I knew a guy… (I’ll leave him nameless to protect his reputation)… A real “skunk” of a person (“stinker” sounds too mild for his behavior)… Hyper assertive, conniving, sensual, dishonest, self-occupied (and I could go on)… You know someone like this too?
And then he met Jesus – heard the gospel, believed it, and turned his life over to the Lord! He immediately changed (especially his attitudes – he desired to change! He wanted to please God!). He had some challenges – he gave into some temptations – He stumbled and fell a few times; but he hung with God’s people, wanted to live for God, and persisted with patience… never gave up or gave in!
And today? His life is a great testimony of what God’s love, grace and power can do! Not the “self-made man by any means – but on the other hand a “case study” in what God’s power and presence can do in a life “sold out” to the Lord and committed to following Jesus!
Thought about my friend as I read Apostle Paul’s words to Pastor Titus today… In fact, I jotted these words in the margin of my journaling Bible… “OH, THE TRANSFORMED LIFE! NOT SELF-TRANSFORMED – BUT ENGAGED! THE TRANSFORMATION – NOT EARNED, BUT THE OUTWORKING OF GOD’S GRACE IN A WILLING LIFE!”
Oh… and the passage that prompted that reflection?
“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people…” (The picture of a life changed by God’s grace!)
Then a description of what these believers once were… “For we ourselves were once foolish disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.”
But then a life-changing encounter with Christ… “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not by works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life…”
And then an exhortation to personal, daily engagement – depending on God’s grace… “The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things: Those who have believed in God should be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for God’s people!” (Scripture taken from Titus 3:1-8)
Sure am glad that my friend found Jesus and followed Him! Sure and glad I did too!