There’s a tiny book of the Bible that packs a serious punch: Titus. Paul wrote this letter while he was doing work on the mission field, and he wanted to help the church navigate temptation and live as true followers of Christ.
There are only three chapters in this book, and in the final one, Paul starts with a strong statement: “Be ready to do whatever is good.” This command is nestled in between reminders to submit to authority and to not slander, placed right in the middle of instructions on how to live as a Christian in a society that tends to operate very differently. It’s a striking statement, yet one that might be easily glossed over.
David Mathis recently wrote an article for Desiring God called “Enjoying God Fuels Doing Good” and he said this short and simple verse made his heart swell.
He writes that “doing good to others isn’t icing on the cake of Christianity. It’s an essential ingredient.” He goes on to add that “genuinely doing others good doesn’t happen by human strength alone. Mere willpower will never be the answer.”
So, what does it look like to be ready to do whatever is good? How we can we be instruments of God’s love and peace and kindness to those around us in the chaotic world we live in?
Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind:
1. Strive for humility. >Titus 3:1-2 can be best summed up by one word: humility. While the words “submission” and “obedience” and “courtesy” might seem stuffy and antiquated, they in fact demonstrate to us a humble and surrendered posture that is incredibly Christlike. “How we orient on the world around us has a part to play in our readiness to do others good,” Mathis writes.
2. “Renounce sinful passions.” Mathis says that “Titus 2 makes plain that we will not be ready to do others good if we do not renounce sinful passions. Personal holiness matters in the pursuit of love.” We must fight against our own sinful tendencies as we also work to love others well—the best overflow comes from hearts that are turning away from sin and toward Christ’s love and mercy.
3. Let the Spirit lead. Often, our schedules are jam packed and our minds are distracted by our to-do lists, but we need to leave room for the Spirit to move and work in our lives. “That may include leaving enough margin in your schedule to be able to meet unexpected needs, or carrying paper money to give on the spot to someone in need, or setting aside funds for personal ministry in your monthly budget,” suggests Mathis.
4. “Delight yourself in God.” In the first chapter of Titus, Paul warns against being the kind of people whose mouths profess knowledge of God yet whose actions deny him. “Going deep with God is vital in being ready to do others good,” Mathis writes. Spend ample time in Scripture, soaking up his truth and studying his promises—the Word will equip you to do the work.
5. Remember our own salvation came through Christ. As we seek to serve and love others, it can be tempting to put ourselves on a pedestal or think too highly of ourselves. We must remember, though, that “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” like we read in Titus 3:3. Yikes. “We know what it’s like to be unbelieving and stuck in our unbelief, apart from God,” Mathis says. “We did not save ourselves.” Remembering that Jesus alone saved us through his death and resurrection reminds us that he alone is Savior of our lives and the lives of others.
6. Know and enjoy God. “When we truly go deep with God,” Mathis writes, “we become the kind of people who are ready to give ourselves to good works.” Start with spending time with God in his Word and through prayer, and let your actions and service flow from there. The Lord will fuel your good works. Abide in him, the true Vine, and see the fruit come from that intimate and rich relationship.
Being ready to do good will take effort, heart, intentionality, and true commitment, but it’s a beautiful, essential part of the Christian life. Others will see Christ in us as we seek God first and then step out in love and service for our neighbors, our community, and our world. Let us be the hands and feet of Jesus today, doing all good works to the glory of God alone.
Photo credit: Unsplash
Publication date: October 6, 2017
Rachel Dawson is the design editor for Crosswalk.com.