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Devotional: August 21, 2020

Salvation’s available for everyone! We’re being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life. This new life is starting right now, and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears. He offered himself as a sacrifice to free us from a dark, rebellious life into this good, pure life, making us a people he can be proud of, energetic in goodness.

         Titus 2: 11-14

The Apostle Paul’s letter to his younger protégé Titus picks up on Paul’s familiar theme that salvation is available to all. Yet more than anything, Paul encourages Titus to highlight the difference between a life filled with God, and a life devoid of the Lord.

Paul paints a stark contrast between the “godless, indulgent” life, with a “God-filled, God-honoring life”. From other passages of scripture, and perhaps from our own experiences, we see what a life of over-indulgence looks like. We don’t have to look very far to see temptations that separate us from our walk with God. Giving into our base appetites far too much, whether it be for food, or alcohol or other substances, or sexual excesses, or greed, or power: such a path is bad for us, and also for those around us. It harms our community, and the world. Each of us probably has something in our life which, if we allow it, can overtake our heart. Given no limits on our sinful appetites, we could easily find ourselves caught up in what Paul calls a “dark rebellious life”. 

The good news is that we do have a choice. There is another path! It is the one made possible for us by the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is the choice to lead a disciplined, God-honoring life. This is the good path, towards a disciplined life of becoming more and more Christ-like each and every day.

Of course, the ironic twist to this choice was pointed out by Jesus Himself.  He said to his disciples, 

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.  What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” 

Matthew 16: 24-26

The choice Paul encouraged Titus to lay out for his congregation is the same choice which confronts all of us: to honor, and to be filled with God, or honor our sinful desires. The tragedy is that if left unchecked, many of these temptations will destroy us! That is what Jesus was conveying when he said that those who seek to save their lives will lose them. When one is focusing on saving their own earthly self-absorbed life, one cannot focus on the Lord. They will literally be lost to themselves and to God. 

What is the solution? How is true freedom found? By seeking Christ through prayer, reading the scriptures, and sharing the Word of God. We are saved by putting the Lord first in every part of our lives, not just the parts we are willing to give up. For Jesus also said,

“Strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

         Matthew 6:33

Prayer

Lord of all,

The world is constantly telling us to indulge ourselves. When we are tempted, remind us of Your truth. Tune our hearts to Your voice, reminding us that there is another path. Guide our feet to walk in a way which honors You. Help us to turn away from the desires which lead us away from You. We pray this prayer in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.


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