Gardendale Nazarene

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Looking Outside of Yourself | Pastor's Blog | Gardendale Nazarene

Looking Outside of Yourself

This has been one of those weeks where the passage from Sunday won't let me go. We looked at Titus 2:11-15. In this passage, Paul makes a great statement to the churches in Crete. "For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age." (ESV)

The first two statements Paul makes are easy for us to grasp:
• The grace of God appeared in Christ Jesus.
• Through His life, death, and resurrection He brought salvation for all people.

The story doesn't end there, though– we are changed by His grace. His grace is to act in our lives:
• Training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions.
• To live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this world- right now!

On Sunday, I used the Kingdom New Testament translation. There the translator translates these three words as sober, just, and devout.

This is what I have been grappling with this week– it isn't the particular words that have stood out to me, but the position that Paul is calling the church to live. You see, most of us see being sober as the opposite of being drunk. That is true. But I think Paul is asking us to look deeper.

If you have an addiction of any kind, life is consumed with the next time you get to feed that addiction. Addiction is anything that consumes your thoughts apart from our Lord.

We typically think of addiction as being related to substance abuse. It can be. But addiction can also be related to hobbies, career advancement, shopping, exercise, envy, or retaliation. It can manifest itself in any number of ways. These things consume us and become part of our lives.

All addictions have something in common– they make you take a selfish posture. You are constantly looking inward.

Paul is urging us- 'live sober, just, and devout lives." In other words, assume a posture that is looking outside of yourself. The example of this is found in Christ Himself. The challenge of this passage lies in learning to put ourselves in a self-less posture.

Our challenge is to live as Paul reminds us in Philippians 2, "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant..." (Philippians 2:3-7a ESV)

May God give you the strength to look outside.

Pastor John