Last week we spoke a lot of how NOT to behave as Christ followers. On Sunday I watched the service online at Calvary Houston that tells us how we are supposed to be as Christ followers. Paul is telling Titus to remind all the ministers and members of the churches he oversees to remember their duty as Christ followers, which certainly includes each of us. “Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.” (Titus 3:1-2) His use of the word “remind” is present tense so that we are to be constantly reminded of our duty as Christ followers.
- We are subject to rulers and authorities: When the Pharisees tried to trap Jesus in His reply on whether or not they were to pay taxes, He asked to see a denarius, and asked them “Whose image and inscription is this?” to which they replied “Ceasar’s”. “And He said to them, ‘Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left Him and went their way.” (Matt 22:20-22) Not only are we to render to authorities that which belongs to them we are to pray for them and for all men: “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” (1 Tim 2:1-2)
- We are to be obedient: Jesus said, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” (John 14:23) For those of us who belong to Christ, we are expected to do what He says because we love Him, not only hear His Word (James 1:22).
- We are to be ready for every good work: This readiness is the attitude of willingness. “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Gal 6:10) To be ready, we must be in the Word and keep in relationship with Jesus: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16-17)
- We are to speak evil of no one: No one includes those we like, those we don’t, those who are righteous, and those who are unrighteous; “no one” includes everyone. “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.” (Eph 4:29-31) If what we say doesn’t glorify our Lord God, we should keep our mouths shut!
- We are to be peaceable: We certainly have no control on how anyone else chooses to speak to or about us. What we can control is our response, or lack thereof. “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” (Rom 12:18) The lack thereof can only take place for me if I heed this Scripture: “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19). I need to learn to take a deep breath, seek the Lord and keep my mouth shut, and allow the Lord to shut down my anger before it starts boiling.
- We are to be gentle (kind): If we don’t have the capacity to be kind to others, then we haven’t submitted our minds, hearts, lives to the tranforming power of the Holy Spirit. “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Cor 13:4-7)
- We are to show humility to all men: Someone said we aren’t to think less of ourselves, but we aren’t to think of ourselves – we are to think of others. That’s seriously a tough one, but if we stop to think about it, if we aren’t thinking of what someone has or hasn’t done for us or said to us, then we aren’t looking for reasons to be puffed up in righteous self-indignation. “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” (Phil 2:3)
Lord, thank You for the reminder that I am to be subject to rulers and authorities because all authority comes from You; that I am to be obedient to Your Words for that shows You that I truly love You; that I am to be ready for every good work that You have for me, not to earn anything, but because I want to do what You would have me do; that I am not to speak evil of anyone – no exceptions; that I am to be peaceable as much as depends on me; that I am to treat others gently and with kindness; and that I am to showing humility to all men. Thank You for the reminder that when I follow this Word, I am allowing Your light to shine through me to all me. In the precious name of Jesus, amen.