Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Line upon line

11-14 God's readiness to give and forgive is now public. Salvation's available for everyone! We're being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life. This new life is starting right now, and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears. He offered himself as a sacrifice to free us from a dark, rebellious life into this good, pure life, making us a people he can be proud of, energetic in goodness.
(Titus 2:11-14)

Titus is a teaching of Paul written directly to Titus as instruction on how to live as a godly man and to lead the church members with wisdom.  What we know from reading the first chapter is that Paul is concerned that Titus will establish local churches in Crete, ensuring that good leaders are in place who will be able to lead the people into right living.  Then he reminds Titus of the importance of mentoring relationships.  Older men and women, well-established in their faith, being solid examples for younger men and women to look up to.  Why is this important?  It is because we learn best by the example we see. 

Paul now begins to sum up the crux of the letter with these words we have in our passage today.  God's readiness to give and forgive is public knowledge!  Sometimes we think the things of God are hidden from us, but the scripture tells us differently.  God is ready to give - sometimes we just have to be ready to receive!  He is ready to forgive - sometimes we just have to be ready to repent! 

Paul's focus is on developing as Christians.  This Christian experience is more than a moment-in-time experience.  We grow fresh in our connection with Christ each day.  Paul's emphasis is on "being shown" how to turn our backs on the old stuff of our sinful life and to embrace the good stuff of the life in Christ.  That implies that we don't just "get it" - we need to be shown - we need examples.  I know this is true for me - an example speaks louder than any words in the "instruction manual".  I think that is why those modular furniture packages come with pictures, not just words!

A picture speaks louder than words!  What we can perceive through observation cements the words to an actual lifestyle - seeing right choices lived out helps us understand the truths we may be struggling with.  That takes it from being "ethereal" to being "real".  We have been granted "leaders" in the church that help us make this connection.  Yet, Paul is not stopping with the leaders.  He reminds Titus that the church also needs to be filled with "mentors" - older men and women who can lead by example.

I don't know who you have in your life that acts as a mentor for you, but the truth is that you need someone!  When we need to understand forgiveness, we benefit so much from the evidence of a lifestyle that shows the results of walking in forgiveness.  To see another embrace forgiveness, despite the ugliness of their past sin, and then to walk in freedom that forgiveness produces allows us to "connect-the-dots" of God's grace, our repentance, and his restoration. 

Did you know that scripture says that we learn "line upon line, precept upon precept"?  Yep, it does.  Guess what another word for mentor is?  Yep, you guessed it - preceptor!  So, if we really want to learn what God has in store for us, we would do well to align ourselves with preceptors who can help us learn "line upon line, precept upon precept"!  In turn, we become that preceptor to another who needs an example to follow.  If you don't think of yourself as an example today, just wait - - - God is making us into the best example of his grace we could possibly imagine! 

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