In Your Community

God is interested in how you live your life, whether that is at home, at school, at work or among your neighbors in your community. The apostle Paul had left Titus in Crete to “set in order the things that are lacking (Titus 1:5).”  The following instruction was given by Paul for how the brethren in Crete were to live in their community.  Titus 3:1-2 “Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.”  These instructions still apply to you today.

“Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey.”  Rulers and authorities could be the law enforcement authorities at all levels, the legislators and council people at all levels, the elected officials in charge from the national level to the local level, and all other officials established by the government.  To be subject to and obey these individuals means that, to the best of your ability, you follow their laws and rules, you do as they request, you pay the taxes and fees that they impose, and you do not rebel against their authority.  Romans 13:1-7 “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.  Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.  For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.  Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.  For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing.  Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.”  You submit to the governing authorities because they have been established by God.  The only exception is when they demand that you do something which is contrary to God’s will.  Acts 5:29b “We ought to obey God rather than men.”  God is a higher authority than any human authority.

“To be ready for every good work.”  As a Christian, you should be known for your good works.  Titus 3:8 “This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.”  There are many good works you can do.  Since the context of Titus 3:1-3 seems to be instruction for Christians in their community, there might be a community project that a Christian might lead or participate in. If it is a good work and needed in the community, you should be ready to provide whatever help or work is needed by your neighbors.

“To speak evil of no one.” There are many evil people in the world – people who will cheat you, steal from you, and say bad things about you.  They do many bad things.  They may be your neighbors, people in the government or even strangers.  But it is not your place to speak evil about them.  Referring to the tongue, in James 3:9-11 “With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.”  When you gossip or speak evil of someone, your words reveal what is in your heart.  Jesus said in Matthew 12:34 “Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”  If you speak evil of someone, that implies that you have evil in your heart – perhaps hatred and the desire for vengeance.  If you cannot say anything good about someone, the best advice is to say nothing at all.

“Peaceable.”  Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”  Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”  As a Christian, you should be known as a peaceable individual and never a trouble maker.

“Gentle.”  Philippians 4:5 “Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.” To be gentle is to be kind and free from harshness, sternness or violence.  When you are gentle, others desire to be around you.  “Showing all humility to all men.”  Humility or meekness is an attitude of the heart that accepts what God allows to happen in your life and does not seek to be proud or arrogant.   These qualities are also described in Colossians 3:12 “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering.”

How are you to live in your community among your neighbors and co-workers?  You are to be a good neighbor and co-worker, respected by all.  You are to be a law-abiding citizen who is ready to do every good work.  You speak evil of no one; you are peaceable, gentle and show humility to all men.