Living in a Modern Crete

Today’s reading is Titus 3.

According to historical study, the Cretan populace was, in general, sinful and immoral in the extreme. And not just by the standards of the likes of Paul. The rest of the Roman world looked down on Crete and Cretans as vile, beastly, immoral liars. That means they were pretty bad. So we can imagine when Paul wrote to Titus about what to teach the Christians, he had a lot to say about how the Christians should wage the culture war among the sexually immoral, morally destitute, sinfully wicked Cretans. No doubt, he encouraged them to have public demonstrations, to take every opportunity to shout down the immorality, to argue constantly with everyone who disagreed with the revelation coming from the apostles, to belittle and shame the sinners. Or wait. Maybe he gave different instructions. Look again at today’s reading. 

  • Be submissive to rulers and authorities 
  • Be obedient
  • Be ready for every good work
  • Speak evil of no one
  • Avoid quarreling
  • Be gentle
  • Show perfect courtesy toward all people

Wow! Why? Because we are surrounded by people who need a Savior just as we do. The only difference between us and those who still pursue sin with reckless abandon is through Jesus Christ we have the empowering strength of the Holy Spirit. Obviously, this doesn’t mean we are to neglect teaching truth and correcting opponents (see Titus 1:9; 2:1, 7-8). However, let us think about Paul’s instructions to the Cretan Christians before we act, before we interact, before we react.

Monday’s reading is John 1

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Lips and Heart

Today’s reading is Matthew 15.

I’m reading a book right now on what the author has labeled “Cultural Christianity.” It’s all about people who claim to be Christian, but its not because of real conviction. It’s because of culture. Today’s reading couldn’t hit on that topic any better. Isn’t that what is happening when people honor God with their lips, but their hearts are far away? Of course, Jesus was talking to Jews, but the same problem can happen among “Christians.” It’s easy to have Jesus on the lips. It is an entirely different matter to have Jesus in the heart. It’s easy to know how to answer the questions with a Bible verse. It is an entirely different matter to apply the Bible verse answers to daily life. A culture of Christianity includes church attendance, it includes prayers in Jesus’s name, it includes Bible verse plaques on the wall, it includes marking “Christian” on the latest census. A conviction of Christianity includes Jesus in the heart, it includes Jesus in every decision, it includes doing the next thing to get closer to Jesus, it includes a life completely changed because God has made Jesus whom we crucified to be Savior, Lord, and King. If Jesus is in our hearts, He will be on our lips. If we are convicted, we will also have the culture. But just because we have the culture and just because He is on our lips, doesn’t mean we are near to God. Let’s keep the cart behind the horse. Let’s get near to God. The rest will take care of itself.

Monday’s reading is Matthew 16.

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