Titus 2:4-6 “that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded”
There has been a troubling trend among the youth of America and abroad for several years now. When kids leave High School and begin to attend College statistics have shown that nearly 66% leave the church. Competing worldviews in colleges has demonstrated an aggressive and violent position against anyone purporting to adhere to a faith that resembles anything christian.
In a 2017 Lifeway research report the reasons are as follows:
- Moving to college
- Church members seemed judgmental or hypocritical
- I didn’t feel connected to people in my church
- I disagree with the church’s stance on political/social issues
- My work responsibilities prevented me from attending.
According to a 2020 statista report in America, nearly 76% of Americans claim to rarely or almost never attend church.
With the Covid-19 crisis continuing to persist and the difficulty for people to connect in a meaningful way, even those who want to go to church have been restricted. Wearing masks, attempting to social distance in pews or in conversation has hampered the church from being “the church”.
What compromises the church? Is it a group of people meeting in a building, singing songs, listening to a pastor or priest give a message?
Go to any modern day concert (pre-covid) and you’ll get the same treatment. The artists speak their minds on subjects relevant today, the music and message resonates among its people and they join in the celebration by dancing and singing along.
What makes the church so different? For those institutions who have become seeker friendly, the laser shows, dry ice effects, and digital forms of connecting is an attempt to compete with the worldly equivalent today.
2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
- Those who are called by the name of Christ compromise the church.
- Those who walk in humility before a Just and Holy God.
- Those who walk in the Spirit and communicate with God regularly.
- Those who seek His face, who desire to be in His presence and draw near.
- Those who desire to walk in righteousness.
These are the attributes of the people who are recognized by the Lord as being His people but this still doesn’t denote what we affectionately deem as partaking in church services.
Colossians 3:12-17 “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
Unpacking this exhortation to believers is a critical sampling of what being a member of God’s church looks like. The attributes of one who is lead by the Spirit is demonstrated in the fruit they bear. Walking in these attributes is critical for not only maintaining a personal fellowship with the Spirit of God but also in demonstrating Christ to the world.
To those who have learned to walk effectively in these patterns of righteousness, they are admonished to teach these to those who haven’t yet walked in them, typically this is reflected in our youth.
The illustration in Titus of what this teaching entails is first directed toward marriages.
- Young women are encouraged to love their husbands. This seems like something that doesn’t need to be reiterated, doesn’t a woman love a husband to whom she is married? In Paul’s day women were treated terribly, they were considered as second class citizens on multiple levels and I would assume this same mentality carried into the home. Loving someone who treats you as inferior is a love that exceeds human nature and carries with it a strength that goes beyond the expectations that marriage carries with it. Even today, for those who have known marriage and the challenges it brings with it, to consistently love is a personal decision that honors the the Lord by whom we are called and transforms those who have experienced it.
- Loving children is another exhortation that seems obvious but carries with it great responsibility. Our children are our future, if we don’t teach them how to love, they won’t understand it when they are older. The love of family is only one aspect of love, loving others with agape love is the type that demonstrates the love that God has shown us. The more we help our children and others see godly love in us, the closer we usher them into a knowledge of God that hopefully will become personal to them one day.
- The admonishment to be discreet is an attribute I am continually working on. I wasn’t raised to be discreet in my conduct or language and so it is a character quality that I have to learn. To be discreet is to be careful and circumspect in one’s speech or actions, especially in order to avoid causing offense or to gain an advantage. Quiet strength can be far more compelling than any braggadocious display of opinion can ever carry with it.
- To be chaste is a practice that seems foreign to many millenials today. If you suggest to someone that waiting for sex until you are married is good practice, they look at you like your from another planet. This type of encouragement requires a biblically moral foundation by which to proceed from, if you encourage someone without this standard in view, you only impress upon them your own morality and it is soundly rejected in this culture in which we live.
- Homemakers are the attributes of woman who has made her home a sanctuary. When you step into a homemakers world, you are subjecting yourself to her rules and if those rules are godly in nature then you will see that godliness revealed in the family ties that bind, the love that is shown, and the light that emanates to those in her neighborhood.
- Goodness is an attribute that only God exemplifies. If we show goodness, we have God manifesting His presence in and through our lives. When I see a woman or man that is good, I see someone who understands what submitting to God entails.
- Obedience toward a spouse is not a lowering of self, it is maintaining an understanding of marital and parental roles within a home. When we live by the roles God has ordained for us, our children flourish. There are distinct qualities for a man and woman in a marriage relationship, walking within the spectrum of a biblical mandate allows you to grow and others to grow around you because ultimately, the Lord is lifted up in your midst.
When we live by the principles of God’s Word, we live in a way that honors the Lord. Whether it is in a quietness of spirit, maintaining a standard of holiness, or in how we love, these all demonstrate God’s goodness to a world that hungers for truth.
The 3rd commandment is “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain”.
To take God’s name in vain is to blaspheme His name before the world. There are many ways to do this but the exhortation here is by the way we live our lives. If we claim to be followers of Christ and yet live like the world, we demonstrate God’s love in a way that mischaracterizes who God is. We are His ambassadors, we carry His message, we are to exemplify His attributes and show His love.
We are called to a greater purpose, this is what we committed to when we decided to respond to the call of God in our lives.
A final admonishment is given toward young men—be sober minded.
Sober-minded men are characterized by seriousness and lack of excess. What we live for, how we live, and what direction we want to go requires spiritual maturity. Spiritual maturity comes through obedience to the Spirit of God in our lives and that is revealed by drawing near to God.
Walking in the fellowship of God is a daily practice that requires discipline. Disciplining our bodies, our schedules, and our time is one that takes a concerted effort with a goal in mind. The ultimate goal of a man of God is reflected in the greatest comandments:
Mark 12:29-31 “Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
If we would only understand the fullness of this directive, everything in life would change. To change takes a humble spirit and a contrite heart.
Do you need to change?
If you sense this need, it is because the Spirit of God is calling you to repentance. Turning your life around isn’t easy, it never has been and never will, so don’t expect it to be. Know what you want in life and then pursue it and the God of all glory will move mountains to see that it happens when that path is the one He has directed.