Titus 2 talks about desirable character traits in older men, older women, younger women, and younger men. Each group has certain unique responsibilities corresponding to their various life stages, and each is commanded to own certain qualities in those life stages:
- self-control (this is mentioned for all four groups!)
- soundness in faith, love, and steadfastness
- reverence in behavior and speech
- hard work
The passage ends with an injunction for servants to obey their masters, which may seem irrelevant to us at first. But as Christians, we are disciples and servants of Christ! So it does apply to us, after all. And as servants, we are to have some additional qualities:
- submissive and well-pleasing to the Master (Christ)
- trustworthy and faithful
- not argumentative
- kind and good
But why are we to behave this way? Why does it matter if we squander time, get into arguments, allow wine (or anything else) to control us, or speak disrespectfully of others? Why should we be hard workers, loving and respectful, pure and steadfast?
Paul gives this reason → “…so that in everything we may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.”
We are to do good works, have good character, so we can literally decorate or garnish the Word of God by our testimonies.
Yes, God’s Word is complete as we have it. No, we are not to add or subtract anything to it. But… we can decorate it by how we live. We can make God’s Word look more appealing to our community if they know we act with kindness, speak with respect, work hard, and practice self-control. Or on the flip side, we can make it look ugly to those around us by arguing and disrespecting others, being unkind, lying or stealing, being lazy and undisciplined.
Think of it like getting dressed…
Let’s pretend you go to the office every day. You get up in the morning and put on dress pants, crisp button-down shirt, and maybe a blazer. Add shoes and a belt, and your basic outfit is complete. But you probably want to add some flair to personalize the outfit, right?
Ladies, you might add a statement necklace or colorful scarf, dangly earrings, a sparkly watch, and a favorite ring. And of course, a coordinating bag or briefcase. Guys, you might wear a crazy tie, switch the boring navy jacket for a tweed or corduroy jacket, and add a classy ring or fancy watch.
The basic outfit doesn’t change, but the way you present it does. And we do the same thing with God’s Word, by how we act and speak to those around us.
We can’t change the gospel — the hard truths of His instruction or the sweetness of His promises — but we can garnish it with our actions.
It’s kind of like that old saying, actions speak louder than words. We can preach the gospel till our lips turn blue, but it’s our actions that show the world its truth. Our actions prove to our neighbors that we believe every word of the Bible. Our actions show our families that God is to be obeyed, no matter what. Our actions show our communities that God is trustworthy and faithful in all His promises.
We are the garnish that showcases the Word of God. When our lives are filled with rotten ugliness, our garnish will be sickening and disgusting. But when our lives are filled with pleasant wholesomeness, our garnish will be beautiful and appealing.
What are some other ways we can adorn the Word of God?
What specific actions, or lifestyles, will accessorize God’s words with beauty?
What will make His Word look ugly or unappealing to those around us?