Caffeine, nicotine, pain medications, pornography, gambling, risky sex, overeating, alcohol, shopping, video games, Internet surfing, drugs (both legal and illegal), exercise, sports, co-dependent relationships, etc. claim power over many. Why? Because of the sense and extent of pleasure involved. Some addictions are soft (seemingly harmless): caffeine, video gaming, retail therapy, sports, etc. while others are hard (cause heartache and pain to self and to others): abuse of power, gambling, alcohol, drugs, pornography, etc.
We need food, sex, relationships, and relaxation in order to live. Sin however, has perverted or twisted these so that we not only need them but we are ruled by them.
Freedom from addictive behaviors should characterize believers and make us seem really strange to those around us.
Reading Titus should cause true Christians to engage in serious self-examination: do any of these behaviors control my life? Have I compromised by accepting these sinful behaviors as normative and by saying, "I will always be this way"? Am I held captive by anything other than the grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior?
Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
- What is the main difference between qualified and unqualified elder candidates?
- What three reasons does Paul give for the reverent behavior of believers?
- How does Paul describe the believer's former behavior and what does that have to do with how they respond to those around them?
- Why does Paul remind the believers of how they acted before they experienced the new birth?
- What are the symptoms and the root causes of divisive behavior?
- What is it about believers that make them "strangers in the world"?
- How does God use the various trials believers go through?
- What truths does Peter offer that should move believers toward living more disciplined lives as they embrace their position as strangers in this world?
- Make a list of the social or interpersonal sins that inhibit spiritual growth. Which of these sins seem the most difficult to eradicate from your life?
- How are believers to live among pagans and what will help the believer live that way?
Turning truth into prayer
Ask the Lord to show you areas in your life in which you are in bondage. Ask Him to begin the process of emancipation in your life.