Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Gentleness, Godliness, Inspirational, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Peace, Scripture, Testimony

NICE GUY

TITUS 3:2

to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.”

Are you a nice person? I mean, do you portray these traits Paul lists in today’s verse? These are admirable traits, but I guarantee you they are not possible for long without Christ being the center of your life. Christ showed us all of these while He was here on earth. If He can live them out, we can too. We just have to allow Him to live them through us.

“To malign” means to speak evil against someone. That’s not our calling. “To be peaceable” literally means not to fight. For some of us that’s hard. “Gentle” means to be forbearing or reasonable toward others. That can be tested at times, can’t it? And “showing every consideration” has the idea that you can show restraint.

APPLICATION

Aren’t those four traits worth instilling in your children? How many times have you had to stop your children from doing the exact opposite? Instead of not speaking evil, they are constantly tattling or trying to get their sister or brother in trouble. Flesh does not have to be taught how to be fleshly. It comes natural. Our job as Christian parents is to consistently hold that flesh accountable. We must take every opportunity to point them towards the attributes of Christ.

Will your children embrace these traits? Only if they first know Christ. Trying to “force” these behaviors on your child before they know Him may get them to follow a rule, but it won’t change their heart. Only Jesus can do that. So, is it hopeless? Of course not! But know that the heart change is not your responsibility. Your job is to keep pointing them to Jesus. Jesus is big enough to handle the rest.

Which of these four traits gives you the most trouble? Probably, for me, it’s being gentle. I often have unreasonable expectations of others and am not very forbearing. I expect too much or I want them to comply to my wishes. That’s not being Jesus. The only way I can live this out is to surrender my desires to His. I have to see the other person through His eyes. Then I can show the gentleness of Christ.

I desire to live out these traits towards others, Lord. I know that I may be the only Jesus they ever see. Help me be that to them today.

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TAKE A DEEP BREATH

TITUS 2:6

“Likewise urge the young men to be sensible;” 

What a beautiful word! The Greek word for “sensible” is one of those words which can never be truly translated into English. It’s so much more than sensible or self-controlled. Let me break it down for you. I promise you are going to like it.

The root word comes from two Greek words. One means “safe” and the other means “what regulates life.” We get our word “diaphragm” from that second one. Now, get the picture. This word literally means “safe breath.” In other words, take a breath, breathe deeply. You can even use the illustration of a singer who has learned to control their breathing using their diaphragm to hold that consistent note.

APPLICATION

I don’t even have to tell you how to apply this verse, do I? How many times have you told your kids to count to ten before they say something? How many times have you had to do that? I usually have to count a little higher, lol. But here Paul tells Titus to command the young men (yes, he literally writes it that way) to take a breath. Why the young men? Because he knows they are more than likely to be the ones to lose it.

We men tend to live on bravado. We have to prove our manhood. Or at least we think we do. Dads, stop that. Your words don’t prove manhood. How macho you are doesn’t prove manhood. It’s how consistent and dependable and reliable your walk with Christ is that proves that. Jesus was all man, and He never had to bow up at anyone. Sure, He cleared the temple, but that was about His Father, not Him.

So, the next time you are tempted to blow it, take a deep breath. Be sensible. Pretend you are an opera singer holding that last, sustained note. You have to concentrate to keep it from going flat. You have to focus on your diaphragm to let out just the right amount of air with that note. Then let the melody that comes out of your mouth be one that brings honor to our Lord. Amen?

I want my response to others to be one that is clear and calm. Help me today to measure my tone and words to do that. I praise You for giving me the ability to do that through You.

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KEEP AN EYE ON YOU

TITUS 1:7

“For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain,”

The position of overseer or elder has often been misinterpreted as a position of authority or title. The Greek word for “overseer” actually means someone who intently keeps their eye on something or someone. In the church that man is watching over the church body to provide first-hand care and protection. It’s a service role more than an authority role.

Now, elders must help guide the body. But they do this from a position of service, not by brow beating. That is exactly why Paul lays out all these qualifications. In this verse he gives six more character traits (good steward, not self-willed, not quick tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain). He has further limited the pool of men who rise to the position, this ensuring their heart for service, not rule.

 APPLICATION

It is interesting that these traits Paul lists for an elder are traits we as parents want for our children. We want them to handle what God gives them well. Money management is an important skill for us to teach them. Secondly, we want them to think more of others than themselves. Self-willed children will face many more challenges. Thirdly, we definitely want them to know how to control their temper, to not be easily upset or angry.

We also want our children to know how to handle the issue of drinking. If you think they won’t face that temptation, you are fooling yourself. You have to model that. The next trait, not pugnacious, means not a fighter. Some kids are always ready for a fight. We want to teach them how to avoid that. And finally, we want them to not be greedy. In fact, we want them to share liberally.

So, you see these elder traits are really traits for us all. How are you living up to these? These are all characteristics of someone surrendered to Christ. It requires dying to self daily. Then you too can help oversee the flock. You can keep your eye on your brother or sister to help guide and protect. Aren’t we all called to do that in the family of God?

Father, remind me to live my life in such a way that I am worthy of “overseeing” my brother and sister. I want to live like Jesus so I can help guide others in the path of righteousness.

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NOT A NICE PERSON

2 TIMOTHY 3:3

“unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good,”

Paul is describing those who are not lovers of God. These words paint a picture of a not very nice person. And (at least to me) it’s interesting that four of these six words in today’s verse are only used right here. Remember, the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write only what the Father wanted him to write. So, these words were saved for right here.

The saddest word of this verse is the first one, “unloving.” It refers to not having any kind of natural affection. Actually, it can describe family affection. So, these people don’t even love their own families. Now, that’s sad. Who doesn’t love their momma? Who doesn’t love their little sis? But these individuals only think of self, no one else.

APPLICATION

Go through this list of words in today’s verse with your little ones. Ask them how they can do the opposite. Instead of not loving their family, how can they show love? Instead of being irreconcilable and hard to get along with, how can they get along? You can go through each of these words this way. Your children will understand, if you will take the time to cover each word.

The important thing to point out is these words in today’s verse describe someone who does not love Jesus. We want to draw a sharp contrast, as Paul does, of the difference in our lives. Everything we teach our children should point them to Christ. There is no aspect of their life in which He is not concerned.

How loving are you today? How agreeable? Do you control your tongue and behaviors? Would someone call you brutal? Take a look at the descriptors used to describe you by others. If any of them resemble these, you may need to have a “come to Jesus” meeting with yourself. We want others to only see Jesus in us. Amen?

I am so guilty, O God, of putting myself ahead of others. Forgive me for being so selfish. I repent of that today.

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GENTLENESS

2 TIMOTHY 2:25

“with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,”

When I think of gentleness I think of someone who understands their strength and how to use it correctly. It is not weakness. The Greek word here, prautes, means strength with reserve. This only comes through the Lord. He sends His Holy Spirit into our lives to give us this ability to show gentleness even to those who are opposing us.

Now, wait a minute. It’s one thing to be gentle to those we love. How can you do that to people who are opposing you, who are hostile to you? Well, the beauty of it is, you don’t have to. Jesus will live through you to accomplish that gentle response. He will guard your tongue. He will… Get the picture?

APPLICATION

Okay, Mom and Dad, here’s the hard part. YOU have to live out this gentleness with your children. “But Carl, you don’t know my kid.” That’s true, but God does. There is nothing your child can say or do which can remove your authority and obvious power. But far too many parents think they have to show that power. No! Gentleness is the answer.

So, what do I mean by that. I mean when you are having to deal with an out of control child, Jesus can and will give you the gentleness you need. Soothing words rather screams. Soft touches rather than harsh grabs. I know, I know! You are still saying, “Not with my kid.” Well, don’t believe me. Believe God. His Word is true.

Are you a gentle person? Do you exude gentleness to those around you? Jesus had the power of God (He was and is God) in His fingertips. He could have destroyed His enemies with the breath of His mouth. He chose gentleness. Imitate Him. Let Jesus be your gentle spirit.

O God, thank You for giving me a gentle spirit when I need it most. Let me be a reflection of You to others.

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SERVANT QUALITIES

VERSE OF THE DAY: 2 TIMOTHY 2:24

“The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged,”

Paul spells it out pretty clear here as to what the Lord expects from His servants. They can’t be argumentative (word fighting). They should be kind. That word can also be translated as gentle. It’s used only here in the New Testament. It means to do everything according to God’s Will. Then Paul says they should be able to teach. Teach what? His Word. And he wraps up this by saying they should be patient when wronged. This word also appears only here. It means just that – you don’t retaliate when wronged.

Now, that’s a good list of qualities the Lord wants to see in us. Do we do that all the time? Of course not. We aren’t mind-numbed robots. We have good days and bad days. But we should be striving to be more and more like Jesus every day. He didn’t quarrel. He was kind to all. He was able to teach. And He was definitely patient when wronged.

APPLICATION

Which one of these qualities do you see in your child? One, two or none? Listen closely. You can’t instill these qualities. Only the Holy Spirit can. Your job is to nurture them in their walk with  the Lord. I know you have to deal with some of the opposite behaviors. When they fuss and quarrel, you have to stop that. Use this verse.

But the best way, as usual, for your child to learn these qualities is by seeing them lived out. You are the one they watch. So, are you kind and patient? “Now, wait a minute, Carl. This isn’t about me.” Are you kidding me? It’s all about you. You are the most important adult in your child’s life. Live like you want them to live.

Are you a bond-servant of the Lord? Have you chosen to serve Him? A bond-servant was marked by putting a hole in his earlobe. When you saw that you knew this person had chosen to remain with his master. He is free to go, but chooses to stay. Hmmm. Is that you? Or do you fight with God every step of the way?

Father God, I choose You. I choose a life of servitude to my gracious and holy Lord. I praise You for leading me.

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CHASE THIS!

1 TIMOTHY 6:11

“But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.”

You need to read verses 3 though 11 of this chapter in 1 Timothy to remind yourself what Paul is telling Timothy to flee. That word “flee” means to escape or to run away. In other words, run as hard as you can away from this stuff. In contrast, Paul tells Timothy to chase as hard as he can “righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.”

You see, running is okay as long as you are running from or running towards the right thing. Of course, we know if you pursue the Lord will all your heart, you will find “righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.” How? Because He is all those things.

APPLICATION

Do you want to teach your children to chase after the right stuff? Of course, you do. Why not show them what to chase yourself? If you are seeking righteousness, they will see it in you. If you are striving to be godly in your behaviors, they will imitate you. If your faith is tested and you rely on the Lord, your children will remember that.

Are you getting the picture here? These pursuits are best taught to your children by you modeling these to them. These are not things you can tell them to do and then not do yourself. In fact, words are not even necessary. Just pursue them yourself time after time. They will see it and learn. When they ask you why you are doing what you are doing, then you have the perfect opportunity to tell them.

What are you running from and towards? Make sure you are chasing after God. Only He can provide “righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.” There is no other source. Do you want to be more Christlike? Then run!

I want to be seen as righteous, godly, faithful, loving, persevering and gentle. I know all these are in You, Lord. Help me pursue them with all my strength.

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