The World Around You
A few years ago the men in our church’s men’s ministry studied the words of the Apostle Paul to his young son in the faith, Titus. In chapter three of the letter that bears his name, Titus was instructed to encourage the people entrusted to his care to not be like the world around them – foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures, living in malice and envy, being hated and hating (Titus 3:3). He then reminded them of something very important with these words: At one time they too were… just like that.
Paul told Titus that because of God’s love, the redeeming work of Christ, and the renewing and washing work of the Holy Spirit, the Christians in Crete were no longer like the world around them.
Have You Changed?
That fact, very naturally, brought up a painful question in our group discussion: What if we still are like that? What if we’re still like the world around us? One possible answer to the question was even more painful: No change in your life may mean you aren’t in Christ… that you haven’t been redeemed, washed, and renewed.
Yet, let’s remember we’re all at different places in our relationship with Christ. And, of course, we all walk at different paces with him. Thus, we won’t all look alike in our Christian progress. However, if we can’t look back at our lives a year ago, two years ago, or five years ago and see some sort of growth, some level of maturation in faith, love, godliness, (and the rest of the fruit of the Spirit), then we may well need to ask the troubling question: Am I truly in Christ? Of course, only God knows the heart, and this isn’t about judging others. But it is about each person doing an honest assessment of himself or herself.
There’s no getting around the fact that true faith in Christ will result in a changed life. We can’t possibly remain the same. And the good news is, we’re not called to do it in our own strength.
Stay tuned for Part Two of this devotion.