DAILY WORD 2/25/21
1. Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good.
2. They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.
Titus 3:1–2 NLT
Today’s Passage takes us back into the Instruction about Instruction. Paul is teaching Titus how to guide the Church members in Crete, and exactly what he should be teaching them. Titus is the Leader of the Church there, and he needs to be prepared to take the reins, and show his hand-picked Leaders how they should represent the Gospel and Christ, to both the world at large and those within the Church structure.
This is the KJV, “Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.” Paul begins with a simple but important statement; he tells Titus to “put them in mind”.
This is important because it gives us a look at what the role of a Christian Leader actually is. They are to be Good Examples, Trustworthy Models, and Faultless Representatives of the Gospel, to be sure. But they are also Commissioned to Remind and Admonish believers as to the Correct Behaviors that they should be engaged in on a daily basis, especially if they are Leading others in the Church.
The first thing Paul tells Titus to remind them to do is to be obedient to the laws of the land and those that draft them. That is the police, politicians, and governmental leaders. Now, after the last several years in this country, going back to the ’70s, and if I’m honest, back to the founding of this nation, we can see just how difficult this may be.
The corruption, discrimination, and blatant hatred of those in power make this particular statement bothersome to some of us, and really, any of us that pledge to uplift Righteousness in this world. However, keep in mind what Paul and Titus were dealing with when this letter was written.
To the early Christians, what two regimes were more detrimental to their survival than the Jews and the Romans? Yet, Paul still admonishes Titus and the rest of his Leaders to obey their laws, many of which may well have been in direct opposition to their safety and well-being. Why would Paul tell his Leadership to obey the laws of people that clearly hated them and wanted nothing more than their total eradication?
The answer is simple, yet complex. The simple answer is that to follow the Words and Guidance of Christ is, in and of itself, a Message of submission. The last thing a Christian should ever be is an insurrectionist. That runs contrary to every aspect of the Gospel. But it goes even deeper than that.
How would it look if we, as Christians, defied the law of the land? If we attacked the very foundations of the societies we were trying to convert? If we threw our weight against the cornerstones of society? How then, could we ask anyone to do anything we suggested that spoke to submission?
Jesus was indeed a radical but His Revolutionary mindset did not have an extremist or militant bent. His Revolution was aimed at the destruction of the corrupted religious mentality, not the state itself. As a matter of fact, Jesus specifically told His followers to pay their taxes and follow the laws of the land, even as those same leaders were seeking to snuff out His Life.
It is important that we, as Christian Leaders, know how to submit to the laws of the land, regardless of whether we agree with them, or if they make our lives comfortable, or not. The only time we are to defy the laws of the state is when they defy the laws of God. Otherwise, we are to do as we are instructed, even if it results in our deaths, as it did for both Paul and Jesus.
Paul goes on to instruct Titus to instruct his hand-picked Leaders “to be ready to every good work,”. It doesn’t matter what others around us are doing. Protesting, giving in to their lusts, or cheating to get ahead. Ours is not to gain benefit from this life. Our Benefit will come after this life is over, Worshiping before the Throne of God.
What we are here to do is Promote the Gospel of Christ and His Love. It is as simple as that. Any other action is beyond our purview. We are the Messengers of God’s Love. As such, we must be willing and able to act the part, or risk Leading those we are Commissioned to Lead toward destruction, not Salvation.
This means that no matter what they say about us, we are to “speak evil of no man”. No matter what they do to us, we are “to be no brawlers”. Paul tells us that we should instead be gentle. Notice that he doesn’t tell them that they should be gentle if others are gentle toward them. He simply says to be gentle. This implies that even if we are treated poorly like Paul was, we are to treat others as we would like to be treated, not like we have been treated.
Now, with the way people act these days, this is not an easy undertaking. People will see your kindness, your meekness (which by the way, is the final instruction in Today’s Passage), or your Righteousness, and assume that you are weak, timid, and a pushover.
But let’s be honest, we are lions! We are Warriors of the Cross! If we were to take up the banner of war for our beliefs like some other religions mistakenly do, the world would be in serious trouble. But that is not the Message we are Called to Spread. Our war is against the flesh that tells us to fight back, that tells us we should show these people that treat us badly just what kind of Power we really possess.
But that’s not what Jesus did, is it? He hung there on the Cross dying, falsely accused by people that hated Him because he was jeopardizing their power structure, and beaten beyond recognition, knowing full well that all He had to do was think the thought, and an army of countless angels, ready at hand, would have flown to His Defense, and destroyed His enemies in an instant. But He didn’t do that, did he?
No. He took the pain. He bore the shame. He finished His Mission. Even in the face of overwhelming odds, Jesus submitted to His Destiny that meant His Death. So, how, given that He is our Example, can we Lead others to do any different than He did?
If you are Called to be a Christian Leader, you must look at the Examples that we are given, and follow their Lead, even if it means discomfort, imprisonment, or death. This is what we are Called to do, and it might not be an easy assignment but it is our Responsibility, and our burden. The question becomes; do you have the meekness, the gentleness, and the goodness to be what God has Called us to be? Do you have what it takes to be a Christian Leader?
Have a Thought-Provoking Thursday and Stay Safe out there!