He saved us. “When the GOODNESS and LOVING KINDNESS of God our Savior appeared, he saved us.” (Titus 3:4)
Our Savior is GOOD.
Our Savior is LOVING.
Our Savior is KIND.
And so Paul reminds Titus to remind us that we too should be good, and loving, and kind. He tells Titus to remind us to be submissive to rulers and authorities. To be obedient. To be ready for every good work. To speak evil of no one. To avoid quarreling. To be gentle. To show perfect courtesy toward all people.
Because there was a time when we too weren’t yet saved. There was a time when we were foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days with malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us.
D.L. Moody says, Grace means undeserved KINDNESS. It is the gift of God to man the moment he sees he is unworthy of God’s favor.”
If we want to show people Jesus, we will show people goodness and loving kindness.
What struck me about this portion of Paul’s instructions to Titus was the importance of spiritual mentorships. It’s something that has been on my mind for some time now. I’ve been working on a book + Bible study for girls starting college, and as part of my research I surveyed over 300 college girls or recent grads from nearly as many different schools. A common piece of advice these girls would give to those coming behind them was to seek out a godly mentor. What this looked like varied among the girls in terms of age and proximity, but they wanted someone who could teach them — show them — how to live out their faith in this new, often contentious and antagonistic, environment.
A sophomore from Texas State said, “I wish I had had a personal mentor to guide me through the hard times and keep me motivated while also being able to celebrate accomplishments and victories. Someone who could strengthen my faith and answer any questions I had about Jesus.”
Paul’s instructions to Timothy are directed at both men and women, each with responsibilities toward those younger than them. Things like being sober-minded, self-controlled, reverent, dignified; sound in faith, love, steadfastness. To teach what is good, and set a good example in word and behavior.
What if we all took a younger seeker under our wings? What if we all submitted ourselves to the wisdom of a godly mentor? No matter your age or experience level, there is someone who has gone before you and someone who is coming up behind you.
I think many of us are missing out on this valuable part of what Christian community looks like, both as a giver and receiver.
I would love to hear your mentorship experience and any advice you have on finding or becoming a mentor. Thanks, friends!
How many people can you genuinely count on? People that will without a doubt be there, and never lie under any circumstance? I’m guessing very few, if any. I think this might be part of why we have such a hard time believing just how good and reliable God really is in our lives. It is hard to grasp perfection…perfect holiness, perfect truthfulness, perfect righteousness, perfect justice, perfect mercy, perfect sacrifice, perfect love. It is beyond our understanding. We look to the person we know the best – ourselves – and we fall so very short.
In Paul’s opening words to Titus, he speaks of the hope of eternal life we have; hope that was promised before the ages…and he inserts these words of God “He never lies.” Never. Ever.
This hope promised before the ages began is manifested in His word THROUGH the preaching of His word. Paul had been entrusted to preach the word. We have been entrusted to preach the word. And we can know without doubt that it is true. God never lies. His word never lies.
In our “Post-truth” (Oxford Dictionaries 2016 word of the year) world, it is hard to know what is truth. Real, at the core truth. Not perception, hope, gut, emotion, wishful thinking…but TRUTH. Smooth words and eloquent rhetoric by gifted speakers claiming to be enlightening and empowering preach things like truth is relative. Your truth is your truth, and my truth is my truth; there are no absolutes. But what a weary world really needs – whether our visceral human flesh will admit it or not – is TRUTH. Because everyone’s idea of truth based on their current desires, needs, circumstances, emotions, surroundings…will never lead to healing. It may feel good and affirming and tolerant and loving at the time, but it will lead to a path of destruction.
If we love; if we seek healing; if we desire restoration; if we long for salvation, we must preach truth. And there is only one truth…that from the Creator of truth; the One who can never lie.
God, may we never veer from truth. May it be our foundation and our goal post. May we believe it, live it, and preach it. Even when it is hard, because it will be hard.
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