Reading the third chapter of Titus tonight humbles and challenges me. As an American I feel quite free to criticize my government. In the past five years I’ve collected a house, children, and a real job. It seems I’ve also with those responsibilities become more opinionated about the leadership of my country.
Titus 3 tempers that opinion and calls me to humility and simplicity.
“Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good.” -Titus 3:1 (NIV)
The first two chapters of Titus define the structure of family and church life. Chapter 3 tackles the rest of life.
When I see verse 1 above I remember Roman government makes American leadership look saintly. Corruption, bribery, and human rights abuses ran amuck. Yet, Paul chose not to qualify his statement. He simply said,
“remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities…”
Today we like to complain about character flaws in political leaders. We want to get ethical men and women in leadership. Good leaders help but the biblical solution doesn’t come from politics. Frankly, it comes from above and through individual men and women.
I think the discipline of submission may serve to train us in following our heavenly King. As we practice obedience to God via obedience to earthly authority we will learn greater faithfulness to God.
Notice the second half of that verse,
“… to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, “
God wants you and I to learn obedience walking before Him. Honestly the promise of Christianity rests in faith in God’s willing to lead us. And forgive us.
Take note! God commands activity here, not passivity. The words, “subject to” and “be obedient” may scream “doormat” but that misses the point. Note the final phrase,
“be ready to do whatever is good…”
Next-door to the church six college students just moved into a house. They spent the summer renovating from a wreck to HGTV worthy house (for college students). They all swim competitively for the college. Every day at 6 AM they force themselves into cold water training for 45 minutes. They have done this for weeks and they haven’t competed yet this year! They are getting ready to do what is good for competition.
Perhaps the discipline of a Christian resembles competitive swimmers. They prepare themselves day in and out for competition. The Christian does the same.
When the Christian gets ready to do good he should do this daily. The swimmer imagines all sorts of scenarios to prepare for competition. The Christian should so absorb Jesus’ teaching that he reacts well when the opportunity for good comes. I think this involves studying the Bible, spending time with other followers of Christ, and regular time in prayer.
Gosh, one verse and so many paragraphs! Let me tie this one verse together and conclude for now.
I think God intends you and I to concern ourselves far more about our readiness for good then our control of our situation. If I concerned myself more about disciplines of godliness than reading news from Washington I would respond better to the challenges of life. In obedience to the scripture and others I intend to pray for those over me and live obedient to laws. I also hope to engage more deeply in spiritual disciplines. I also intend to pursue whole heartedly doing good as God presents opportunities.