In the weeks since we memorised those first two chapters, I have found myself seeing the book of Titus in a new light. At first, I wondered how we would memorise Paul’s long sentences with their many joining words, and lists of character qualities. Now, I realise what he was trying to emphasise and encourage. Looking at the book of Titus as a whole, I see Paul emphasise the importance of holiness, good doctrine and self control. The letter also carries an air of awareness – Paul encourages the church to notice false teachers, to disciple younger Christians, and to commit to living a life that testifies of God’s grace. Finally, He reminds the church about salvation in Christ, and the consequences of this.
Here are some lessons I have gleaned from Paul’s letter to Titus.
- There is an accounting required of leaders.
- Be equipped with good doctrine, and watchful for false teaching.
- Self-control helps to establish an obedient life.
- God gives us strength to live and speak in His ways.
(To read about lessons in the introduction of the book of Titus, click here: https://lostnowfoundk.wordpress.com/2016/07/16/titus-my-true-son/ )
———— AN ACCOUNTING FROM LEADERS ————
Leadership in God’s kingdom should not be taken lightly. It is a privilege, and a responsibility. Whether we like it or not, we are all leaders in some way. As witnesses of God’s kingdom, we intrinsically hold a responsibility, and calling to lead others into His salvation – to preach and live out the gospel. In the book of Titus, Paul lays out some guidelines for leaders in the church.
Regarding the character of a bishop, a steward of God, Titus 1:5 says:
“… if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination…”
Leaders in the church (in fact, any believer) should have a home testimony consistent with their church ministry. Sadly, there are many examples of people who seem active in church, yet hide a different character profile at home. I am not talking about those with broken families who serve faithfully in church as they chase after God in their struggles. Rather, this is a reminder that we should be careful not to knowingly neglect family, and place “ministry” above this more “mundane” calling. Our home life, away from public eye, often gives a better representation of where we are spiritually. Do we only pray when we are at church, or are we active in prayer at home? Do we selflessly serve our family, just as we give to the church? Are we spending time building relationship with our family, or are we too preoccupied by other things?
Of course, there are circumstances and seasons, relationships that are destructive, and those which need to be mended. The main emphasis here is consistency in character. Philippians 4:8-9 says,
“…whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things. The things you leaned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”
As I have grown, I have also become more aware that everyone has faults. We are all following after God, and we are all constantly being grown in character to be more like Him. Leading my last small group, I constantly asked God to protect them and help them grow in the things of Him. I was very aware of my own flaws and I wanted them to understand that even in our weaknesses, we can run to God and be restored in Him. No one is perfect but we demonstrate our attitudes in the way that we live. This is what filters down to those we disciple, and those we meet.
Do we fear God, and desire to be holy as He is holy? Do we love as He loves? Or, do we just act the “Christian part” on Sundays? Is our home life consistent with our church life? Do we serve our spouse with the same patience and commitment we show to our church ministry? Do we put in the same effort to train our children up in Christ, as we put into preparing the Sunday School lesson? Does our family testify that we love the Lord, or do they feel un-loved and abandoned? Would God be pleased with our life, or are we just offering meaningless “burnt sacrifices”?
God sees our heart, and He knows our attitudes. Let us worship Him and love Him with all our heart, mind and soul, so that every aspect of our life may be marked with His presence.