2 But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. 2 Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance. 3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. 6 Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; 7 in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, 8 sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.
As I pray and meditate my way through Paul’s letter to Titus, I couldn’t help but smile when I read today’s passage. Before reading, I prayed that God would singe my heart with His Word, since He tells us over and over again that our actions will be fruit of whatever is in our heart and spirit. I prayed that He would continue to change my heart to fulfill His Word and that the Fruit of the Spirit would be evident in my life.
In previously, we talked about the fruit of others and how what Paul is writing to Titus here lines up with what he wrote to the Galatians. You see, what Paul says in verse 8 echoes what he said after describing the fruit of the Spirit of God, “against such things there is no law.” I mentioned last time about choosing to act a certain way. We struggle with a lot of laziness. We accept God’s forgiveness through Christ then think it is ok to just go along the way we were previous to our encounter with God. However, as Bonhoeffer would remind us, that if we truly accept what God has done and continues to do for us, then our lives will change. This certainly isn’t a one-time event. You can’t just say “yes” and everything changes; we are too stubborn for that.
Rather, our sanctification is a process. Here Paul is giving us some examples of what it means to be Christlike. Christlikeness is following Christ’s example. Why would we want to do that; isn’t it fun to continue living as though we are of this world? Many might try to convince you of that (even yourself), but the best answer I can give to that question is freedom. We think where we are right now might be the best way to live because we don’t know any better. Once we enter into a relationship with God, however, we no longer have an excuse because He tells us right here. We get to experience a life of freedom like never before.
The things that Paul describes might seem like a burdensome task to change. It is as difficult as it is easy. I described this when studying the book of John. It is difficult because we don’t want to let go; it is easy because once we do, God does the rest by His Holy Spirit. Godly living isn’t about how good we can be or how well we can follow directions; it’s about how much are we willing to trust Him and let go of what we think we know for something better. It is through this change and the difference between our lives without God and our lives with God that we get to witness to others. Our walk in life is not a reflection of our own doing, rather it is a witness of how God can change anyone’s life. I’ve heard many people say, “If He can change my life, He can certainly change yours.” This is the feeling of freedom speaking out. This is the witness He calls us to be; a witness of freedom and possibility. To some this might seem like some hocus pocus or just a different description of other attempts to experience life on a different spiritual level. The truth is, however, that this change is not temporary or a simple fleeting moment, but rather a high that gets better and better as you go.