Bible Experiment Titus
Several years later, we have arrived at Titus. TITUS! Woot! Are we all super excited?!?! Yeah, I wasn’t either, until I read through it. (This has been an ongoing series. If you want to start at the beginning, you can check them out right here.)
Before I start, the other day I had a come to Jesus moment. It was this really intense eye opening revelation really. It came after 4 straight weekends on the road, and nearly zero days off. And then a super big event to help get children sponsored and helped around the world… an event that basically bombed. (Read some of the cliff hanger thoughts here.) And then on the way to the airport for the 9th or 10th time in a month and a half with hardly any end in sight, and the expectations mounting, I listened to a podcast. To be honest, I’d rather not say which one, just because I don’t want to hear the theological arguments about the particular individual. But regardless, one little phrase he tossed out was, “We are not human doings… we are human beings.” And he went on to describe the fact that God is not interested in the doings, or the achievements. Rather, he’s interested in the my moments of being. My thinking. My being. And it was then that I realized that I was trying to carry the weight of the world. To eradicate poverty single handedly. To do the impossible on my own. And I sort of had a mini-meltdown. Which brings me to the state I was in, when I started reading Titus.
The Book of Titus
As I first started reading this time around, I was totally lost. Mind blown. Gone. No idea. It was talking about the establishing of elders and what kind of people they ought to be. Literally no idea. But then I realized, that Paul was the one that converted Titus. He cared for Titus, and was concerned for his heart. For his walk. And so Paul was encouraging Titus to stay the course.
Now, it must be said, that this letter was written after Paul’s first imprisonment. He wrote it from Nicopolis in 63 AD. And after leaving Timothy in Ephesus (See here and here) Paul and Titus went together to Crete in order to setup a church there. And Paul spent a good bit of time there on Crete to evangelize the island’s inhabitants. And then Paul set Titus up as the leader of the churches there.
So why is Titus getting this letter from Paul then? Well, Paul was grounding his brother in good wisdom and also in good doctrine. Here:
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”
And this sort of message reoccurs three times throughout these three small chapters. Basically Paul was telling Titus to not listen to those that might want to tickle the ears of his flock or himself. To stay grounded in the word, and in the gospel that has been handed down to him. That Christ gave himself for us… to redeem us.
What’s It Mean For Me?
What’s dynamic and truly mind altering for me is that Christianity isn’t a religion specifically. Sure, pile a bunch of Christians together and magically we are a gaggle of religion in one place. But realistically, your interaction with God is the sum total and definition of your spiritual journey. It is the beginning and end of religion for you. I can’t get you to heaven, and you can’t get me there. It’s you and God. Sure, we can church, and we can walk arm and arm on this journey and we can encourage each other along the path. But ultimately it’s you. And it’s God.
And what Titus reminds me is so important is that having sound doctrine is critical. Holding on to the truths of the gospel is critical. And out of that gospel truth that you are standing upon should amount to a changed life. If I love God, and take seriously the fact that the heart of God is for the widow, the orphan, the impoverished? Well, then, giddyup. Get on it! But supporting the disempowered becomes an internal conviction and desire, not a requirement. It becomes a joy. That is if you are all in on the mission that Jesus has called us to.
But for those on the outside looking in, it feels like rules. Rites. Rituals. But Christianity is just a relationship between you and God. A belief in the simple theological truth, that God came to earth in human form. He lived a perfect life, and died a death on my behalf so that I could have my sins forgiven, and I could be reconciled to a perfect God that can have nothing to do with sin. And that is what Paul is calling Titus to… the creation and establishment of fellow believers to guard the message of truth and to convey it to those nearby.
For you specifically the question is simple. Do you even believe that God came to earth to reconcile Himself to you? Why not? Only foolish people believe this to be true I hear you thinking from thousands of miles away and weeks or months later. The Bible is pretty clear that God has embraced the foolish things of this world in order to glorify Himself. He has chosen the weak things of this world to prove Himself to those that would listen. When He came to earth he came as a poor child, swaddled in a manger. Not the cute scene at Christmas. The embarrassing and poverty stricken scene that only the truly poor experience. And He died a scandalous death so that you didn’t have to. And then from there on out, it’s about you, and it’s about Him and the marvelous story of his intercession on your behalf.
A Random Personal Note
I have no idea why I’m posting each of these Biblical walkthroughs. If you find yourself here, you really should just consider the fact that God is chasing you. He is chasing your heart. And He would that you would be saved. But that is between you and Him. I’d be happy to chat with you about his hunting you down. But good luck running. Didn’t work for Jonah. And it won’t work for you either. He would that you’d be saved.