You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.
…so that no one will malign the word of God.
…so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
…so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Saviour attractive.
Titus 2:1, 5b,8b,10b, NIV*
In the book of Titus, the Apostle Paul places a lot of emphasis on teaching Christians to live in a godly manner and to do good. He’s writing to a new church, its people recent converts from paganism and immoral lifestyles, and that may explain why they need so much teaching on how to behave as children of God.
Today we still need this teaching—not only on how to behave, but why.
Paul never forgets that the outward behaviour has a purpose: “so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Saviour attractive.”
Who wants to follow a Way that turns its people rigid, repressed or ranting? Hopeful people, on the other hand, those who can stay strong even in hard times and who radiate an inner joy… now they have something others might want.
Jesus came to show us what God is really like, and to reconcile us to Him. He charged His disciples (and us down through the centuries) to carry on His work. He kept close to the Father and served in love. We need to do the same.
Father, thank You for saving us, and for changing and equipping us to live in ways that please You. We could never do that on our own. Help us remember why we’re to do good and to live right, that our behaviour isn’t the ultimate end. Help us be living demonstrations of Your love, because we love You.
A good song to keep us in focus is Matt Redman’s “The Heart of Worship.”
*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
This is beautifully said…. Paul was very patient with new converts, and yet, very firm with a loving discipline….. He obviously appreciated his new life in Christ.
Margaret, I’m smiling because “patient” is not a word I’ve ever associated with Paul before. Not that he was impatient, but I always sense him as passionately driven by his love of Christ and by the urgency of conveying Christ. You’re right though. As I look at this I see that he really was patient to invest in the growth of new converts. I think the slowness of those who should have by then been mature believers truly frustrated him, though — which is a good reminder to me to stay current with Jesus and keep growing in Him.
I once heard Pastor Rick Warren say that he got so discouraged with Christians who are only against things, He said, “I want to be FOR something.” Such a good reminder. We have so much to be “for!”
I agree, Belinda. There are things we need to stand against, but even then a Christlike spirit is different from a hostile one.
“FOR something”… I guess you could say we’re for Jesus, for the advancement of His kingdom, for sharing His grace and mercy with the world.
When I think of Paul’s patience, I think of how he explained things in detail, so people could get a clearer understanding of the whys, hows, and wherefores…… And then, when sin was rampant in an established congregation, Paul firmly condemned the sin, but also commended their growing faith and encouraged them to continue their spiritual growth….. That balance of discipline and encouragements looks like patience….. Jesus also had that kind of patience — a firm discipline and a forgiving encouragement.
We sure do need it… 🙂
“…those who can stay strong even in hard times and who radiate an inner joy… now they have something others might want.”
Well said! It’s way easy to get carried away with negativity but a radiant, inner joy is what I pray others see in me. Thanks for this!
Oh, I pray we’ll each grow to radiate an inner joy. Too bad the negativity is easy and the joy takes practice, but at least the practice means we’re staying close to God.