SUMMER CONNECTIONS 2017: Adorning the Gospel

I own a glass-sided locket that opens to insert small “charms” or stones to represent my life or my family.  Recently, I put on my locket for a special family occasion and realized that I had only two “jewels” on my family tree—representing only one child and one grandchild!  If you know me, you know that is not the extent of my family.  I guess I (or certain children) need to add to my collection of “jewels”, i.e. (fake) birthstones, on my family tree.

Around the same time, I was reading from Titus in my devotions, and my reading led to an interesting perspective on another kind of “jewel.”  The comments on the last part of Titus 2:10 stood out.  Paul was instructing Titus to teach the Jesus-followers (slaves in this case, but it could apply to all believers in Jesus) to live their lives in such a way as to have a positive Christian testimony to those around them—their masters or anyone watching their conduct—especially in the pagan society they lived in.  We might say to live in order to make God and His gospel look good.  Various translations of the verse describe it as so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour (ESV), make the teaching about God our Saviour attractive (NIV), adding luster to the teaching of our Saviour God (MSG), and make the teaching about our Saviour God attractive in every way (NLT).  The word used for adorn, commentary tells me, is the Greek verb kosmein,which can be used to indicate a process by which a jewel is favorably displayed, or the setting of a stone.  The purpose of setting the gemstone is to display it to its best advantage, so that you notice how beautiful it is.

That is the way we are to live our lives—to adornmake attractive, or add luster to the “jewel” of the gospel of salvation, available to all the world through Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection.  We all know believers who may not represent God and His salvation to those around them in a very favorable way—by their attitude, actions, the words that they say, or how they treat others.  How many times have you cringed when reading a news article describing something that “Christians” have done or inflicted on someone else, because you know that action does not represent God’s heart or the way His people should live?  How many times have youor I said or done something that does not show the world the love and grace of our Saviour?

Paul then instructs about some basics of Christian living and conduct—to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age (2:11,12; ESV)rejecting godless living and sinful pleasures, and to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work-–not just because it is a nice way to live, but because we have received God’s grace and salvation.  But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy (3:4,5; NIV).  We are to respect authority and government, live as good citizens, be ready to do good whenever we have the opportunity, not speak evil of others or be quarrelsome, and to be courteous, gentle, and humble toward everyone.  Our good works are a response to God’s love and grace to us.

My dictionary defines “adorn” as “to add beauty or luster” to something.  Does the way I live my life “add beauty” to God’s grace?  Does it make the message of salvation shine?  Or do I tarnish it when I open my mouth or treat someone carelessly or without courtesy?  Whether the eyes watching me are those of my family, someone at church, in the community, society around me, or on Facebook, the world is watching.  Do I make the teaching of God our Saviour look attractive in every way?  Do I make Him look good?  Is He glorified, or seen as a “splendid jewel” in my life?  Something to think about as I add those birthstones to my family tree.

Prayer:  Father, thank you for the grace, mercy, and salvation that you extend to me and to the world through Jesus, my Saviour.  Please motivate and enable me to live my life in such a way that it “adorns,” or shows off, the beauty of your grace and salvation in my life.  I pray that my life shows the world your goodness and points others to Jesus.   Glorify yourself through me, I pray.  In the name of the Saviour who deserves all glory, Amen.

Listen to the ways we can glorify and show God’s goodness as you listen to Lord, Be Glorified.

 

Submitted by Sharon Anderson

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