“… so that no one will malign the word of God.” Titus 2:5
When Paul encourages Titus, a friend and helper, he urges him to instruct the people of Crete to live in a way that honours the word of God that they profess. In the midst of the heathen culture of the day it was important that the representatives of Christ were seen to be different; following different values and living according to a different world view.
If we cast our eyes around and observe the people who call themselves representatives of Christ, today, what strikes us is that, often, too often, the world is shaping the values of the Christian and the Church. The world’s music, the world’s entertainment, even the world’s priorities (entertainment, pleasure, self importance et al.) too often form the shape of the church, rather than the opposite. Sadly we see it in some leaders of mega churches, T.V. evangelists, Christian media stars and … ourselves.
For the church to be an effective witness to, and alternative from, the world, it needs to reveal a radically alternate way of living, loving, marrying, raising families, working and doing business. In other words, what is required is a people who do not malign the word of God but live it intentionally and intently. We need to be an alternative, not more of the same. I find that Paul’s challenge to Titus resonates today. It is a word for 2011. But is anybody listening?