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Tuesday, 10 November 2015

The devoted and disciplined servant (Titus 1:7-9)

'Since an overseer is entrusted with God's work, he must be blameless--not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.
Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.
He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.' - Titus 1:7-9

Any fans of science fiction reading this blog will notice an obvious and serious problem with the picture above...
If you haven't spotted it then, it is the mixture of Spock from Star Trek and a Jedi from Star wars... For some of us a very serious mistake indeed...
The two do go together though and just to very briefly explain who they are Spock is a scientist and a believer in repressing emotions in favour of pure reason, logic and discipline; whereas the Jedi are focused on similar values but make themselves guardians of justice using powers they gain and develop through their training and discipline to fight against evil and injustice... So enough for the geekiness and science fiction lesson... How does this effect our own lives?

The verse from Titus calls us to be disciplined and focused, 'not quick tempered' etc
And this is important... I'm certainly not advocating complete emotional repression; this is not good or healthy, and besides the gospel accounts are littered with examples of Jesus' human emotions... He laughs, weeps, gets angry etc. We cannot shut ourselves down or lock ourselves away but we must be able to control and discipline ourselves and our emotions... We must be diligent and focused in prayer and study, so we can ground ourselves in the Spirit and in the Word, then be ready to take all that we are and all that we know out into the world.
This is what we believe Christ did, and what we should also do.

For those with busy lives and jobs particularly for anyone introverted like me, the end of the working week or just any free time I unexpectedly have can be a release and a time to relax and recharge... I guard my free time perhaps a little too selfishly; time to myself is how I relax and recharge, and this is important... But it's even more important to recognise when my time and service are required by someone, or when an opportunity presents itself to be what someone needs right at that moment... Because it might not come again, a simple request to 'hang out' with a friend might sometimes seem an inconvenience to us, but actually it may be that particular persons way of asking for help, or they may feel lonely and just need someone to be with them; ultimately God has given us the free will to choose what we do with our time and energy but also the responsibility to answer for someone we haven't helped... Remember: whatever we don't do for others; we don't do for God...
Christ often went out alone to recharge and reflect and of course to pray; but he never made that an excuse not to serve and help others, even after the death of John the baptist, His cousin and contemporary:

'Prompted by her mother, she said, "Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist."
The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted
and had John beheaded in the prison.
His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother.
John's disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus.
When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns.
When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.' - Matthew 14:8-14

So the challenge to finish on is to do our best to be focused and disciplined, calm and diligent, but to also remember that in order to serve well we must not completely forget our emotions and passions, because without them we won't be truly human and be able to truly empathise with others... That is why Christ's emotions; His Love, His joy, and His compassion...are what make Him truly human and truly God.