A Very Important Part{Titus 2:3-5; NLT}
Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.

This is another passage our culture is uncomfortable with reading.  We believe that Paul should have treated men and women equally. What applied to the men should also apply to the women, and vice versa.  Not only should we remember that our culture was not the culture Paul was writing to, but we also need to overcome our uncomfortableness with the text and discover the wisdom God has for us in it.

First, we need to note the importance of example in teaching. When people are able to see the lesson lived out or modeled for them it is easier for them to grasp what is being taught.  In this context, where men and women and clearly defined roles, it made sense for the older women to be examples for the younger women on what it meant to follow Jesus as a wife, mother, and homemaker.  All three things, I might add, are essential parts for creating and maintaining a civilized world (part of the original mandate for human beings).

Second, the activities that we engage in determine the quality of our lives. The activities that we choose to participant in shape our lives.  If we choose to participant in things like slander, gossip, partying, and drinking then we are not going to look very much like Jesus.  If we choose to encourage, to serve, to worship, and to celebrate with people then our lives are going be able to reflect Jesus more clearly to the world.

Now, it is important to remember that often our negative behavior has an addictive quality to it.  It is not very easy to quit doing the wrong thing.  That is why people will continue to do self-destructive behavior, even when they know it is bad for their lives.  When this is the case not only do we need to choose to do what is right, but we also need to dedicate ourselves to prayer, fellowship (with people who will stand with you in the messy times of life), and even find professional help.

Sometimes it seems like we are taught that all we need to do is make a simple decision, that we just need to choose to do good instead of evil, but reality tells us this is not the case.  Change starts with a choice, but it is often followed by a long messy process of overcoming addiction and discovering freedom in Jesus. Don’t be discouraged in this process, because Jesus has promised to be with you every step of the way.

The last truth that needs to be pointed out is: Don’t bring shame to God. Our lives are bigger than ourselves, especially when we make the claim that we follow Jesus.  By claiming that we are Christians our lives become walking testimonies of God’s transforming power.  While the world is looking for reasons to discredit Jesus and not believe in God, our lives are to proclaim the grace, love, and forgiveness God has for the world.  This has more to do with the general direction of our lives, rather than individual actions.  It is true that our individual actions form the direction of our lives.  It is also true that can we can stumble along the way without changing that direction.  God isn’t seeking perfection in this, but He is seeking progress.  I believe this slow but steady progress will not only keep us humble, but it will also show those around us the difference God can make in a person’s life.

Once again in the book of Titus we notice that Christians are to be people of influence.  This influence flows from the choices we make and the way we live our lives.  The example of our lives provides those around us with a model to follow.  Our lives become the illustration of what it looks like to follow Jesus.  This means we have a very important part to play in God’s Kingdom.

Questions to consider:

  • Who has been a positive example in your life?
  • How has having an example to follow helped you in your walk with Jesus?
  • Do you consider yourself to be an example for others to follow? Why or why not?
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