Titus 3 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional
“I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in G_d might be careful to devote themselves to good works. These are good and profitable for everyone. But avoid foolish debates, genealogies, quarrels and disputes about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. Reject a divisive person after a first and second warning, knowing that such a person is perverted and sins, being self condemned.” Titus 3:8b-11
Much of my “early believer” experience revolved around avoidance. By avoidance, I mean all my energy was focused on not sinning. I didn’t fully understand G_d’s grace, so I thought He was always keeping score with me. All I could think about was how my sin was displeasing G_d and storing-up some kind of punishment. I became disenchanted as a young believer, and I wondered where the abundant “life” of a believer was.
You may ask, “What’s wrong with NOT sinning?” Nothing at all. My problem was that I considered “not sinning” as the ultimate goal of a follower of Messiah. It took awhile before I learned that morality was not the goal of my faith…it is simply the byproduct of it. I shouldn’t have to focus the majority of my attention on avoidance, if Yeshua has truly given me the power to live abundantly.
After a Messiah-following friend shared this idea with me, my efforts began to shift from “not offending G_d” by avoiding sin, to “pleasing God” by doing good works. By focusing my energy on pleasing G_d, I worried less about offending Him. From this vantage point, we naturally avoid sin, plus we also avoid the guilt. Perhaps, this all sounds like semantics, but these are totally different mindsets.
In today’s passage, Paul instructs Titus that those who have believed in G_d should be careful to devote themselves to good works. More than simply avoiding sin, we must discipline ourselves to replace sinful behavior with that which honors G_d and reflects our inner transformation. Our behavior is always the outworking of an inner heart condition. It’s the same with properly motivated good works. If we have been truly transformed by Yeshua, then our desire to please Him should override the fear of offending Him.
In sports, there is a saying: The best defense is a good offense. People with an “avoidance” or “spiritually defensive” mindset are generally legalistic and judgmental towards anyone who doesn’t adhere to their legalism. They love to draw others into lengthy debates concerning the rules of avoidance.
Paul instructs that we should “avoid” such debates on avoidance! The best way to refute false religion is to know the Bible and to live within the parameters that G_d has set up. Don’t add or take away from His requirements and freedom. Put simply: A G_d-honoring life is the best apologetic…for which we need no apology.
~Steve Wiggins, Associate Leader, Worship Leader
Daily Devotional, Friday, November 8, 2013