A Lifestyle That Say’s Thank You

This Sunday we’ll be reading Titus 3:1-8.

Paul is making his point in reverse in this section. He begins with the results, and works his way backwards through the causes. We should live this way, because of how we used to be and what God has done for us. Working our way from the front to the back of his instructions, we realize he is describing our intended lifestyle as a response to God’s grace.

Paul’s instructions have to do with how we react to and treat other people. Who does he begin with? How easy or difficult is it for you to show grace in that area?

As you think over your life before Christ, are there times you’d like to forget, and really hope God has forgotten? Does that have any effect on how you perceive and behave towards others?

What are the benefits Paul describes that we receive from being in relationship with God through Christ? It’s pretty clear that we didn’t deserve those benefits. When I think of what I brought to the table in this relationship with God, I realize the only thing I brought were my sins which Jesus paid for. So then…who are the people that I think are less deserving of grace than I am? Who am I quick to judge…whether president or pauper…who do I reserve the right to criticize and disrespect, and what could I possibly use as a justification for that considering how God has treated me?

V8 doesn’t sound like Paul is making suggestions – he seems pretty adamant. In his view, this is what being a Christian looks like. Not that we live this way in order TO be saved…but this is what God’s redemption of us is intended to look like. I feel like I have a long way to go, but that sure is the person I want to be.

Maybe we can move that direction together?

5 comments

  1. This is a power packed section of scripture this week! Paul jumps in on a hot topic right off delving into politics and telling us to respect the government…With current events as they are, this could be a tough assignment. Government seems a little like “the church” in that it can be dangerous, hypocritical and increasingly intrusive in our personal lives. We have to remember that ultimately, “the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord” and He can turn it however He wants to accomplish His purposes in this city, state, country and world. So even though we may not be able to trust the powers that be we CAN trust our King to take care of us no matter what’s going on in politics. We have the opportunity to pray for, respect, and love our enemies whether in government positions or out.
    As I think over my life before Christ, absolutely there are MANY things I’d like to forget and am relieved that God has forgotten. Those things as despicable as they may have been definitely help me relate to the lost. For me though, it really isn’t the pre-salvation sins that haunted me as much as the one’s since God’s grace so mercifully appeared in my life. It is this GREAT mercy that Jesus has shown me when I’ve sinned even after I knew much better that draws me to Him day after day. As disappointing as our sins our to us they serve to teach us humility and gentleness toward our fellow travelers. His grace invites us to stay close to Him and inspires us inspires us to be light bearers…

  2. Julie, you’re so awesome. ❤ I second what she says.

    Verse 3 though. That one is pretty heavy for me. Remembering who you used to be in order to love people the way God intended and Jesus came to show us. Like you say about Eastgate's goal Rob, Love God. Love people. We haven't moved on from that because that in itself is hard enough to get right.

    I find that sometimes it's really easy to remember who I used to be and in turn treat someone with the love and patience and care that God asks us to. When I think about it though, those times are easiest when it's someone I am not close to or have not invested a lot of time in. Someone who I either meet in passing or someone I know won't be in my life for long. I guess it's easiest too when it's a person who has shown that they want what we have. They want whatever they see in us… that heart change. I'm sure it's easier then because I can see forward motion rather than watching them sit in the same mess I used to be content sitting in.

    Sometimes though it's incredibly difficult to remember what a mess I used to be. It's hard to remember just how stubborn and slow on the uptake I REALLY was. Especially in those moments I see looking back now, that God was standing right in my face screaming and hitting me over the head with a 2×4 and I just walked in the opposite direction. Sitting here and mulling it all over it seems that I have the hardest time remembering all that mess when it pertains to someone that I have loved over a long period of time and invested so much of my heart and life in. Someone who has been around to see the changes in me, (for the WAAAAAAYYYYY better), yet they still seem blind to the fact that they are where I once was. Completely content sitting in a giant mess, totally oblivious to the fact that it could be different. Walking away when God is screaming in their faces hitting them over the head with 2x4s. It absolutely floors me at how patient God must be to deal with all of us!

    Most times I feel God very close to me, like a friend. Like a sweet, kind, daddy who gets on His knees so I can run into His arms. During the times that I am reminded how patient He is with all of us, (and how inconceivably impatient I am compared to Him), I feel so very VERY small. It most definitely puts me in my place and changes my perspective and attitude. I guess it's all part of the growing process He brings each of us through.

  3. One last thing strikes me, sorry. The benefits we receive as the Message so beautifully puts it are that He has restored our relationship with Him and given us back our lives. He hit the giant reset button on our story and has allowed us to begin again. Not only when we were initially saved but thankfully on a daily basis. And because of that relationship we are not left wondering around on our own trying to do it right this time but He now walks hand in hand with us, like Kris said as a sweet, kind, daddy guiding us every step of the way.
    Also, I totally relate to what you said above Kris in that it is so much easier to show patience and love toward those who see the changes, the Jesus in us and want that heart change too. It is painful to share the hope of Christ with those we know and love and watch them stay on the outskirts of the well. Here is where our past serves us well, like you said we remember one, the length of time God dealt with and waited for us and we can take heart that we are not responsible for the end result but our faithful God will work His good in His time in their lives. We can love without having to “close the deal ” and grow in our trust in Him as we watch Him work His magic!!!! ( u r awesome Kris!)

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