're going to walk through this passage together. So I
have done both frankly. It just depends on what season of life I'm in. As I've added children to
my family, that more structured discipleship has not really been possible. So it has become more
life on life. I feel like you can do either, but so the principle is I'm called to disciple. We're called
to be disciple-makers.
Janet: What I'm hearing though, is you can't say I don't need to be discipling in any way.
Alexandra: Right.
Janet: So there's the principle.
Alexandra: So that's the principle.
Janet: I need to be in discipleship relationships in some way.
Alexandra: Exactly.
Janet: Love it.
Alexandra: Jesus calls us to that go. And make disciples. Methods. One method can be more
structured. One method can be more organic. And like I said, that's kinda how it's been for me.
But my husband, he prefers the more structured stuff, because he's an introvert and it's more
challenging for him to do the life on life. And especially with he wants, when he's home, he
wants to really be focusing on the kids. So that's just what, in this current season, what it looks
like.
Janet: Now, think about that though. If Stefan's, her husband, his preferred method is structured,
but if we believed, if you're going to disciple, it needs to look like that. Then what I'd be thinking
if I were you. Well, you're in a season of life where you can't do it. You're now a failure because
you can't do it that way right now with five young children.
Alexandra: Yeah.
Janet: Instead of realizing that's one method.
Alexandra: Yeah.
Janet: And there are other ways.
Alexandra: And what I've noticed is that some churches are stronger in one of these two
methods.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: But then it tends to be the people, some people in each church, they complain a little
bit. Not everyone, but there are people that complain, and they wish they had the other.
Janet: Right.
Alexandra: So like, we see a lot in our church, the more structured.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: And we, I hear some murmuring of, you know, I wish we had more life on life. Well,
if you want that great.
Janet: Then do it.
Alexandra: No one's telling you not to. But
Janet: right.
Alexandra: I hear, you know, we can all find something to complain about with the methods that
aren't popular in our particular church culture. But essentially in the body of Christ, families will
share many principles because we base them on scripture. Right. But the methods will vary
depending on the family.
Janet: So why is this even important?
Alexandra: That's a really, really great question. So this is why I think it's very important. It's
because it becomes a problem when we elevate our method to the level of principle.
Janet: Yes. Which is basically saying the level of scripture, because we're saying the principle is
from scripture.
Alexandra: Yes. It becomes a moral issue to me. Okay. Why this is dangerous is, I can start to
pressure people to join my particular method, and they can turn into a crusade.
Janet: Yeah.
Alexandra: And I think this, I can't speak to like every situation, obviously, like I'm not going to
give an all or nothing statement, but I think this is the cause of a lot of strife in a church, that
happens. And it does not glorify God. And it can even lead sometimes to church splits.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: And I'm going to read, actually, Janet, would you read?
Janet: I would love to
Alexandra: 1 Thessalonians 5, verses 12 and 13.
Janet: We ask you brothers to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord,
and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace
among yourselves.
Alexandra: Okay. So right there we see, we can't be squabbling about stuff. We are called to be at
peace to strive for that. That requires effort. Strive for peace amongst one another. So when we
are bickering and overzealous about our method, leading to strife, that is not pleasing to God.
When I am overzealous about a method in my life, it causes me to be critical towards other
people that haven't adopted that into their life. Essentially, methods, they are not moral issues,
so we should not be fighting about it.
Janet: Yeah.
Alexandra: I mentioned that a lot of this is from the book, the fruit of her hands and Nancy
Wilson writes, "the biggest danger arises when people begin to think their own methods of
applying biblical principles are more spiritual. The result is a feeling of superiority over others
who differ. And this obviously leads to self-righteousness, envy, jealousy, defensiveness and
quarrels."
Janet: And that's so hard because we've made the choice we've made for a reason. And so it's
very easy to then say, and I made it for spiritual reasons. Therefore, if you make a different
decision, you're not spiritual. Which now I've elevated my method. And now it's the kingdom of
Janet. And others need to fall in line. But it's so easy for all of us to do.
Alexandra: So, so easy. Okay. So a person and a family, they have to pray and seek wisdom to
make their decision on what they think honors God with their specific circumstances. So if you
are talking with someone, and they have a different method than you, and you maybe disagree
with that. Try asking what they did and why, or if you want to learn--
Janet: Learn from the principle..
Alexandra: Yeah, exactly. And so. This is hard for me to say, and probably going to be hard for
people to hear. But if there is someone who is an overzealous older woman, and I am an older
woman, right? I'm over college kids in ministry. So I say this to myself too. Other people's
methods are not our business.
Janet: What? I don't know. I'm pretty sure. Cause I have very strong opinions and I'm pretty sure
it's all my business.
Alexandra: It's so hard.
Janet: Isn't it? Because we think that, and I would add to that. Not only did we just naturally
elevate our own thoughts, we just do. All of us. So that's going to be a battle, always. We're in a
society that is compelling us to have a side on every issue.
Alexandra: Oh. So true.
Janet: And then they have a side then on every method. And who's right. And who's wrong. I
don't even need to have the facts, but I need to have an opinion.
Alexandra: And if you're silent, wrong.
Janet: There you go. So we're being pulled to do that by our society. We're pulled to do that by
our own sinful flesh.
Alexandra: Yeah.
Janet: so we older women. We need to hear that.
Alexandra: Yeah. And I think for younger women, which I'm also a younger woman.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: Right. Younger women or people who are young in the faith, they're more vulnerable.
And in these situations, young women, they can be made to feel like they're not as holy in God's
eyes, unless they also choose that method.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: And so I'm speaking in situations where, you know, the older woman is just very
zealous about her particular method. So, for example, when I'm talking with college girls, this
sobers me. Because I do have strong opinions about things and I have to be very, very careful. I
need to teach God's word God's principles, and I need to share a variety of methods. And then if
someone chooses things differently, I have to be okay with that. And I'll give you an example.
my husband and I, we waited till the day before our wedding to have our first kiss. We had one
kiss in private the day before our wedding. And I really, I mean, that worked out well.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: Well, for us.
Janet: You had good reasons for why you did it and you're grateful for it.
Alexandra: Yes. The principle is, we were seeking purity, and that was our method to pursue
purity in our relationship. In our dating relationship. That is not dogma. And I have to remember
that. And that's really hard for me. I'll be honest with you guys. It's really hard for me when I see
people making different choices.
Janet: Making different choices. Yes.
Alexandra: So yeah, but all in all, it is good that our methods differ. And the reason why is
because God created diversity and diversity is a beautiful thing.
Janet: Yes. Yes.
Alexandra: So we do have to be honest though, that some methods, they really are superior. I
don't know if that's the best word, but some are superior,
Janet: Wiser and more biblical.
Alexandra: Yeah. Wiser. Some may be more foolish based upon your circumstances. so I may
have a method that is wiser than another person's. But I have to realize that some people might,
and I should say, some people most assuredly I'm sure, have methods that are wiser than things
that I do.
Janet: Right.
Alexandra: So what should you do when you see someone choosing a method that I may not
have chosen, but they're still seeking to honor God by pursuing a biblical principle? I can step
back and I can just rejoice that we have a common commitment to biblical principles.
Janet: Yeah. and it takes a lot of maturity to be able to think, I really think what I'm doing is
wisest, and I might be wrong. There may be things I don't know.
Alexandra: Hmm.
Janet: And I think we think it's maturity, but I'm going to suggest it's actually immaturity to think
in a very black and white way. I did this for right reasons. Therefore, if you love God, you'll do it
the same way.
Alexandra: Yeah.
Janet: Unless it's a principle, I need to let it go.
Alexandra: Yeah. It can be really hard.
Janet: Yes, it is.
Alexandra: Okay. So let's read through Titus 2: 3 and 5. It says older women, likewise are to be
reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good. And
so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure,
working at home, kind and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be
reviled. So, Janet, can you speak to how this passage in Titus two, how Paul advises the older
women to instruct the younger women? And can you help us see how older women are not to be
as attached as younger women? Or how that happens?
Janet: Hopefully, I mean that when we talk about older women, we're talking about older
spiritually. so I pray that as I mature chronologically that I'm also maturing spiritually, but that's
not always the case, but when you're older spiritually, you're going to see some things
differently. if you think about just in a parenting, we've been talking, it applies way beyond
parenting, but that's, certainly a common one that we hear about a lot. As you become older, one
thing that's happened is that method that you thought was amazing. Didn't work on child three.
Alexandra: Yeah.
Janet: So now you can't even follow your own method. So there's some wisdom that comes from
that. I can then look back and things that seemed so important. I can remember potty training my
first child. And that needs to happen. Can we all just agree? It might not actually be a biblical
principle, but I think we're all gonna agree that unless biologically, they can't be potty trained,
nobody wants your kid going to college and diapers. So there comes a point where it's just a
really good idea. But it feels very important to do it at whatever age others are telling you. And
in the method others are telling you. And I had a lot of advice, and I have some incredibly
helpful advice, let me just say. The woman I went to the most that helped me, I did not feel
pressured. I was just ignorant and I wanted ideas of methods because I had none to start with. So
she was very, very helpful. But now, as an older woman, I know there's a lot of ways to do that.
And I have yet to have somebody ask me or my children, so when were you potty trained and
how did that go? It felt so important at the time, but nobody's even asking, were you two or
three. Were you maybe four?
Alexandra: Can you imagine introducing yourself at Bible study. Hi, my name is Alexandra. I
was potty trained before I was two.
Janet: Yeah. Yeah. Like that was something to be proud of.
Alexandra: Kind of a big deal.
Janet: Yeah. We joke about how we want to just be so proud of, I just have to tell you, because
it's hysterical. We all want to have something we're proud of. So when you potty train young, it's
not usually the kid that's proud. They don't really care. Sometimes they do. But, it's the moms.
Cause look what a good mom I am that my kid is potty trained at three months or whatever. We
were joking about this. And when my son was in Sunday school, I don't even know probably first
grade, I don't know, second grade they were boasting about things. And one of them was
boasting that he was, he could spell like a 12th grader, or whatever-- way above his-- cause I'm
sure he was in some class and he knew what grade level he was in spelling. So my son came
home and he said, well, there was a kid. And he said, my eyes adjust to darkness in 45 seconds.
So proud of himself. And we were like, first of all, I think that's a big deal, but wow. That was a
really big, so we're all gonna look for that thing. my kid potty trained at whatever. And when we
look back, we're able to realize, some things that felt like they mattered--. In principle, we want
to potty train, but by method, it's not nearly as important as it felt in that moment. But when I
talk to only other young moms, we're all feeling it.
Alexandra: That's really interesting that you brought up potty training. Cause I was thinking
about this example, and a friend of mine who I asked her permission before, before coming today
if I could share this because it's just such a sweet, sweet example, I feel like. So she had a son
who, you know, in case you've missed the point, like culturally right now. there's this message
that you should potty train by two.
Janet: Early.
Alexandra: Yes. Early, because if you wait, then you're dealing more with that child's will, and
it's just easier to do it when they're younger, before that strong will really kicks in at 2 and a half
and so.
Janet: Which can we just stop and say what biblical principle says we do things based on ease
anyway? So can we just start with, why is that even why we're making that decision, but anyway.
Go ahead.
Alexandra: Preach. Okay. So she was stressing because, or I should just say she felt the weight of
a decision because her son was two and he was really struggling with a rebellious heart. I mean,
already, just really struggling. And I've been there. I understand.
Janet: Yup.
Alexandra: and she was also had this pressure of like, okay, I'm trying to potty train. We just
started potty-training.
Janet: Because I'm supposed to.
Alexandra: Yes, but I'm also, man, it requires a lot of spanking right now. It requires a lot of
discipline and I'm struggling to be patient because I'm trying to potty train and I'm trying to deal
with sharpening my child's heart. And she came to me and she said, what do I do? He's two. He's
about to turn two. What do I do? And I said, he will learn how to be potty trained. That heart of
rebellion, that's going to progress. Like if you're going to look at either one, you're going to want
to choose shepherding the heart, because I mean,
Janet: and that's what God prioritizes. Yes.
Alexandra: But culturally Christian culture even does--. There's a pressure to get all of that done
at the same time. And I just commend her because she said, you know what, I'm just going to
wait. I'm going to wait on potty training. And he may have been in diapers longer than other kids
in his class. I mean, I know he's probably, I know her, he's potty trained now. He's fine. But like
she made that hard choice to go against maybe a perceived Christian culture message that we, as
young moms feel the pressure for.
Janet: Right.
Alexandra: And I just, I just love that. She chose a method based upon the principle of, I am
called to shepherd my child's heart. I'm going to stand before the Lord. He's not going to ask me,
Hey, what age did you potty train? He's going to say, how well did you do at stewarding this
child's heart?
Janet: Yes. And I love that because she chose love for her child over love for her reputation.
Alexandra: Oh yes. Yes. Okay. So for the younger women listening, how, okay. In all honesty, I
grew up with a grandmother who I just loved. I loved. That was kind of our family's culture is we
loved the older people, but that's not really popular right now.
Janet: That's right.
Alexandra: Like respecting older people. So why is it important to have older people in our
lives? And how can they help us? So I think one thing is that they have years of experience.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: And I think it's very easy to get into a bad cycle, towards despair. And I think older
women can be really key, a key component that God has given us to breaking these bad cycles.
And I think it starts with, there's this perceived standard that we may be feeling in our area of the
country. You know, I'm sure it's different in different, different parts of our world, even. there's a
perceived standard and just this pressure, and it becomes frustrating. Kind of like what you
mentioned earlier. It becomes frustrating when we can't attain it. And older women, because
they're not in the same season of life as us, they're probably not experiencing those same
pressures of standards. And so they're, they're more free to just see the truth. You know, that can
just become so cloudy.
Janet: I think it's also because for older women, the standards were very different. So it's obvious
to us that the standards keep changing. You know, when I was a baby, my mom was told you
should use formula. It costs more, but it's healthier because we put all these extra things in it. So
that's what she did. And I'm not here to say one or the other, but I think we could all agree, today,
you would hear, you should try to nurse because that's healthier.
Alexandra: Yeah.
Janet: So when you're an older woman, you're like, oh, I've like seen this cycle, and it's going to
keep changing. So what you're feeling, all this pressure about, I'm thinking, that's just so not even
a big deal. Like when my kids were little, we, that wasn't the pressure. It was a different one.
Alexandra: Yeah.
Janet: So we're able to see a little bigger.
Alexandra: Yeah. And as I was talking-- that example I gave earlier about the potty training, you
know, when I had my first kid, I definitely, I stressed about trying to make it happen.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: But I have five kids now. And I'm like, oh man.
Janet: Whatever.
Alexandra: I have twins. I'm like, I just hope they're potty trained by the time they're in
kindergarten. Like I, yeah. So it just, as time progresses, you really do release a lot of those
standards that you felt like you needed. And I think. something to remember is we're all gifted
differently. And so the reason why someone may choose a particular method in their life, it may
be because it plays to their strengths. And I think each of us can just thank God for the ways that
he has gifted us and in our own talents and ask him to help us use them for his glory and stop
comparing to other moms
Janet: Amen. Yes.
Alexandra: That we think that we're holding up high on a pedestal. And I'll get more to that later.
But Galatians 6: 4 has been so helpful to me. Janet, would you mind reading Galatians 6: 4?
Janet: Sure. But let each one test his own work. And then his reason to boast will be in himself
alone and not in his neighbor.
Alexandra: So this isn't like, I'm not telling you guys to boast in yourselves. But let each one test
his own work. So I am called to examine my circumstances, test myself. And I should, my goal
is that I need to glorify God with my specific circumstances. Because it's going to be unique to
everyone around me. So that's why it's so important to when you see other people using different
methods, get to the principle. What is the principle behind why they chose their methods? And
then I need to figure out how God's principles best applies to my specific circumstances.
Janet: But that's, it's a lot more work. It's a lot easier to just follow everybody's methods.
Alexandra: Oh yes. Yes.
Janet: Until that takes you to despair. I remember when my kids were little, my husband came
home once and he said, how come we completely reorient, like how we structure our day every
time you've spent time with a different person? Cause I came back with, I need a sit time, and a
playtime, and a nap time, and a reading time, and a quiet time, and a Bible time, and a teaching
time, and a serving time. And it was like, cause they're all good things, and people I know were
doing them. But that doesn't mean-- Exactly like you said, look at the why behind it. Look at my
own family, and do what's best for our family.
Alexandra: Stop comparing yourself to people and compare yourself to scripture. Yeah. So a lot
of what we're talking about can be under the umbrella of Christian liberties.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: And so I'm not going to do like a huge, deep dive on it, but Christian liberties,
essentially it's areas of our lives where God tends to give us a little bit more freedom, but we're
still called to honor him with that. And where we see this in scripture is Romans 14, specifically
verse 23. So Janet, would you please read from Romans 14 about Christian liberties?
Janet: Yeah. Absolutely. I'm going to read It's in verse 23, but the context here is people who are
at odds about whether or not they should eat certain foods that were sacrificed to idols. And
here's what he says. But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something,
you're sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you're not following your convictions, if you do
anything you believe is not right, you're sinning.
Alexandra: So essentially every decision that I make has to come from faith. That's what needs to
be the why. And my faith comes from, I need to be grounded in the word of God. I mean, my
faith comes from the Holy Spirit, but I really do need to be grounded in the scriptures to make
sure that I know why I'm doing what I'm doing. So Janet, can you give examples of different
Christian liberties that you see commonly?
Janet: So many? And if you look at that passage in Romans 14, he was talking about two
different things. One was some people honor other days above. So some people were honoring
certain days, some were saying, all days are alike. And then some were saying, you can eat any
food. The other idols aren't even real. And others were saying you shouldn't. So that's where--
those were the ones that came up in their day. Well, when I think about honoring days, I would
even say a Christian Liberty issue is, do you go out to eat on Sunday. Is one day different from
other days? Some would say Sunday, you should not go out to eat at a restaurant because people
shouldn't have to work.
Alexandra: Oh. Interesting. I never heard that.
Janet: Because they should be going to church. Chick-fil-A knows that that's why they closed.
Right?
Alexandra: Yeah.
Janet: So have been around people who, do not go out to eat on Sunday for that reason. And they
can do that. But that's a method. Their's was about food sacrificed to idols. Ours might be more
about what is the bad food now on whatever's the bad food list, and nobody should eat that and it
can't be processed, or it should be processed a certain way, or you have to do this, or you can't do
that. How do you approach dating and courtship? What do you think of birth control? How do I
dress? How do I do my hair? What kind of music? Am I hymns only? Am I Christian only?
What do I think about jazz? What am I going to do with different things? So many ways that we
need to have Christian liberty.
Alexandra: Jazz, I've never heard-- is jazz a Christian Liberty? Like is, have you heard that
before?
Janet: Oh.
Alexandra: Okay.
Janet: Yeah, absolutely. With different kinds of music. Yes.
Alexandra: Like not-- okay.
Janet: It could be sensual.
Alexandra: Okay. Oh, okay. Gotcha. Gotcha. I was like, that's so specific, jazz. But okay. I see
what you're saying. Yeah. So Christian liberties, you can, I can hear a lot of the principles in
there I'm called to worship.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: Right. But then the methods of worship are different. I'm called to, you know, pursue
modesty, but the different methods of modesty can be different. And that's
Janet: called the steward, my body.
Alexandra: Yeah.
Janet: But that doesn't mean that I must eat this way and never eat that. And that I need to impose
that on you.
Alexandra: Yeah. So something that I think is interesting is I think that women tend to enjoy
lists. I know I do. But I think that they provide a false sense of security. And I think, and I don't
just mean like making a grocery list. Like I'm not calling out anyone who is preparing their
Meijer list.
Janet: Good thing, because I just have my Meijer list.
Alexandra: But I think the reason why lists as it pertains to like carrying out a principle in my
life, I think it can be dangerous, like prone towards legalism. Let's just say that because it gives
us a sense of control. So we're going to talk more about like the security aspect later, but here's
what I'm saying. If people are like, what are you talking about, Alexandra? Lists? Okay. As a
new mom or just in, I feel like in different new phases of my life, we're all very insecure.
Janet: Absolutely.
Alexandra: And each new phase of life,
Janet: It's all unknown.
Alexandra: And as a new mom, I know that I clutched my methods of structure desperately. And
honestly, I sinfully had a sense of superiority over those who didn't implement the structures that
I did. And now that I have five kids, I'm just like, I can look back on that time and think, wow, I
was so arrogant. It really, insecurity is what fed that.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: It's what fed to me really clinging to legalism.
Janet: Yeah. Coming up with rules, and how interesting, cause you wouldn't think arrogance was
a fruit of an insecurity, but it is. I'm not secure that what I'm doing is honoring the Lord, so I'll
make my list and that's, what's giving me value as a mom. And so now I have to look down on
everybody else. So my insecurity can lead to arrogance. But I do think we all need to remember
that. Because we're fellow travelers and there's somebody around you that you're watching them
cling to their method. Well, now I don't need to get arrogant over how I'm over that. I need to
remember, that was me, and have grace towards my fellow travelers who are in different times of
arrogance. Either arrogant that you must follow my method or arrogant that I'm so smart, I know
that any method will work.
Alexandra: Yeah. Yep. And that's a perfect lead into 1 Peter 3: 8. Would you mind reading that
for us?
Janet: Sure.
Alexandra: And we'll get back to talking about security and where to find security, which really
gives me the freedom to choose methods. But I love what you were talking about, how I should
really respond when other people have a different method than me.
Janet: Yes. Finally, all of you have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a
humble mind.
Alexandra: I love this verse.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: This verse really helps us see just how we can-- we're going to just walk through this
verse and see how to apply basically when we are a body of Christ with a variety of different
methods, and hopefully all pursuing biblical principles together. So 1 Peter 3: 8 first says, have
unity of mind be of one mind. Basically, have the mind of Christ when it comes to principles. We
should have brotherly love. We need to show compassion, bear one another's weaknesses and
forgive one another.
Janet: Yeah.
Alexandra: We need to be tender hearted, which means I don't get on a soapbox and preach about
my particular method that I think works best, or works best for me. This also means that we do
not slander one another behind each other's backs and we don't gossip. And, it's not challenging
to do these things with a person that agrees with us on every point.
Janet: Yep.
Alexandra: And so really grace is needed to bear with those who have different methods than us.
And ultimately when we are keeping the gospel as the main thing; as we live daily in God's
grace, that makes it possible for me to freely extend God's grace towards other people,
Janet: Yep.
Alexandra: because in reality, methods-- And I've said this earlier, I'm going to say it again-- it is
not a moral issue. If it is, then we're not talking about a method. We're talking about a principle.
Janet: Right. We're talking about the principle. Yep.
Alexandra: Methods. I should be able to show grace. When I am cross centered, I should be free
to show grace towards someone that has a different method than me.
Janet: Because you'll be valuing what God values.
Alexandra: Exactly. So I talked a little bit earlier about how insecurity can really drive clinging
to a method and elevating it to the level of a principle.
Janet: Yeah.
Alexandra: And again, the reason why this is bad is because it tends to cause strife amongst the
body of Christ. Okay. So Janet, now that we fleshed out the differences between principles and
methods, we're going to switch and talk a little bit about the dangers of clinging to a method as a
security. Why do you think that Christians like to find a set of holy rules for their lives?
Janet: Well, you mentioned, you know, we enjoy them. I think there is this sense of security
there. I also think, it limits what I "owe God." We think, you know, we talk about, we tend to be
legalistic, but the reality is a legalist does not understand the law. Because if we understood it,
we would see it the way Paul says. It would crush us.
Alexandra: Yeah.
Janet: We can't do it. But what we do is pick and choose certain rules. We're actually just a
legalist to our own rules, not the scriptures. And we find things that we can fulfill. And then I can
say I've done it. And actually I've done all that I owe and now I can actually be selfish without
any guilt. The rest of it's me. I've done what I could. And now I can feel good about me. So in a
lot of ways, I think, the rules allow me to have something tangible so I can sometimes know I
can feel good about me cause I did it. And I can know when I'm done. When in reality, you're
never done. I always need to keep growing in grace, but I want to know when I'm done. And the
rules allow me to say, good, I did all the things that God says. Now, what do I just want to do? 3
Alexandra: Yeah. And I think also, having like holy rules in my life and, and I'm not talking
about principles, this is like talking about right.
Janet: Methods as rules.
Alexandra: Yes, exactly. It's easy to inflate my pride even more.
Janet: Oh, yes.
Alexandra: Like a progressive inflation of my pride,
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: Because I feel like, look at how well I do at obeying God when I'm picking and
choosing the law. And I love how you said, like, if I really understood the law, it would crush
me.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: Yeah. I mean, I think rules are very easy, especially if you're picking and choosing
which ones you thrive in.
Janet: Absolutely. The ones I want.
Alexandra: Yeah. But studying God's word in thinking through how biblical principles apply to
my life and what I'm called to obey. That's hard work.
Janet: And it's humbling, which is exactly what our souls need.
Alexandra: So our systems can so easily become a source of security. And the freedom. I want
everyone to just understand what I'm saying when I'm talking about methods, right. And the
freedom is when I go to, how am I truly justified before God? And when I say justified, I mean,
that's, that's a legal term,
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: But how am I accepted in God's eyes?
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: What produces that? And it's none of my methods. None of them makes me
acceptable in God's eyes. None of my methods makes me more pleasing to God. And I think we
need to remember that the methods that we have, they're neutral tools. And if we look to these
things as what makes me acceptable in the eyes of God, that's sin. Because there is only one
thing that makes me acceptable, and that was what Christ accomplished on the cross.
Janet: Yes..
Alexandra: And so if our methods have become,-- and I say this to myself-- if my methods have
become something that I cling to, because it makes me feel superior to Christian sisters who have
different methods, I need to call out my own wickedness. The principle is God is holy and he
cannot be in the presence of sin. There are two methods. Either we are 100% righteous, which is
impossible because I started sinning right out of the womb. Or Christ's righteousness covers me.
There's two methods. One is not possible. So I am accepted before God, because of the cross, not
because of our methods. This is what it means to find my security in Christ. And when I truly
am secure in this, then I'm free to choose whatever method. And Janet, I will be honest with you,
I stressed about picking which option for school we were going to do with our oldest. So our
oldest is starting kindergarten next week. Oh my goodness. Can't even believe this is
Janet: New season.
Alexandra: Oh, new season. So, I stressed because there is a lot of pressure towards in our
country towards one particular way that I felt like I needed to do, but I didn't think that God was
calling me to that. So it was just this internal battle. And when I understood principles and
methods and how I was finding my security in what school option we did. when I was able to go
back to, no, I'm justified before God, because of what Christ has done. I know it sounds silly, but
not because of what school option we choose.
Janet: No. That's right.
Alexandra: Then it made me free to say, okay, now I can look at all three of these. So let's, I
would love, Janet, if we just took some time, because this a really...
Janet: Well, it's just a good example. Just a good example. There's many we could use and there's
lots of ways you can educate. The three that I think of: public, private, or homeschool. We have
these options. And let me just, those are all methods. What is the principle? That we need to be
teaching our children the nurture and instruction of the Lord. And I would say that we need to be
growing them up. So there's lots of ways to do it. So I'm going to mention all three and then I'm
going to give you a good reason and a bad reason for each of them. Because I think we need to
recognize whichever one you lean toward, sometimes it's hard to see the others. So public
school. Why would I do it? I'm going to do it because I love God, and I want to be a witness, and
I need to be out ,there and I want my kids out there. They need to be a light. And they can't be a
light if they're in their holy huddle, away from everybody else. So I want my kids in the public
school because I love God. Okay. How about I don't want my kids in the public school because I
want them to never be exposed to anything that's hard or bad. So there's a different reason. How
about private school? I want my kids in a private school because they're going to be around
students and professors who agree with me and can back up what we're teaching them at home.
If it's a Christian private school, we'll say a Christian school. Okay. I want my kids in a Christian
school because I want somebody else to teach them, and quite frankly, I don't even want to be
with them. But at least I know they're in a good place. I let them teach them. It takes kind of the
weight off my back. That's kind of a bad reason to do that. I'm going to homeschool. I'm going to
homeschool because with my family and my children, this is the way that we believe we can best
impact them, that we can be an influence in their life, that we can deal with issues as they come
up, because we'll have the time together. Or I'm going to homeschool because I'm not going to
have my kids out there. My kids are going to be protected. They're not going to see things that
are bad. They're not going to be around things that are bad, and I'm going to make sure that I
control their environment so that I can control the outcome. Depending on where you are, there
may be one more highly elevated, but we can have a good or a bad reason for any of them, which
is such a reminder. It's, those are methods, and they're going to vary depending on where you're
coming from.
Alexandra: Absolutely. Yep. And the principle, you know, is-- you mentioned Deuteronomy six.
It says you shall love the Lord, your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your
might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart, and you shall teach
them diligently to your children. And shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when
you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise. And you shall bind them as a
sign on your hand and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the
doorpost of your house and on your gates. And so the principle is, God holds parents responsible
to be the primary disciplers of their kids.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: And, there is not one method that says, this is the only way to do it.
Janet: And as you read that, I was thinking I could make a case for any of those three as a way to
do this, depending on your family situation.
Alexandra: Yeah. So, if you are trying to make a decision on school,
Janet: or anything else.
Alexandra: Or anything. Yeah. I mean, go to the principle and pray. And if you're a married, talk
with your spouse, and talk with your pastor, if you need to be shepherded, talk to older women in
the church, but go to the principles and really focus on how do I glorify God by living out the
principle that scripture commands me. So I think it would be good to, you know, Janet, we are in
two seasons of life.
Janet: We are.
Alexandra: And so would you take a minute and just speak to the older women listening? And
that includes me because I'm also, like I said, I'm an older woman to college students. So would
you mind just sharing?
Janet: Yeah, I think we need to be challenged as older women. When people come to me for
counsel, I need to remember that my priority is to teach them biblical principles. The temptation
is to say, here's what worked for me. And that's not sin. That's not wrong, but it can leave them
with remembering what we said earlier that this can be a vulnerable time for the younger person
coming to me for counsel. So I want to start with biblical principles and then I can say, here's
how we applied it. Here's why we did it. And there are so many other ways. If I know of other
ways, I'm going to say those. Or I may ask a lot more questions instead of telling my method. I'm
not sure how to educate. Okay. Well, what are you thinking? What are the dynamics of your
family? What do you see as the needs of your family? What do you see that would be helpful in
this one? It's a lot more time. But what am I doing? I'm teaching them how to think about a
principle, how to figure out what principles apply to this situation. And then, How they can make
decisions, but it takes some humility on my part because what I really want to do is tell them, if I
think my decision was great, I just want to tell them what I did, and try to get them to do it. Or if
I look back with regret, I don't want them to ever do what I did. But it's really not about me. and
we have to remember that the people who are coming to us are vulnerable. And even if they ask
me for a method, I need to start with the principal and the why. Because they may not know to
ask the why. I, as the older woman, that's really my discipling. Far more important than whether
what they do for kindergarten is they're coming to me. And this is my discipleship moment to
help them learn how to make decisions, not to make this one for them.
Alexandra: That's such a good point.
Janet: But it's a lot harder. So why don't you speak to us on what should the younger women
remember?
Alexandra: I think something that I found that this chapter of this book was really helpful for
me, is just understanding that I shouldn't elevate people. And I'm a people pleaser. So I do that. I
shouldn't elevate people, cause it's not fair to them. When I am being discipled by someone, I
really need to understand the why behind their methods. Go back to the principle. Study that for
myself in God's word. And I think that that, that is just so much more freeing than trying to just
mimic someone that I may admire who's a little bit older than me. And so some questions that we
need to ask ourselves is, is there an area of my life where I take great pride in how I do things?
Janet: Ooh, ouch.
Alexandra: Do I feel like I have got it altogether and others need to learn from me and my ways?
If you answer. Yes. Which probably all of us, if we're being honest answer yes.
Janet: Oh, yeah.
Alexandra: I may be clinging to a method.
Janet: Yep.
Alexandra: So the key really is soaking in the grace of God. What I do deserve and what I do get
and why. Those all go back to the cross. I need to set myself at the foot of the cross and look
around. And we're all, there's all equal footing of the cross.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: And I can go back to, again, what Christ has done on my behalf, and know that in
many situations, I am free to choose whatever method. And God is so powerful, in his
sovereignty through Romans 28 and 29, he will use that method to accomplish his purposes.
Janet: Yes. And he gets the glory, not you picking the right method.
Alexandra: Yes. And it's dependent upon his character
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: And his power. And not upon my choice.
Janet: Thank you, Lord, that that's true.
Alexandra: Yes.
Janet: Excellent. So I hope this has been helpful to you. We will have the link to the book in the
show notes, for sure. Thank you for joining us today. Hope you can listen to it again in a couple
of weeks. As we continue to explore the relationship between biblical truth and real joy.
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Host Janet and her husband, Brent, also speak at a variety of conferences as a way to raise money
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website.

Janet Aucoin

Bio

Janet is the Director of Women's Ministries at Faith Church (Lafayette, IN); ACBC certified; teacher in Faith Community Institute; Coordinator of FBS seminary wives fellowship, retreat and conference speaker; B.S. Human Resources, University of South Florida.