“Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior;
To Titus, my true child in a common faith:
Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior…
“For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.’ This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.” Titus 1:1-4,10-16
Paul’s heart beat for the sake of his God and His people. He was fueled by a call and desire to see believers grow in faith, knowledge, and godliness, and knew these were inextricably bound. What he believed, preached, and wrote was laced with the grace and peace of Christ and communicated with affection. His motives stood in stark contrast to the shameful gain and folly of others, and he backed his words with works.
For the sake of growing godliness in His people, God uses many to carry on His works of service, spreading hope, and manifesting the power of His word. He calls some to silence falsehood and deception, or rebuke sin and impurity, in order to establish others sound in the faith. Are we caught up in that effort, that goal, for those in common faith? Are we zealous for all that accords with godliness? Or do we spend and plan and live for our own pleasure? (2 Kings 19:34)
How are we involved in the building up of God’s children? What do we actually pray, say, contribute, and do for the sake of the faith of those God has entrusted to us? If we offer ourselves for His service, He will lead and use our willingness for their sake.(Romans 12:1-2)
“Lord, speak to me that I may speak
In living echoes of your tone.
As you have sought, so let me seek
Your erring children, lost and lone.
Oh, lead me, Lord, that I may lead
The wand’ring and the wav’ring feet.
Oh, feed me, Lord, that I may feed
Your hungry ones with manna sweet.
Oh, teach me, Lord, that I may teach
The precious truths which you impart.
And wing my words that they may reach
The hidden depths of many a heart.
Oh, use me, Lord, use even me,
Just as you will, and when, and where
Until your blessed face I see,
Your rest, your joy, your glory share.” ~Frances R. Havergal (1872)
Lord, replace selfishness with pure desire to expend myself for the sake of the faith of Your children. (2 Corinthians 5:15)