Slow Down And Study
When Mike and I bought our first place I decided to paint some rooms. Shortly after I started, Mike suggested that I not paint anymore because I "would bugger it up." (This is British for making mistakes) Now, this was music to my ears! I dislike painting because I am ready to get finished as soon as I start and I do not take my time. Mike, on the other hand, is a perfectionist with things like that. He takes his time to do it right. Unfortunately, I am also like this in other areas of my life.
Lately, I have thought about slowing down the beginning of my prayers. I always start my prayers with, "Father God, I love you and adore you." After a few years I felt like it was just being said with no thought. So now I am following that greeting with, "and now I am going to take a few moments to let that soak in." And then I just think about Who I am talking to and just how much I love and adore Him. I think this was brought to my mind because I have always admired when people could preach a sermon on one sentence of scripture. I am talking about a sentence that I skip over because it does not seem to say to much to me.
In Sunday school we study verse by verse in the Bible so it takes us a while to get through a book but I have learned so much! Study is so important!! And study with other Christians is so important! Today we were starting the book of Titus and began with the first three sentences which were part of the greeting. How important could the greeting be? Titus 1: 1-3, "Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness— in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior."
In verse one I learned that Paul was writing to Titus. Paul considered himself a servant (slave in some translations) of God. That means God is his Master and he is obedient whether he wants to or not. He was also an apostle (one sent on a mission) of Jesus. He was going to further the faith of God's chosen. The chosen are God's church - Christians. He was going to help them grow in their faith. He was also going to help them grow in their knowledge of the truth. The truth is God's word. If they grow in their faith and in the truth they will be led to godliness. In verse two, they have the hope of eternity with God. This hope is the confidence that they will live all eternity with God. We know this is true because God promised and He does not lie. God's promises are always fulfilled. He promised us eternal life before the beginning of time. Verse three talks about his "appointed season" which is God's perfect time. We all go through season when God is ready to change something in us. Some seasons are more difficult than others but God wants us to trust Him through each season. God is able to teach us through different seasons. During that time God brought the hope of eternal life through Paul's preaching. Paul's preaching was what God commanded him to do.
Normally, I would run through the greeting but this helped set me up for the rest of the story. There was a lot to think about in the first three sentences. God expects all of His people to be disciples. Mark 16: 15, "He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." In order for us to be enriching God's Kingdom, other's need to be able to look at us and see Jesus. We can not look like Jesus to other's if we do not know the truth. The truth is God's Word. "Nobody ever outgrows Scripture; the book widens and deepens with our years." Slow down and study.