E-Message Bible/Commentary

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." --- Psalm 119:105

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Be A Good Example For Others

Show yourself in all respects a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, gravity, and sound speech that cannot be censured; then any opponent will be put to shame, having nothing evil to say of us. (Titus 2:7)

How do others see you? Are you a model of good works for the kingdom of God? Are you honest in your speech? Can people rely on what you say? Can what you say be easily disputed because it is not the word of God? Can your enemies speak evil of you because of your inconsistent words and deeds?

In the above scripture, Paul told Titus, a young pastor to be a good example for others. He cautioned him to teach what was consistent with sound doctrine and to practice what he preached.  This same advice is also for us today. Say nothing that will cause others to question your Christianity. Do nothing that will cause others to turn away from Christianity because of the poor image that you are portraying.

Let your enemies be put to shame having nothing evil to say about you in the way you live your life.

A Pattern of Good Works
In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works... (Titus 2:7)

Paul admonishes the young pastor, Titus, to not only teach sound doctrine but also to be a good example for others to follow. In essence, Paul was telling Titus not to teach one way and live his life another way. Godly teaching must be consistent with a godly lifestyle.

There is nothing more frustrating and disheartening than to hear people teach God's word and then see them doing the opposite of what they have just taught. It is confusing to hear one thing but see another. What is taught in theory should be put into practice.

Paul told Titus and now he tells us through the word of God to show ourselves to be a pattern of good works. Remember, teaching God's word is good, but all that teaching is useless unless it is put into practice.

How to Silence Your Critics
In everything set them an example by doing what is good. (Titus 2:7)

Paul gives Titus the same advice he gave Timothy in order to endure hardships among his critics. Paul wrote two letters to Timothy about the false teachings and waywardness of the people in Ephesus. Paul tells Titus, another young pastor, how to silence his rebellious critics in Crete. We could use the same
advice. How then can we silence our critics?

The answer is so simple.  According to Titus 2:7, “In everything set them an example by doing what is good.” Exhibit a godly life in everything you do. Show evidence of that change through your lifestyle.

When we do as Paul has suggested, those who oppose us will be ashamed because they will have nothing bad to say about us. In other words, Paul suggests that the best defense is a good offense. We are to live in such a way that even our worst critics will be silenced.

Do you have a lot of critics? The best and quickest way to silence them is to show evidence of your changed life. Devote yourself to doing what is good. Live in such a way that reflects the righteousness of God.

 Don't Make New Year's Resolutions
This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men. (Titus 3:8)

Did the title entice you to open this E-Message?  It probably did. Since you opened the message, read it and be enlightened. There is a better alternative to making New Year's resolutions. First, let me tell you what's wrong with making New Year's resolutions.

We tend to make New Year's resolutions that are not realistic. We say we are going to do something that is far beyond our ability. Some of us are not committed to doing what it takes to make those resolutions come true. When the resolutions are not manifested into the physical, we become depressed and give up. We become so frustrated we go into a bigger slump than before. How many resolutions did you make last year that you gave up on long before the year ended?

Most resolutions are made in response to something negative; such as a bad habit. It is almost impossible to change that negative into a positive without strong commitment and determination. It is always easier to move toward something rather than away from something. In order for a resolution to work, you must move beyond the resolution itself by realizing the resolution is just part of your bigger dream. Resolutions oftentimes don't work because the focus is on only one area of your life or you make unrelated resolutions. Develop a life plan that involves all areas of your life. If you must make a resolution, make one with measurable results. This will give you an incentive to keep moving forward. If you are making a resolution, it is apparent you recognize you need to make a change or set goals. May I suggest something better than a resolution...something that I know works?

Here is a better and more powerful method to setting goals for change. Instead of making resolutions (representing the law), make affirmations (representing God's grace). Affirmations are more powerful, more meaningful, and that don't happen in the future. They are already established principles that are available, but you MUST affirm them. God is NOT involved in most resolutions. God is the power behind affirmations that line up with His word.

I do not MAKE resolutions. However, I affirm what already has been established by God and carried out by the universe. So what's the main difference between a resolution and an affirmation? Most resolutions do not involve God. A resolution is something that a person tries to accomplish on his own. A resolution is usually stated as a future event: "I will quit smoking." "I will lose weight." "I will get a better job." The focus is on YOU and what you WILL do. You are powerless to MAKE anything happen on your own. An affirmation is an already established principle that God has ordained and the universe honors.

On this last day of 2004, let me share the only affirmation I adopted this year. I didn't have to make it because it is a biblical principle. I have a Line-A-Day Calendar. For 366 days (2004 was a leap year) I wrote one concise affirmation on the line for each day: "God is my source; God is my resource."  Notice the very first word of my affirmation did not involve me or what I would do in the future. Everyday I acknowledged that God IS my source; not that He will be. I stated it in the present tense. Whenever I wrote "God is my source," I was acknowledging that God created me; my beginning started with God. When I wrote "God is my resource," I was acknowledging that everything I have comes from God. I didn't make up anything new; I merely reminded myself for 366 days that "God is my source; God is my resource." My writing it caused it to go deeper into my spirit and connect with the Holy Spirit who went to work to make sure this kingdom principle was realized by me before the year ended.

God was pleased with my remembering His already established principle and the universe responded accordingly. For the last time in 2004, this morning I wrote: "God is my source; God is my resource." My 366-day affirmation was affirmed in 2004. What's my affirmation for 2005? I'll let you know on December 31, 2005!

Affirmations are better than resolutions! Try affirming in 2005 rather than resolving to do something. Trust me, you will be better off a year later!

Frequent Reminders
REMIND them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show every courtesy to everyone.  (Titus 3:1)

No matter how great our memory is, we all need reminders! Paul tells Titus, the young pastor to remind the people of several things. In order to get the full understanding of these reminders, read Titus 3:1-11.

REMEMBER WHAT YOU SHOULD DO (Titus 3:1-2). Christians are reminded that they are citizens of earth as well as citizens of heaven. Therefore, there are some earthly things that every Christians should do. These things are listed in the first two verses.

REMEMBER WHAT YOU WERE (Titus 3:3). God has forgotten our sins, and we should forget them as well. However, it does us good to remember them as "forgiven sins" to remind us that we were lost sinners.

REMEMBER WHAT GOD DID FOR YOU (Titus 3:4-7). You did not save yourself. Remember it was God who washed away your sins so that you can stand justified in His sight. Also, remember that you cannot face the future alone. Be confident that God watches over you at all times.

REMEMBER WHAT GOD EXPECTS OF YOU (Titus 3:8-11). Be ready for every good work for the Kingdom of God. Those who are busy for God do not have time for petty arguments. Remember you are working to glorify God and not self.

If you want to be a better Christian, follow the advice Paul gave Titus. These are frequent reminders for you as well!

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