Monday, May 14, 2012

Approachable People

For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered.... Titus 1:7 (NKJV)

As Paul continued with his list of pastoral prerequisites, he wrote that a bishop mustn't be quick-tempered. A more contemporary way of putting this would be that a pastor shouldn't have a short fuse. He shouldn't be the sort of person who's prone to being angered easily but should have a high tolerance for hassles and difficulties. Something is spiritually "off" when a minister constantly loses his composure, because an angry attitude doesn't accomplish God's righteousness:

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20 (NKJV)

This doesn't mean that a pastor should never be angry. In fact, the Bible acknowledges there are certain situations where anger (without sin) is an appropriate response (Ephesians 4:26). But Paul was talking about something different here. He was referring to the kind of anger that defines a person's character. The sad effect is that people no longer feel the freedom to approach their pastor when they should. I can't ask a question like that because he'll chew me up and spit me out! I can't confess that sin because I'll get blasted. A pastor ought to address and confront sin when necessary, but he should also be approachable.

Jesus was approachable. People weren't afraid He'd "go ballistic" on them when it came to their sins. In fact, there were several occasions when people felt the freedom to interrupt Him with their problems (John 4:47; Mark 7:25; Matthew 17:14; Luke 18:38). We're also told that parents were comfortable with Jesus handling their little children (Matthew 19:13). None of this would have happened if Jesus had the reputation of being a hot-tempered man.

Let's take it one step further and ask ourselves whether we're quick tempered. But Pastor Bob, I'm not planning on being a pastor anytime soon. It doesn't matter. All of us, as Christians, are called to walk as Jesus walked (1 John 2:6).

Our Lord wasn't easily angered but instead projected a sense of approachability and accessibility, and so should we.

Think About It…

Answai T. White, B.S., M.Div.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bouts of Doubt

In hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began.... Titus 1:2 (NKJV)

It all starts with God's character. That's what Paul understood as he wrote what we would come to know as the book of Titus. In this brief, three-chapter epistle, the apostle penned a plethora of precious promises. But he knew these would just be words on a piece of parchment unless they were backed up by something more substantial than the moral fiber of man. Therefore, he directed Titus' attention to the fact that God is the One behind these promises and that He cannot lie.

Titus needed to be reminded of this truth, and so do we. The circumstances of our lives are beyond our control and constantly changing. As they do, we may be tempted to question God's character: If God is so good, why did He let that person pass away? Where was He when I needed Him most? How am I supposed to trust Him again? We ask ourselves these questions from time to time when faced with seasons of uncertainty in life.

But we can always be sure of this: God cannot lie, which means He will never go back on His Word, and we can always trust what it tells us. We can trust that the Lord will never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), He will be with us until the end of this age (Matthew 28:20), and His ways are always just and true (Revelation 15:3). God is forever faithful, and if He can be trusted to make good on a promise as important as eternal life, He can surely be trusted in matters pertaining to this life.
God's impeccable character is the basis of the book of Titus, and it's also the unshakable foundation of our lives. When we find ourselves going through a bout of doubt, we need to know what God has promised in His Word and remember that His promises must be true because He cannot lie.

It is impossible for God to lie.... Hebrews 6:18 (NKJV)
Think About It…

Answai T. White, B.S., M.Div.