In the 1980s, Cyndi Lauper popularized the song, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” I’ve never listened to the song in its entirety, nor do I intend to do so. But from what I understand from briefly looking it up (so that I’d spell Cyndi Lauper’s name correctly) it’s about a young woman who resists advice to be sensible about her life. She reasons that she can be sensible later in life; at her age, girls just want to have fun.
Yet the apostle Paul instructed Titus that older women should encourage younger women to (among other things) be sensible:
3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. ~~Titus 2:3-5 (NASSB95)
Okay, then what does it mean to be sensible? After reading several Bible Dictionaries, I learned that it pretty much means having the wisdom to control one’s passions (or emotions). Interestingly, most women’s Bible Study materials these days not only ignore this part of the text, but often encourage women to let our feelings dictate our behavior.
How often, for example, have you been in Bible Studies that encouraged you to look at your past to see ways you were emotionally or physically wounded? Typically, these Bible Studies present Jesus as your sympathetic Friend Who promises some sort of emotional healing to you — usually after a lot of formal or informal “Christian” counseling that borrows copiously from psychology. This type of ministry actually focuses on validating your emotions rather than encouraging you to bring them under control.
Women’s Bible Studies also frequently teach that you should have an intimate, and sometimes romantic, relationship with Jesus that provides emotional fulfillment. Along with that idea, they all but insist on personal words from God in addition to (if not apart from) Scripture. This type of teaching gives emotions ultimate authority. Instead of exercising control over our feelings, we end up placing ourselves under slavery to them.
In short, many popular Bible Studies geared toward women place the emphasis on self when they should point them to Christ and His Word, Sensible women know Scripture well enough to apply it in daily life and for the Lord’s glory. They control their emotions by obedience to the Word of God. Within this boundary, Christian women definitely can enjoy life, having fun with their families and friends as well as expressing passion toward their husbands. Sensible women have more fun, actually, precisely because they bring their emotions under control.
Yes, there’s also room for teaching women to be sensible in running households, raising children and managing budgets. But even in those seemingly mundane matters, sensible actions require emotional control. I seldom want to plan meals, for example, but my husband has asked me to take on that responsibility. Sometimes I must ignore my feelings of not wanting to think about it in favor of going through my recipes and selecting something healthy, appetizing and within our budget. Thus, being sensible causes me to take authority over my desires to coddle myself.
Titus 2:5 comes against false teachings that exalt emotions, countering that younger women should learn to discern when their emotions lead them away from obedience to the Lord. Sensible women understand how to distinguish between proper feelings that honor Him and feelings that inflate their own egos. We still have fun, but we find joy in pleasing the Lord.