Scripture Reading: Titus 3:1-7: Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate and to show true humility toward all men. At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. (NIV)
This letter from the Apostle Paul, is addressed to Titus, Paul’s ministry partner. Paul and Titus visited the Mediterranean island of Crete, and they introduced Christianity to the inhabitants of the island. Paul then left Titus behind to organize those new converts. In our scripture reading for today, Paul is instructing Titus on the believers obligations as citizens of this world and how they are to conduct themselves in a godly way. The people living on the island of Crete were apparently dishonest, lazy, and self-absorbed.
In chapter one of the letter to Titus, Paul gives instructions to Titus on the qualities that the church leaders must possess. “Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless – not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it” (Titus 1: 7-9).
Several of these qualities stand out for me, as I read over this scripture passage. Leaders must be self-controlled and disciplined, hospitable, and loving that which is good. A good leader must also learn how to control his or her temper and should attempt to lead the church into carrying out God’s work by creating unity and trusting cooperation among the body of Christ. Someone that leads must be respected and must ultimately follow God’s teachings and direction as they move others towards a closer relationship with Christ.
It is painful to encounter people that call themselves “Christians” but continue to live in ways that does not bring glory to God. We all know people who are quick-tempered and are filled with hate and anger. They don’t even attempt to “build up” other believers, they are only happy when they can “tear” other Christians down. They live in opposition to God’s desire for our lives, they only want their way and they want everything to be on their own terms. Cooperation and encouragement are words that do not exist in their vocabulary.
Paul reminds us in his letter to Titus that, as followers of Christ, we have been changed into a new way of life. God has poured out His love and His kindness to us and we should be eager to shower other people with our own love and kindness. Christ died for our sins and he saved us, not by any good works on our own part, but simply because God loves us. As believers we have been forgiven and we have been granted the incomprehensible gift of eternal life in heaven. God granted us mercy and He expects us to be merciful to others.
If you have experienced this awesome love from God and have accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, then you should be willing to be merciful, patient, and loving towards others. As followers of Christ, we are commanded to conduct ourselves in this manner to all people, not just to fellow Christians. God loves everyone and I believe that He expects us to do the same.
John 3:16: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (NKJV)