Live Like a Man, Live Like Men

Titus 1 

What does it mean to live for something? It means:           

  • To be committed
  • To be an advocate
  • To be intentional
  • To be actively seeking
  • To be financial involved
  • To be willing to give time

What does it mean to give your life for something? It means:

  • To be all in!
  • To surrender

Titus is a letter from Paul to Titus. We could think of it as a memo from an older man to a younger with instruction on how to live like a man and directions on how to lead like men.  It is lessons from one leader to another, one leader who is mentoring the other in how to live and lead.

In this memo Paul models what it means to live and lead as a man.  His dedication, commitment, determination, and direction for Titus show the direction of his life and what he values the most. At the same time he teaches Titus how to live as a man, the kind of character it takes to be a man of faith and service for Christ.

Such a man is a man first of all and then he becomes a leader.  First he must live like a man, then he can lead like a man—a redeemed man who makes an eternal difference in his world.

This is always God's sequence:  live and then lead.

Too many try to lead without living. They try to succeed without a core, and their leadership always collapses.  What Paul teaches Titus to do is to lay an appropriate foundation so it will hold whatever you build on it.

Time Out Questions: 

1. What kind of a foundation are you laying for your leadership?

2. Where are you trying to lead without an adequate foundation of manliness? 

3. What is happening to your leadership efforts?

4. How can you strengthen your foundation so that you can be a stronger leader?

Paul took Titus with him to the Jerusalem Council as a private test case to determine if circumcision was required for salvation, but it was determined this was not the case (Gal. 2:1-3). 

Salvation comes solely by grace through faith with no pre-conditions of any kind.

Titus is living evidence that the gospel is a matter of pure grace, that all of us come to Christ by God's grace alone. The focus of Titus' life is grace, and that's at the heart of Paul's memo to him as he teaches his protégé how to live and lead. We live and lead by grace! Stop and think about what God's saving grace means in your life.

Time Out Questions:

What other thoughts do you have about grace?

There are several key themes in Titus we'll be looking at as we work out way through the book.  All of these themes appear a number of times in this short memo.  I list them below in the order that they appear.  Read the book and see how often each of them appears.  Fill in this table below with the references you discover.  Read the memo in several versions to understand it better. 

Faith

Hope

Grace

Sensibly

Leaders/leadership

Deeds/action

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Titus became a trouble shooter for Paul in Corinth helping him in one of the most difficult moments in his ministry.  He took I Corinthians to the church in Corinth and later met Paul to give him the good news that the Corinthians had responded well to his teaching and demands presented in his letter to them .(II Cor. 2:13; 7:6, 13, 14; 8:6, 16, 23, 12:18). 

Their relationship, the fruit of grace, was very special, and Paul called Titus "my true child in a common faith."

That is a very amazing statement in the ancient world where no Jew would own a Gentile as his "true child."  Gentiles were dogs to the Jews, and they had as little to do with Gentiles as they possibly could.  The common faith was the work of grace in both of their lives that brought each of them to Christ from very different places.

This is amazing.  Paul, the Jew of Jews, and Titus, the uncircumcised Gentile, part of the same family holding the same faith as a result of the same grace.

Time Out Questions:

1. Who is in your family of common faith that you would never have a relationship with apart from grace? 

2. What is that relationship like? 

3. What does that relationship mean to you? 

4. Write a word of appreciation to this person expressing how much it means for you to be together in God's grace family.

Titus is on another trouble shooting venture for Paul.  They were traveling together when they came to the island of Crete south of Greece and a bit southwest of Turkey in the Mediterranean.  Paul saw great needs in the church that had already been established on Crete, so he left Titus there to do two things:  set in order what remains to help the church to become healthy and appoint elders.  Both of these are leadership tasks, and Paul wrote his memo to remind Titus of what these responsibilities required.

This is why Paul begins his memo the way he does.

Paul starts his directions to Titus in the same way as anyone in the ancient Greek world would begin an epistle, with the form of a standard salutation, although his content was different, of course. In fact, this is the only time Paul begins in quite this way and this beginning takes us back to our opening question:

What are you giving your life for?

Let's look at Paul's answer to this question.  As you read these words remember that all that matters in life is contained in this short sentence.

Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, in the hope of eternal life, which God who cannot lie promised long ages ago (Titus 1:1-2)

Time Out:

Before reading ahead write out the core principle that grows out of these words as you read and think about them.

Here is my core principle:

Whatever you give yourself for defines who you are and determines what you do, the way you do it and why you do it.

Look at it this way:

Who                Person                        slave                            identity

What               Purpose                       for                               reason             

Way                Passion                        apostle/leader              responsibility

Why                Persuasion                   hope                            motive

Because Paul is for the faith of the chosen (because Paul is giving everything he is and has to purify and strengthen the faith of the chosen) he is a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ living out of the absolute certain hope of eternal life. 

Time Out: 

Before reading ahead in these notes think about what it means to give yourself for something.  What is involved in giving yourself for something?  List at least three things giving yourself for something demands of you.

1.

2.

3.

Here's my answer.

To give yourself for something demands

1.  Release

You must give yourself over to whatever it is you are for.  You cannot hold back anything or you're not really for it.  You can't be for your favorite team and hold anything back, no matter how much they disappoint you.  And because you're a loyal fan, you keep coming back for more and more punishment.

So we say we are for Christ.  What does it look like to release ourselves to Christ in shoe leather?

2.  Control

To release yourself to something because you're for it means you give up all control of life and time in pursuing the thing you are for.

Think of your career.  You're certainly for your career.  And you're certainly giving yourself over to the control of your career.

So we say we are for Christ.  What does it look like to give all control over to Christ in our career?

3.  Price

Whatever you are for demands a price from you—a very high price.  Just think of what NFL and NBA team owners make on an average game. This means you are paying a price for whatever you release yourself to, for whatever controls you.

So we say we are for Christ.  What price are you paying to be for Him?

And if you discover through this time that you're not for Christ, what are you for?  And what is your ROI on the investment of your life for something other than Christ? 

To continue with Part II of this article, click here.

Bill Lawrence is the President of Leader Formation International (LFI) as well as Senior Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Ministries and Adjunct Professor of DMin Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. 
Bill began LFI in 2002 to minister to leaders around the world who are impacting the nations for Christ. Having watched God form his own life as a leader-mentor over thirty-seven years in ministry (including twelve years as a founding pastor, twelve years as the Executive Director of the Center for Christian Leadership, and over twenty-three years as a seminary faculty member), Bill helps other leaders recognize the reality that their success as a leader depends upon God's formative work in their heart. Bill has been privileged to personally serve leaders in Asia, Central Asia, Europe, Latin America, and Africa. He has also produced a six-part video/workbook series,
 Forming Davids for the 21st Century, which is a perfect resource to help groups of individual leaders engage with each other in the leader formation journey.

Publication date: June 4, 2010