Ecclesiastes 10:18-19

Hard work and money are dangerous.  We know that they can lead to sins that pull us away from God if we depend on them, but that is not what makes them dangerous.

They  are dangerous because in a lot of ways, they work.  Money and hard work produce a lot of results, and it is easy to be tempted to trust them instead of trusting God.  I promise that God is so much better.  They are not bad things, but God is even better.

Evidence of Love

There is a balance of works and grace here in Titus 3:1-8.  It reaffirms that it is God’s mercy that saves us, but if we believe in God, we should be careful to do good works.

This type of dichotomy is not unique to our relationship with God; he has implanted this picture into marriage as well. No matter how many good works I had done, they were not what was going to make Amanda marry me.  It was because, I presume but we will have to confirm with her, she loved me so much that she was willing to forgive all of the not-so-great qualities just to be in relationship with me.

Yet, at the same time, imagine what would happen if I never did good works or deeds for my wife?  It probably wouldn’t be the end of the world, but I am sure she wouldn’t be happy with me.  Not only that, but every person looking in on our marriage would probably doubt that there was love as they do not see the evidence of it.

We are loved by God.  If we truly believed that, Good works would be evident in our lives.

Colossians 1:3

Pail is writing to the church at Colosse to correct them and their incorrect theology.  The majority is spent doing that: sharing the truth in order to correct.

It is because of that truth and purpose of the book that v3 is so wonderful.

Paul gives thanks, first and foremost, for the faith of the church.  Then, out of that loving thankfulness he prayerfully corrects the Colossian Church.

Do we do that? I know that I usually don’t. What would it look like the next time you are on Facebook and see that post that you want to argue with or you feel needs correcting, you first were praying for the conversation, and those in it, and were thankful for the other person, and you told them that?

If I am being honest, that sound hard to do.  Can you do it?

P.S. If Paul can write full paragraphs as one long sentence, so can I.

 

Ecclesiastes 10:10

Having the right skills is important, without them tasks will be incredibly difficult.  It is worthwhile to understand where we are gifted, where we need to grow, and where we are not gifted, before we attempt to accomplish a task.

That being said, God will grant and has granted us the skills we need to accomplish any task before us.

Colossians 3:12-13

These verses beautifully describe things that we can, and should put on as Christians: tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long-suffering.  When I read this list I start hearing that old sesame street song play in the back of my head: “one of these things is not like the other.”

It is easy for me to accept kindness, humility, tenderness, mercy, and even meekness as virtues but long-suffering?

Other translations use the word patients.  I can get behind patients as a virtue, but the focus here is not just of patience but of patience in spite of troubles.

This means that it isn’t good enough to be patient until you are being yelled at, corrected, or frustrated. It is in those moments where Christ is calling us to have long-suffering.

This makes patience a much harder thing to have, but if we are transformed by the new life given to us in Christ, we are called to put on long-suffering as part of the character of our new man.

A Godly Man

What is a biblical man called to be like?  I do not know about you but sometimes, I feel like the bible doesn’t talk very much about what it means to be a man, in general.  We get verses about being a godly woman, father, employee, husband, and many others but not really what a Godly man looks like.

Even when we do get a piece, it seems vague.  Titus 2 says a man should be “sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience….  sober minded, always showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sand speech, that cannot be condemned.

You may notice that some of the items repeat.  That is because the first list is to older men and the second is to younger men.  Let us compare what things are the same between them.

Sober minded, reverent, are the ones that I see highlighted in both lists.  Why these two?

Perhaps a definition and exploration of each may help.

To be sober-minded is to be non-intoxicated by anything in life but instead, remaining in control and coherent.  To be reverent is to show deep and solemn respect.

So, all men are called to not let anything other than God control or guide us and to be filled with respect.  I believe these are the tools God uses to bring about other desirable qualities.  For young men (v7) we can develop a pattern of good works when we reverently some those in need.  We become incorruptible and above reproach when we have respect for God and do not allow ourselves to be controlled by worldly forces.

For older men (v2) the qualities bring about patience when we respect others, and love.  We develop sound faith by being sober minded.

Each of the things God has called us to, as men, start here: with sober-mindedness and reverence.  The trick is that there is a prerequisite for attaining and holding on to these traits: a dependence on Jesus (v13-14).

 

Titus 1:15

How much sin does it take to be defiled? How much disobedience does it take to become a rebel?

Paul suggests here that from the first step away,, we are rebellious.  From our first act, we are defiled.  And once we are defiled, all things are defiled.

Jesus, however, has made us pure in spite of our misdirection and sin.  He has wiped the slate clean.  The great part is that to those who are pure, everything is pure.  For those who walk with him and receive his forgiveness, we can be completely clean, and once we are, we will desire nothing but to be clean.

Waiting for a Miracle

How often do we ask for a miracle?  I think I ask for miracles all the time.  I ask for the salvation of my neighbors and coworkers.  I ask for anxiety relief in my family.  I ask for a huge revival of Christian life.  I ask for miracles for the simple reason of showing off my God.  And I pray these things as I sit in my air-conditioned home with my beautiful wife and food on the stove.

  1. When God did miracles, they were of his own accord, but typically they were for those who were crawling to Him, not riding up in their new chariot.
  2. I am already surrounded by a million miracles that I fail to recognize and give thanks to God for.

What are the miracles that are already in your life?