Tuesday, April 15, 2014

April 15 - Trustworthy and Encouraging

Today's Reading:
Nehemiah 11:1-12:26
Titus 1:1-16
Psalm 119:129-136
Click on Text Link to Read Online

Focus Verses:
Titus 1:7-9

7 Since an overseer is entrusted with God's work, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8 Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

Paul instructed Titus that it was essential that spiritual maturity be evident before people are given leadership roles in Christian community. Many people claim to know God, but their actions contradict this claim (v.16). It's not enough for Christians to say what they believe; they must demonstrate it in the actions of their lives.

Spiritual maturity isn't just for those in leadership; it is for everyone who follows Jesus. The marks of maturity listed in these verses are appropriate for anyone who is growing in Christ. A mature Christian is not overly controlling, slow to get upset, not prone to excess, not rough or abusive, and not interested in dishonest gain.

Christians should be ready to share and quick to welcome others into their home. They should love what is good, be self-controlled, and lead lives that are upright and holy. Because they hold firmly to the teachings of Jesus and the apostles, mature Christians are able to identify and refute anything contrary to the way of Christ.

Response and Action:
I want to grow in Christ. I want my faith to be more than words or empty claims. I want my life to demonstrate that Jesus' Spirit is really at work in my life. I will hold firmly to the trustworthy message of the Scriptures. I will surrender fully to God and take hold of his grace and power to make me a person who is self-controlled, disciplined, and wise. I will commit myself to growing in Christ so that I can discern between what is false and true. I will do my best to be a person who encourages others.

Thank you for your word, O God. Help me to get a firm grip on the trustworthy message of Christ so that it might direct and support me. By the power and grace of your Holy Spirit, lead, teach, transform, shape and strengthen me, that I might delight in your will and walk in your ways to the glory of your name. Make my life a praise to you and an encouragement to others. Amen.

Spiritual Formation Verses: Hebrews 5:12-14
12 ...though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Discipleship Essentials: A Guide to Building Your Life in Christ
by Greg Ogden

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