My memory verse for the week:
"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope-the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ." -- Titus 2:11-13 (WHEW! that's a long one!!!)
NTC Day 43 - Luke 22 and Titus 1-3
You have heard the familiar old saying, "Cleanliness is next to godliness," meaning that besides worshiping God, being clean is most important. In the readings I have read in the past several months, it was very important to the Jews to be clean, and not to associate with "unclean" food and people for that matter. I think, more importantly than cleanliness, do we really understand what "godliness" means?
Our pastor talked about this yesterday and our Titus readings for today did as well. I liked how my pastor defined the word. Godliness - fully devoted to God.
He went on to say that when you are FULLY devoted to God, you begin to resemble Jesus. And...just HOW do you do that? By spending time with him!
In the Luke 22 reading for today, we learn a lot about Judas. The chief priests and Jewish leaders were looking for a way to being Jesus down. They found Judas to help them. Why, oh why, would one of his followers, who had seen all his miracles, heard all his amazing teachings and gotten to have a close relationship with Jesus, betray him like he did? There are a lot of theories about this, but in my mind, Luke 22:3 says it best: "Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve."
My study bible says that Judas had never displayed a high motive or commitment to Jesus. I guess that might have been true...I have read a lot about Peter, John, James, Matthew and the rest, and how they interacted with Christ during his ministry. But you never really hear of Judas saying or doing anything until he betrays Jesus in the end. I wonder why? Perhaps he didn't spend enough one-on-one time with Jesus in order to really get to know him and understand where he came from and what his presence meant. And, because he didn't have the level of commitment that the others had, Satan saw an opportunity, and he took it.
In that regard, could I be a little bit like Judas? What a silly question...of course not...right? Well, if godliness is full devotion to God, and we can become "like" God by spending time with him, when I choose one of my many activities over spending time in prayer and Bible study, or when I find myself gravitating to having too much to drink, or gossiping, or being wasteful, or letting curse words fly, or being dishonest...am I opening the door and giving Satan an opportunity to come into my life to cause havoc?
There have been some who have called me a "goody two shoes" at times in my life...so I really don't consider myself a "trouble maker," but almost every day I find myself in situations where I have choices to make...to do the "right" thing or to go along with the crowd. MOST of the time, I think I make wise choices...especially when I find myself having my daily quiet time with God, in prayer and Bible study. It's like my pastor said, spending time with Jesus helps you to become more like him. It's is strange, but true: the times I find myself making the WRONG choices are times when I have NOT made time for God.
Now, don't get me wrong, I don't claim that it's through my own willpower or wisdom that make wise choices...not nearly! If left to my own devices, I'm afraid of what my life would be like...I've seen too many glimpses of that...way to scary for me!
Titus 2 says that the gift of God's grace saves us from our sins, but believing in Christ and being godly - fully devoted to God - teaches us ethical behavior and leads us to do good works.
So, you see, it's not ME being godly, it's GOD showing me how to be godly. And the only way to let God show me, is to spend time with him and open my heart and mind to his leadership. I want to clean out the bad stuff and bring in the good stuff...so...I guess cleanliness IS next to godliness!
Have a GREAT week, my friends!