Lord, “I desire to do Your will, O my God; Your law is within my heart” (Psa. 40:8). Teach me now, I pray.
Read TITUS 2:1-15
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Touched by the Spirit, we can think more clearly; feel more deeply; speak more truthfully; love more extravagantly; serve more creatively; give more lavishly; live more fully” (Leonard Sweet).
Titus’s second task is discipleship training for the young churches (1,15). Titus was to provide teaching for every stage of life and social role within each household unit. Those of us who live in societies exposed to Christian values for centuries may find these instructions rather basic and even reactionary. In Crete they were revolutionary: respect and trust earned by consistent living, self-control rather than self-indulgence. Purity, reverence, kindness and love for others were the fruit of a Gospel which transformed lives. As such, it made the Gospel of salvation attractive and demonstrated that it was effective (10).
While Paul clearly links belief in Christian doctrine to a change of lifestyle, he knows that this is a gradual process. The qualities required of the elders in Crete are like those Timothy puts in place in Ephesus (1 Tim. 3:1-13), but are not quite as demanding. The ethical teaching for the new disciples is basic. What matters is that these churches start the process of growth in holiness. The Cretan Christians have been set free in Christ to say “no” to their old life of self-indulgence and deception and “yes” to everything that is godly. Their moral witness is not yet perfect, but will demonstrate the coming kingdom in the midst of their culture.
Christ came to create a people eager to do what is good. It is that desire, rather than our particular stage of progress, which is the essence of Christian discipleship. Titus was sent to model, teach and encourage it (7). How can we encourage that desire in new believers in a Western culture increasingly self-indulgent and ignorant of the faith?
Do I in any way take Christian moral values for granted? Am I eager to do good? How is that evident in my life?
Mighty God, so often I am more concerned about self improvement rather than Christ replacement. Transform me so I can clearly demonstrate the difference You have made in my life.
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