Move past the "wow"
December 16, 2021 | Mike and Karin Berry
About the Authors: Mike and Karin have attended ZPC since 1991, except for a 5-year hiatus when Mike’s career moved the family to Missouri (2007-2012). They have 2 kids – Alicia and Wilson, both in college. Alicia is a Senior at Columbus College of Art and Design, majoring in Medical Illustration. Wilson is a Sophomore at Purdue, majoring in Bio Medical Engineering. Mike has served on many committees in the church and is currently an active ZPC Elder. Karin hosts and participates in bible studies. Both enjoy the ZPC community and Home Groups immensely.
Today’s Scripture: Titus 2:11-14
Apostle Paul wrote this letter to Titus, his companion and disciple. Titus was tasked by Paul to visit Crete, a place known for sin and corruption. He was sent to restore order to the churches and replace the misled teachers with godly, self-controlled leaders who were eager to do what was good. This passage is commonly known as the doctrine for Elders of the Christian Church. As a side note, this passage might sound familiar, as we have just recently (in the last 3-4 weeks) read Titus, in our “New Testament in one year” planned reading activity.
I read this passage over one year ago during my elder orientation, and my first impression was “wow!” It’s a tall order and seems very challenging. One year later, I am still finding it daunting.
To make this seem a less overwhelming, I dug a little deeper. Titus 2:12 says, “it teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.” Many scholars have debated the original translation, and some claim this should say “trains or training” rather than “teaches.” This implies a lifelong training to get to this point. That certainly seems less daunting knowing that I am not expected to be perfect, but to be improving or striving to improve each day. This can still be a difficult task, especially in today’s world with minute-by-minute news flashing on your phone and the seemingly continuous polarization of our political world. But if we have a lifelong journey to train to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives as Paul suggests, this seems a more achievable task than one that implies we are “ready today.”
Finally, the last phrase in Titus 2:14 says, “who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” Our savior again has done the difficult lifting for us in this phrase. He has purified us as his very own. We, his people, have been asked to do one thing which is be “eager to do what is good.” Maybe said another way, we should have a heart that is pure and that drives our soul to be good in our Savior's eyes. This seems like a phrase we should pray over every day.
Help us to move past the “WOW” and accept the challenge you have put in front of us. May we listen with an open mind as you train us and guide us over our lifetime to be self-controlled, upright, and more like you as Paul suggests in this passage. While we await your return, help us to strive for a heart that is pure and eager to do what is good and right, and the courage to act accordingly.
In your name we pray,