“It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,”(Titus 2:12 NIV).
One of the most difficult things I try to get across to students is to never start a sentence with “it” unless they can explain what the antecedent is. The antecedent (the noun for which the pronoun is replacing) in this passage of scripture is found in the verse eleven–the Grace of God. The same grace that opens the door to salvation, the same grace that provides us with opportunity to do what is right at all times, the same grace–the favor we receive from God when we could not earn it–teaches us to say, “no” to ungodliness-when we have a teachable spirit!
I have often heard people (men and women) say, they would live right if the temptations were not in the picture. Some have tried to excuse their behavior by saying, “I’m a preacher, but I’m a man first” (D. Haddon from “Preachers of LA”) as if this gives them permission to sin. I can only conclude that he forgot that Jesus–the man–was tempted just as he was and did not give into it or make excuses. I’m not judging; I’m simply emphasizing what has been made public. No one is perfect but The Lord, certainly not I, but I don’t make excuses for giving into temptation when I fail to do all things well. I repent and thank God for His mercy, giving me another chance to get things right. That is what our attitude should be when we “fall from grace.” We should repent and keep seek God’s mercy, thanking Him for forgiveness, not bragging about what we do because of our “gender.”
If grace teaches us to say no, when we fall from grace–are we listening or do we not have enough of the Word hidden in our hearts so we won’t sin against God? Or do we simply make a mockery of grace when we boast about openly living a sinful life?
I am convinced that when we allow The Word to dwell in us richly, that when we “think” we want to do something that does not demonstrate godly behavior, we are convicted in our spirits “before” we “do anything.” Now, in order for us to hear our spirits speaking, we must make sure that we have teachable spirits. Perhaps then, the reasons for falls from grace could be that many do not have teachable spirits.
Father, in the name of Jesus, speak to our hearts and soften them to hear You. Help us to set flesh aside and allow our spirits–so entangled with Holy Spirit–we hear and obey–Holy Spirit and not flesh.