Thankful for the time I could spend working through the topic of humility I will be switching my focus to understanding how different cultures influenced how the gospel message was presented through the books of Titus, Judges, 1 Timothy and the Minor Prophets.
Imagine yourself in this scenario: your in a new church plant with fresh new leaders and you are left to your own devices along with a letter of instruction on an island with nowhere else to go. Titus was in a position that many of us as leaders would fear and maybe only a few of us that would thrive. We are introduced to the people of Crete in Titus 1:12, a culture of communities known as “liars, evil brutes and lazy gluttons.” Titus, a friend of Paul and a disciple of Christ is called to help build and structure the leadership of the church. This letter from Paul to Titus involves instructions on how to work in a culture where false teachers were infiltrating the churches, teachers whose intentions were self focused rather than God focused. This pastoral letter of instruction is still as relevant to church leaders today as it was when Titus first received it.
We, like Titus are called to live a Godly life in a culture that pushes hard to promote self-reliance and “easy living”. Our life must reflect an attitude of saying “No to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self controlled, upright and godly lives”. (Titus 2:12) I have to wonder what it must have been like for Titus to receive this letter from Paul in that day. I read this same letter today as it is in the bible and I think how the culture of today is filled with the same “liars, evil brutes and lazy gluttons”. The amazing thing about this is that I/we have the same promise of kindness and love of an unchanging God as Titus did. Paul uses some strong words (corrupt, detestable, disobedient) to describe a culture that opposes the way of truth and love. This letter is a reminder for me to be praying for the people in our communities, praying for opportunities to influence a culture that is far from God, opportunities that will draw them closer to knowing a loving heavenly father.