Despite the title, this is not a story about that band from the 60’s and 70’s. Instead it’s a look inside what has developed in my understanding since Randi preached at church last Sunday on the New Testament letter to Titus, presumed by some to have been written by Paul.
Randi not only described the details of this short epistle, but “zoomed out” to highlight a principle that is exceedingly important for all of us. The principle is that we are not just to look at the “what” we are encouraged to do. We would do well to look beyond the “what” to the “why”. Why are we doing something or encouraged to do something? This brings much more depth and meaning to the situation. If we understand the “why” of our actions, the “whats” are almost incidental. Not that the “whats” are unimportant, but they are not the chief point; they are secondary.
But that’s not all. Randi then pointed out that beyond the “why” is an even greater reality. It is the “who”. In Titus, as truly everywhere in the Bible, the “who” beyond the “what” and “why” is God, the One who loves us, empowers us and trains us up in the way we should go.
For a few minutes of reflection on this during the service, Randi encouraged us to try and discern where we might be looking at the “whats” in our lives without seeing the “whys” or the “who”.
As I was contemplating this, I became aware that oftentimes I did see a “who”… but it wasn’t God. It was me. Good ol’ me, myself and I. In a moment of sweet conviction, I realized how self-referential I am. I became aware suddenly of how much I want to take control, or stay in control, of things in my life. Do I really look to God to follow Him and be transformed by Him or do I most often just want Him to bless me…….just as I am.
All of this has made me more aware of how I approach God and how I approach the reading of Scripture. Do I come to Him (or it) full of self-importance and an ego at the center of its own universe or do I come to Him humbly, with an open mind and heart, ready to receive what He, the “Greater Who”, the “Greatest Who”, would want to give me or teach me or encourage me to do?
I look forward to the day when I more automatically see God in, behind, beneath, above or around all things, including the Scriptures. I am beginning to see that God’s admonition to “die to the self” means more than just stopping or starting certain behaviors (the what), and even more than knowing the reason why it would be good to stop or start those behaviors. I believe Jesus wants us to see Him, first and foremost, in everything, as the giver of living water, the healer, the lover of our souls, the Creator of new creations, the One in whom we live and breathe and have our being.
‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’
2 Corinthians 5:17
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
About the Author
John has been an essential component to the life and development of CitySalt since 2004 and, presently, serves as an associate pastor with a focus on prayer, discipleship and spiritual direction in addition to being a regular part of the teaching team. He enjoys the outdoors, water sports, music, reading and especially spending time with his wonderful family and chocolate lab, Gunnar.