Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Worthy Example

Chuckle:  “I thought you were going to count calories,”  Loris gently reminded her friend Karla as she consumed her second milkshake.  “Oh, I am,” said Karla.  “So far today, I’m at 5,760.” 
Quote:  “Waste no more time arguing what a good man (person) should be; be one.”  --Marcus Aurelius
    “In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely in all they do.  And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good deeds, of every kind.  Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.  Let your teaching be so correct that it can’t be criticized.  Then those who want to argue will be ashamed because they won’t have anything bad to say about us” (Titus 2: 6b-8 HCSB).
Titus, a Greek convert through Paul’s ministry, had become Paul’s special representative to the house churches on the island of Crete.  Paul’s letter to Titus instructed him about his responsibilities as leader of the churches -- how to do his job.  Titus’ instructions are very similar to those in 1 Timothy with its instructions to young Timothy and other church leaders.  Although brief, Titus is an important link in the discipleship process of a young Christian growing into a leadership role within the church.  Paul’s instructions are beneficial to every Christian, especially to those in leadership positions.
As I studied these verses, I concluded that all of Paul’s instructions and admonitions to Titus can be boiled down to one word, “godliness.”  A lack of godliness by a Christian provides ammunition to the critics of Christianity.  As a pastor, I often heard words like these from unsaved and unchurched people:  “I’m as good as those people in your church – they are nothing but a bunch of hypocrites.”  Unfortunately, there is sometimes much truth in such accusations.  However, when people find themselves living outside the will of God and practicing worldly standards of conduct, it’s easy to denigrate someone else in order to make themselves look more virtuous.  It’s tempting to rationalize ungodly behavior this way.
Paul wanted Titus to be so righteous in both his living and his teaching that no one could find fault with either.  Paul wanted Titus to be such a good example to those with whom he mingled that they might see the goodness in his life and strive to imitate him rather than find fault with him.  What a wonderful goal for each of us as we yield to the Holy Spirit as our guide, teacher, and encourager.  Even when we are not aware that we are being observed, many sets of skeptical eyes are likely to be upon us.  Your life may be the only Bible some will ever read.
    Blackmailers once sent C. H. Spurgeon a letter to the effect that if he did not place a certain amount of money in a certain place at a certain time, they would publish some things in the newspapers that would defame him and ruin his public ministry.  Spurgeon left at the station a letter in reply:  “You and your like are requested to publish all you know about me across the heavens.”  He knew his life was blameless in the eyes of men and therefore, they could not touch his character.”   --Illustrations For Biblical Preaching; Edited by Michael P. Green
I wonder how many of us would have the courage and confidence in our character and reputation to react as did C. H. Spurgeon?

Love, Jerry & Dotse


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