Tag Archives: dignity

Titus: Right Doctrine, Right Living

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Titus 2: 1, 7-8

But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.

Show yourself in all respects to be model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

Paul instructs Titus to teach the older men, older women, and younger men. Here are the verses spoken specifically for Titus. Laura gave a talk on this passage, and I again am sharing what I learned from this passage and from her lecture.

Challenge #1: Titus 2:1 (“But as for you…”)

Where may God be calling you to be set apart from the world? But as for you ______. This statement comes on the heels of what Paul said about the false teachers and serves as a major contrast. But as for you, Titus, you are to be set apart from them, teaching sound doctrine. 2 Tim 2:21 says:

…anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.

I love the image of the object that has been set apart (holy) and is useful for the Master. It is ready to be used for good works in the hands of the Master.

Challenge #2: (“…teach”)

Are you using opportunities to casually and comfortably talk/dialogue with others about the truth of Christ “along the way”?

The word “teach” is not the word kerusso (which means preach, or is a formal way of teaching) but rather is the word laleo meaning to “speak, converse, disclose your thoughts.” It is an informal teaching, implying that you talk about your faith as you walk along the way, engaging people outside of formal settings. Deut 11:19 tells us:

19 You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Teaching can be simply sharing life and doesn’t have to be anything formal (although that is good too!).

Challenge #3: (“…what accords with…”)

Is there a truth of God’s Word that you know but are not living out in proper alignment/harmonious fit in your daily life? Do your actions reflect your beliefs?

This phrase was Paul’s way of telling Titus to teach what it looks like to LIVE OUT sound doctrine. It’s not enough to teach sound doctrine, but he must also show what it looks like in everyday life. In fact the word “accord” from the Latin means “at its heart” or the “core”. The idea is that the doctrine and the application of it are intertwined (like a cord) and cannot be separated.

James 1:22 tells us to be “doers of the Word and not hearers only…” and in Luke 11:28 Jesus tells the woman, “Blessed rather are those who hear the Word of God and keep it!

A bold way to put this is that people don’t have to wonder what we believe because they see us living it out.

Challenge #4: (“…sound doctrine.”)

Do you have beliefs that you need to more properly align with the essential doctrine of God’s word?

A lot of people turn their nose up at the word doctrine because it sounds scholarly or uppity. Doctrine is not something to be afraid of because it is simply a framework, a belief system, a structure of teaching of essential or core theological truths of Scripture (there are all sorts of doctrines, but in this case, we’re speaking of the doctrine of Scripture). Primary or core doctrines are those which are non-negotiable. Secondary doctrines vary among believers, and some of those include baptism, end times, organization of the church, role of elders/deacons/pastors, and gifts of the Spirit. It would be wise for anyone to read the essential doctrines of the Christian faith (some of which are Scripture, the Trinity, Satan, fallen man, Jesus Christ, salvation through Christ, eternal security).

In Amos 7:7-8, God speaks of the plumb line (or standard) by which they were to use as they built their walls. Our plumb line is the Word of God and we build from that as our starting point and standard. If our beliefs do not align to this plumb line, we must ask ourselves how to be renewed in our minds (Rom 12:2) so as to be transformed.

Challenge #5: (Titus 2:7 “Show yourself in all respects to be a model…)

Consider your “way” or the path you are on. Is it the one that Jesus would travel? When others see your life, is it one that would point them to the ways of Jesus in all things? Are you setting a pattern for others that is safe to follow?

The word “show” has the connotation of taking the whole apart so that all the pieces are in full view. It is a matter of complete transparency. To be a “model” simply means being a type, an example, or a pattern. The idea is that a person would set a healthy or safe example for others to follow. This person would have a reliable track record of consistent actions and behaviors that would be Christ-honoring. This is the concept of discipleship at its finest.

Paul told the churches to imitate him as he modeled Christ (1 Cor 11:1), with the idea that he would eventually step out of the way for them to imitate Christ (2 Tim 1:13, 1 Cor 4:16-17). In Hebrews 13:7 we are encouraged to “remember your leaders…imitate their faith.”

Proverbs 3:6 says,

In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.

A Model of…

Integrity: meaning incorruptibility. To teach pure (incorruptible) doctrine and to do it with pure (incorruptible) motives.

Dignity: meaning reverence, respect, majesty, and/or sanctity. To teach in a respectable nor irreverent way. This word carries with it a sense of gravity or weight, meaning to give great respect for that which is worthy of great respect. To keep weighty/serious that which is weighty/serious.

Sound speech: meaning does not deviate from the truth (not even a slight deviation).

So that…

So that an opponent may be put to shame. Opponent can mean enemy, and in this case it is one who has a hostile hatred toward the cross as in Phil 3:18. Christians are a perfect target for the enemy which is why we need to live above reproach, being a model of all these good things. They will have no ammunition to use on those who walk the straight path.

 

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Strength and Dignity

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I have a dear friend who posted this meme on Facebook the other day:

strong-woman

I love the message! Don’t you? When you think of a strong person, you imagine someone with great physical strength who can rip apart lions (King David) or wield a donkey’s jawbone in a heated battle (Samson). Strong people are capable of tearing right through their obstacles, right? A sign of strength is how easily you can defeat an opponent or enemy. A person who shows weakness is the one who is meek and bows out of the fight, right? Uh. no. Not in this case.

Why is it that we buy into the lie that in order to be a strong person, we need to make everyone else around us feel weak? A brother or sister in Christ is not an obstacle to tear right through. We do not need to try to defeat one another in an effort to show how strong we are. Likewise we do not show weakness when we are meek and defer to another. On the contrary, this is great strength indeed.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5)

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. (Colossians 3:12-13)

Both Moses (Numbers 12:3) and Jesus (2 Corinthians 10:1) are described as meek or humble. There’s no way anyone would consider either of these men as being weak.

You do not prove your strength by belittling another person. You actually prove that you have weak character for it is in the way you treat another that reveals your heart.

I am grieved by what I hear week after week about the way women treat one another. The comparison game is deadly. It’s more like Russian Roulette than Candy Land. What I’ve seen is a twisted form of religious pompousness rather than a real life relationship with another sister. {Don’t get me wrong, I’ve also seen the real life relationships that genuinely bring encouragement and love to each person.}

Here’s what I mean: convictions for an individual quickly become measuring sticks for spiritual maturity.Well, I’m a stay at home mom, and if you aren’t a stay at home mom, that means you’re not a good Christian” “I homeschool my children because it’s the best way to raise a child, and if you don’t homeschool then you must be a lesser Christian.” “You aren’t married? Why not? You don’t have children? Why not?” I am giving up all I know to be a missionary and if you don’t want to do missions that means you don’t really love Christ or the lost.” 

Do I need to go on? Now I doubt that any thinking person would actually say any of those statements. But attitudes can speak for themselves. None of these convictions ever need to be a badge we wear to reveal how spiritual or devoted to God we are. God forbid.

Another dear friend of mine used to always say “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Why do we compare ourselves at all? If we compare ourselves in order to puff ourselves up, we have failed. If we compare ourselves to heap guilt on ourselves, we have failed. Put your measuring sticks far away, and instead of spending your time scrutinizing yourself or another person, take the time to appreciate another sister or appreciate the gifts and path God has given to you.

You can have your convictions and still value another sister’s obedience to God, even if it looks completely different from your own! And let me not even get started on how utterly arrogant it is to think that you or I have anything to do with our holiness or acceptance before God. We don’t wear badges, we actually receive crowns and even then we acknowledge that those crowns deserve to be at the feet of Jesus.

And we sing,

Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created. (Revelation 4:11)

{So technically that passage is referring to the 24 elders, but you get the idea.}

He alone is worthy. And it is God who created us to the Body of Christ who serves one another with special gifts in order to edify the whole Church. Edify, not tear down. Nourish and lift up, not weaken or destroy.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)

God prepared good works for each of us before we even knew we belonged to Him in order that we could walk around on His earth as the hands and feet of Jesus. We are His ambassadors with marching orders to reconcile people back to Him (2 Corinthians 5:18-20). To reconcile! Not to draw people away from Him with our selfish motives.

We don’t need to clamor for His attention, trying to draw His gaze toward us, hoping that He’ll take notice of how great we are. No! We humbly submit to the One who is worthy of all glory and honor and power. We can do this by walking in those good works that He’s prepared for us to do. And some of those good works involve building up our brothers and sisters in Christ.

25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
    and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
    and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. (Proverbs 31:25-26)

A woman with strength and dignity is wise and kind. Ironically she also recognizes her own weaknesses and even relishes in them, knowing that when she is weak, [He is] strong (2 Corinthians 12:10).

My sweet friend reminded me too that we need to be women full of grace for ourselves and for one another. We’re all going to fall, sometimes in small ways and other times in large ways. Wouldn’t you want someone to come alongside you and help you along rather than be put to shame by a sideways glance or a disappointed shaking of the head?

In case you’ve ever been hurt by a careless statement, consider first to give that person the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps that woman did not mean to hurt your feelings nor make you feel like a lesser Christian. Sometimes people say stupid things, and those aren’t necessarily judgments about you. More often than not, that individual hasn’t considered the implications of her words and is simply expressing her (not-so-tactful) opinion or strongly held conviction.

Let us all be careful with our words for it is by those words that we will be judged (Matthew 12:37). Wouldn’t you rather spend your limited time here on earth using your words to build up and encourage? I thought so.

(P.S. I know more women who are getting this right than women who are getting this wrong. Christ has given us a beautiful and perfect example of love for His bride, and He’s called us to this same kind of love for each other. We are the bride of Christ, and the world will know we are His based on our love for each other! So go love!!) John 13:35