God's Grace and Self-Control

Titus 2:11-14  "For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.  It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly livesin this present age,  while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good."

Paul's epistle to Titus is interesting. A repeating theme and word throughout the epistle is self-control, and the importance of living a self-controlled life.  Paul even credits the grace (Titus 2:12-14) of God, something we all need a little more of, for giving us the ability to say yes to self-control. Self-control is a life lived fully reliant on the Holy Spirit and resting in God's grace day after day.

 I know, we don't like to talk about self-control because it is counter-culture - we are a free and enlightened people, especially in America - so we think.....

The 17th Century philosopher Rene Decartes coined the phrase "I think therefore I am." From this idea, society's began to search within themselves for sacredness, and we stopped searching outside of ourselves for the sacred.  As one writer, Cal Newport said, "From Decartes' skepticism came the radical belief that the individual seeking certainty trumped a God or king bestowing truth." While the following Enlightenment period of history freed many from oppression it also made many in the West more shallow because they sought sacredness within, instead of looking to God without. 

Our search for God doesn't come from our own being - and to use a Decartes word, God is not innate - but the search for Him is. So, in our self control, let us search outside of our own goodness for God. 

This is encouraging: immediately when we begin to search for God, He makes himself known to us. No matter where you are at this moment in life - hear the whisper of the Holy Spirit as He leads you. Perhaps you will battle within yourself, and that's okay. The Apostle Paul did too in Romans 7, and even lamented, "when I want to do good, I can't," and then he asked, "who can deliver my from this body of death?"

Here is how we accept self-control empowered by the Holy Spirit: we realize that self-control is only possible through God's Grace.

1. The Grace of God offers salvation to all. This means God's grace is available to you and me today, in this moment right now. God's grace is sufficient and able. The Grace of God is the goodness and favor of God that leads me to salvation. Depend on His Grace to keep you today.

2. The Grace of God helps us say "no" to what we need to say no to, and "yes" to what we need to say yes. Say no to ungodliness and worldly passions - or, say no to addiction, to sin, to jealousy, to anything that separates me from God and isolates me from relationships. Say yes to self control, to upright and godly living.  This wonderful grace of God helps me say yes to the things I need to say yes to, and it is found in self-control.

3. The Grace of God helps us keep our eyes on Jesus.  It is God's grace that empowers me to keep my eyes on Jesus. I cannot do anything without Him and His Grace. This Grace of God empowers me to live with the expectation of Jesus Christ - and that's what I will do.

In conclusion - fully rely on God's grace today.  There is nothing you are facing in this moment that the Grace of God cannot give you strength to overcome. The Grace of God is available to all, it empowers all, and it expects goodness from all.  

2 Corinthians 13:14 "May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all."

Much Love, In God's Grace, 

Pastor Brandon