Book Report: Adorned

Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

For decades now, Nancy has provided biblical resources to help ladies mature in their faith. This phenomenal work on Titus 2 beckons women across generational lines into a flourishing dance with truth as they approach discipleship together. Wait—a whole book about one chapter in Scripture? You’d be surprised how packed it is with everyday application. “There’s a lifetime of wisdom and growth to be gleaned from these few verses, and there’s no time like today to begin walking it all out.” But we’re not meant to walk it all out alone. “Our goal for what we’re talking about here is as grand as the glory and majesty of God. But the method He has prescribed for us is as simple as women sitting down together, opening up their lives and the Word, receiving and passing on to others the baton of faith and Christlike character.” To process this lovely manual well, you’ll need lots of highlighters, an older friend, a younger friend, some great coffee, and a humbly expectant heart.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

Our ultimate purpose is to make much of God. We do that as we experience, enjoy, and reflect the loveliness of Christ, making Him known to a world that is starved for true beauty.

It can’t just be a religious order or a theological system; the gospel must soak through people’s hearts and lives and families so pervasively that no emperor, no persecution, no reviling would be able to rock the church of Christ from its foundations. 

The woman you will be in ten or twenty or fifty years is being determined by the woman you are this week.

The point of exposing our sin and insufficiency is not to burden us down with our failure. Rather, the goal is to get us to Christ, whose mercy and grace are our only hope, and to make us realize our utter dependence on Him for anything resembling Christian character in our lives. 

Grace grows best in hard places.

If you don’t have a self-controlled, sound mind … you’ll storm out and check out and flame out and wimp out on every bit of resolve you can muster. And ultimately your life will cause others to reject the very gospel you claim to believe. 

[God’s design for home] is intended to be a parable of the redemptive storyline in which He is intent on restoring Paradise, establishing His dwelling among men, and making beloved sons and daughters out of prodigals … At the heart of the gospel, at the heart of the cross, is the Lord Jesus opening His arms wide and saying, “I want you to come Home with Me.” 

Though there was so much wisdom to take away from this book, the most personally significant insight was the magnitude of Scripture’s stance on slander. Our drama-frenzied culture derives a bizarre amount of glee from shredding reputations, and few of us think twice before posting a hateful comment or passing along “the news.” But using our words in such a way isn’t harmless fun. Nancy writes that

As a clue to how serious this matter of slander should be to us, the word translated as “slanderers” in Titus 2:3—which other translations render as “malicious gossips” (NASB) or “false accusers” (KJV)—is the Greek word diabolos, from which we derive our English word diabolical. This word—diabolos—appears thirty-eight times in the New Testament. And in all but four of those occurrences, it’s used to refer to Satan … To be a slanderer is to be diabolical—to be like the devil. It is to participate in the works and character of Satan himself. When we slander others, we are doing his bidding and fulfilling his purposes.

We cannot continue perpetuating (if only by tolerating) the enemy’s rhythms among ourselves before a watching world. Satan has enough success without our help. May the words we take in be filled with goodness, and may the words we breathe out bless, encourage, and build up.

Journaling questions include:

  • Do I make the gospel believable for the next generation by my humble, joyful obedience?
  • Where do I need greater soundness in thinking and living?
  • Is my love deeper, richer, healthier than it was a year ago?
  • What kind of person do I want to grow into, realizing that hardship is inevitable and life may get even more difficult?
  • Is there any attitude or behavior I wouldn’t want people to see because I know it wouldn’t please the Lord?
  • What habits or activities do I consider essential to my happiness, sanity, or survival? What lies am I believing about these issues?
  • Where is life happening for me right now?
  • Would my husband say I am his encourager or his editor? How can I grow in affirming him?
  • Where am I feeling pressured to turn family into a contest, an extension of my own personal brand?
  • Would those closest to me call me kind?

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