Titus: Day 5

A peculiar people

by

Today's Text: Titus 2:6-10

Text: Titus 2:6-10

“…so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.”
Titus 2:10b

This passage makes me feel so grouchy. The NKJV puts it like this: “Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works…” (v. 6-7).

Be “sober-minded”? Really? Set a “pattern of good works”? Oh man.

I don’t know about you, but those phrases take all the helium out of my balloons. They take all the confetti out of my horns, all the toots out of my noisemakers. I like the idea of other people being sensible and sober-minded, but not necessarily me. I prefer to think that I’m creatively-minded and joyfully inclined.

I feel great about the first part of this passage, about how the young men should be sober-minded. I totally agree with that. Those hooligans! The young men should get it together! And stop wearing such tight pants. And stop growing frivolous facial hair.

But Paul isn’t just talking to the young men. He addresses all of us. He tells us to set a pattern of good works, and “in everything… adorn the doctrine of God our Savior” (v. 10). He means I should decorate the gospel with my life! Do you think of yourself as an adornment to the gospel, as something that makes the gospel beautiful to the world?

Whoa. I think my pastor is an adornment to the gospel, but I feel like a goiter on the side of the gospel. Like, the gospel is this beautiful picture of redemption and truth, and I’m there hanging on to the side of it with a crooked grin and weird hairs sticking out. I’m there, I’m lovin’ it, but I’m not necessarily making the gospel MORE beautiful. You know?

Paul is reminding us to apply the gospel to every part of life. Christ has called us to make His gospel even more beautiful to the world by being reverent, discreet and, yes, sober-minded.

The gospel makes us a peculiar people. If we call ourselves Christians we are followers of Christ, and that means we are serious about spiritual things. We are different from the world. We are called to live in a peculiar way.

And peculiar can be beautiful and free.

5

  • Hannah Byler

    Wow! Such a great reminder!

  • Hey Sondra!!
    Right now they do not have a He Reads Truth app…so my husband just reads the devotionals here & subs any female references to male!! If I find another app I’ll post back here, as I’ve been looking too ☺️

  • I don’t know if anyone will see this, but I’m not sure where else to ask. This app has helped me stay on my bible reading and journaling journey, and I’m wondering if you have any good suggestions of a study for my husband? Just wondering. Thank you!

    • Shelle

      I’m not sure if you’ll see this now or if you know this already, but there is a He Reads Truth App now. My husband loves it!

  • Ebony Lumumba

    This is such a convicting yet encouraging study…I love it! I love that Paul calls us out to remind us that God has called us out of the world and set us apart for His glory. What an honor and a privilege that God entrusts us to be His examples. It’s a tall order, but I’m encouraged and excited to work deliberately to be a glittery ornament of the gospel!

  • My lifestyle should always reflect Christ, the gospel message, God. But does it? Do I make the gospel more appealing to unbelievers? Or less appealing? Here’s how I think of it: say someone has this great outfit out; they’re looking really good…except for that hat! They have this awful, weird (probably plaid) hat on their head. That hat turns you away from the rest of that outfit. It ruins it. It’s the same way with the gospel…there are people (like our pastors) that make the gospel appealing. Then there’s the rest of us. We are that hat. We don’t seem to line up. Maybe we need to make some lifestyle changes so that in everything we are a beautiful reflection of Christ.

  • Beth Starkey

    Wow!!! Needed this. In so many different ways! Adornment of the doctrine of God our Savior. Father please teach me!

  • Alexandria Thornton

    I didn’t really like the part about slavery. Made me uncomfortable. Thoughts?

    • Slavery tends to make people uncomfortable. I don’t know that anyone ever “likes” a passage about slaves. But it’s important to live like the gospel to the least of these. To bring up the least to join us in our love for Christ.

      But it’s also important to work to end modern day slavery. Very important. Very uncomfortable to talk about.

    • Slavery in the bible was different than the kind of slavery we think of today. But still, not a comfortable thing to think about. Whenever I read Paul’s instructions to slaves I try to think of how it might apply to me as being someone’s employee.

  • I laughed out loud at the “tight pants & frivolous facial hair” – I totally agree!
    I also love that Peculiar can be Beautiful!!!

  • ladycamperson

    Truly enjoyed this, this morning! Thank you, SRT, for the encouragement to decorate the gospel with my life and to make it beautiful to others.

  • I actually wasn’t so impressed with today’s interpretation. I don’t see how “looking the part” has anything to do with this passage. I thought the context stressed on attitude and not becoming easily angered, instead, the hostess talked about being clean shaven and modestly dressed. It is so important for us to become sober-minded, especially when in the heat of a disagreement or power struggle. That is where our Christ-like attitude should shine through and look different from the world.

    • Nicole McFarland

      Hi Kate,
      I’m just a fellow reader but I saw your post and I understand what you’re saying. I have a real life example that might tie the two interpretations together. I have young children and I’m a believer in spankings as a primary form of discipline. (We’re in the “trying threes,” Lord help me.) I have a lot of Christian and non-Christian friends that don’t believe in spanking. As a Christian I’m called to discipline my child out of love, not anger. This verse talks about integrity and self-control. That is the Biblical way to discipline. If I do it wrong and discipline my child out of anger, with no self-control or patience, my actions will certainly make the gospel less attractive (I would be the goiter) to any of my non-Christian friends that might see that interaction. By not becoming easily angered and being sober-minded, that is how we make the gospel more attractive to those looking in from the outside. I hope that makes sense to anyone that might read this. Isn’t it cool how we can discuss the studies with other women around the world?? Blessings!
      Nicole

    • Kylee

      Agreed- it’s more in word & deed for me than in dress & appearance! How we conduct ourselves on the regular in ordinary circumstances is everything to how we are perceived as Christians in the world! Let my hubby grow his beard while he witnesses to a friend, so be it ❤️

  • An adornment not a goiter! Good simple picture reminder

  • Montana Moxie

    Totally fun post today! What a creative writer. :) This SRT study is the last thing I do before heading out the door for work. I feel equipped for today & ready to display the beauty of the gospel! Thank you.

  • thesisnannahbeth

    So I'm a little behind, and frantically trying to catch up on here, but I really needed this today! I have never really noticed the last part of verse 10, and I am so excited to have something to ponder today!!! XX

  • This study is blowing my mind, seriously loving being a part of this community…I have felt peculiar many times in my life which isn't always easy but this affirmation was just what I needed today.

  • Elizabeth

    "I'm there hanging on the side with a crooked grin and weird hairs sticking out.." This made me laugh out loud truly. I feel you, sister. It depends on the day, yes? I love this though. An adornment to the gospel. That's one that will stick with me to ruminate over. Thank you for being so real and starting my day with a good chuckle. It is good.

  • Being a peculiar people…no wonder we get so many criticisms…we stick out….we are different. Oh, that others could be peculiar too.

  • Sadly, I am struggling with Titus. I don't feel the same connection I had with Nehemiah, somehow it just doesn't resonate in my soul. Everything seems right on paper, I understand it in theory, but the real connection is missing, the aha moment is not there. Maybe it is because I am not in the spread the good news stage. I am new to this. I am still closeted if, you will. I feel like I am in the stage where I am finding out the rules of the game before going into the field and play. I know it is pretty early on into the study, but I feel like Titus is urging me to go out there and be the missionary. Adornment to the Gospel – that means that the Gospel is part of you, you are part of it. I seriously feel like I am on the outside looking at this pretty thing in the storefront. Ha! I guess I am not that far from connecting with this devotional after all.

    I am starting to feel myself cowardly. Sticking to the Word when it is easy to do so and when it comes to actually put it into practice I hide into the corner. I think I see now what is happening here. God is gently pushing me towards action. As in, you got some info, it is time to act. He is urging me to go out of my comfort zone. Can it be why I feel so uncomfortable with it? I seriously could use a spiritual mother right now, this is all so confusing.

    I am sorry for using this as my personal diary. It was meant to be only a sharing of my confusion and came out as this realization of my weakness. I thank the Lord for this sudden clarity and pray he gives me courage to go on and be more like Titus. I may not be as knowledgeable in order to guide someone spiritually, but I pray God will reveal the purpose he has for me and the way I can act. God bless you all sisters and thank you for all your insightful comments that make this study so much clearer!

    • Claire

      Mukasha- I have been doing srt bible studies for well over a year. I find some I engage with straight away and some I have to work at. I don’t even necessarily think its about the words written. Sometimes it depends on where my heart is and how open I am to let the words and passage change my heart. This week I have been very busy and whilst I normally wake very early to read and set aside time for God I have found myself dozing whilst reading. This morning (sat) I have read back through the passages and reflections and found so much truth.

      Don’t give up, don’t stop. Keep praying and allow Gods spirit to intercede for you

      • Mukasha

        Dear Claire, thank you for your encouragement! I have spent extra time these past days to read through all the comments and study the devotionals, powering through them, digging into them. It has helped tremendously! I am still not as clear on some concepts but I do not feel that disconnected anymore. I am so grateful for having this community who offer support and encouragement when one most needs it. God bless you sister!

    • Kylee

      Hey Mukasha, would love to hear how you’re feeling a year later! Your words resonated with me. I’m praying for your continued strength & courage in your walk right where you’re at today.

  • PS, I went through this devo in my bible and noticed many things outside of what this wonderful devo talked about.

    1. We need to be self-controlled, as it says in my NIV bible (v. 6). In other translations, this phrase is to be "sober-minded" and "to live wisely" (NKJV, NLT). There's a lot about being self-controlled in Titus, and I sort of knew what it meant, but now I understand it more fully. To live wisely is to be self-controlled, and to be self-controlled is to live wisely. I never saw it like this! I have trouble with self-control in many areas, so it convicted me of not living wisely, but it also encouraged me because I have seen an increase in my self-control, which shows me that the Lord is answering my prayers for wisdom and discernment. Hallelujah! Praise Him. :)

    2. We are to show integrity, seriousness, and soundness in our teaching (v. 7-8).
    –Integrity is strict personal honesty, being "whole and undivided" as the dictionary says; in this case, it is to be strictly honest, whole and undivided for the Lord. His Word is undivided and whole, honest; I should be, as a follower of Christ and reader of it.
    –The Word of God is serious. Do I take it as seriously as I ought to? Do I honor and obey it as my ultimate authority, treating it according to it's Holiness? The bible is the Living Word of God. When He spoke on the mountain to Moses, it was serious; that's how serious I should be about reading it daily and applying it to all areas of my life.
    –The Word of God is "incorruptible" (NKJV). What it says, is. What it warns against should be avoided with great seriousness. What it encourages should be sought with fervor. It is not corruptible; I am. Our lives and beliefs need to reflect this fact in all things. As my old pastor once said, "We think we flip through the bible, but really, the bible flips through us." I pray it'd continually change me as I seek it, God's Word, with fervor and reverence.

    3. We are to try to please our bosses for the sake of the gospel (v. 9). I stumble with people-pleasing, but this is an instance where it is not negative, purely because it's done not for men, but for the Lord. Discerning how to act in a way that pleases men so that it glorifies GOD and not myself is hard, and I pray that He'd give me further discernment about it. May all glory TRULY be given to Him! We are also not to speak back. This, in a bigger way, reflects the wisdom of being slow to anger and slow to speak (James 1:19). Lord, shut my mouth until YOU have something to say, not I!

    4. We are to adorn the gospel in EVERY way. The passage talked about both refraining from and doing certain things, which tells me this: that in everything I do and in everything I don't do, the Lord and His gospel message should be glorified. Asking the question "Does this glorify the gospel" when I am both doing and not doing is really important to ask! Lord, help me more!

    I hope this blesses you guys. Sorry for the novel. Good night, dear sisters. Love you. :)

  • "Do you think of yourself as an adornment to the gospel, as something that makes the gospel beautiful to the world?…the gospel is this beautiful picture of redemption and truth (and I’m there hanging on to the side of it with a crooked grin and weird hairs sticking out)." What makes us that goiter? (when I googled what a goiter was, I definitely chuckled out of being disturbed. GROSS, but so sadly true sometimes… sigh.) From these two sentences of yours, I am convicted on where I've destroyed the beauty of the gospel many times. If the gospel is a story of brokenness, redemption, and honest salvation, hiding my own weaknesses, failures and humanness when showing others the glory of God in my life takes away that "broken-struggling-sinful-relying on Christ alone" part and replaces it with an illusion of "being pretty-okay-to-begin-with"… does that makes sense? It makes Jesus look docile, less mighty to save, less crazy amazingly beautiful. I'm not infallible, and making myself look that way by hiding or glossing over the truth of who I've been/am doesn't make the gospel look more beautiful– it just makes it look more fake. It's like putting too much make-up on in all the wrong ways; it hides a person's beauty instead of letting their natural beauty (even zits and all) shine through.

    I've been putting on a self-righteous face for a long time… I sometimes don't try to, sometimes I do, but I don't want this reverence for Christ and discreetness to look fake or gross. I wasn't always this way. I need to be more honest with God, with myself, and with others concerning myself. I've changed a lot, but I still struggle with the past, with worldly influences, with having discernment and wisdom in matters that are sometimes pretty common sense. I'm not saying I want to share struggles in a way that is whiny and hopeless; in fact, I want it to be just the opposite. I need to boast more in my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me, as the apostle Paul once said (2 Cor 12:9).

    I need to be more honest. More real. And in that raw, deep honesty, I need to shout the name of Christ and His ability to SAVE, HEAL and REDEEM in the midst of all of it, no matter how ugly or hard it gets. "…but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more." Romans 5:20. Lord, let that be the anthem of my life.
    I love you, sisters. Thank you for your honesty and sincere love for me. Be blessed.

  • Rebecca Jo

    I teach youth so this part of the reading, Vs 7-8 hits me harder… teach with integrity, seriousness & soundness of speech that cannot be condemned. Lots of people want to come against what you say – especially if its something they don't like to hear… but if its Biblical – then its sound. I love that.

  • Jennifer B

    Yes! I definitely feel like a goiter these days! What a challenge to pray that God point out any sin in my heart that is preventing me from being an adornment to the gospel.

  • EmeliLove

    Good morning Beautiful Ladies!!
    I have recently realized how I was walking down the wrong path, willingly, and realized no matter how much I think I can or try I CAN NOT do it alone. I need God, there's no way around it. Period. We all do, and I don't know if theres people out there like me I continued to tell Him I don't need you. I've come to realize how blind I was walking and how much I continually hurt our Father God, I was denying him "But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven." (OH MAN! What was I thinking?!)

    But I now know I need him the way we need air and food to survive in our earthly bodies. "We are peculiar people" That statement really stuck to me because we are, not only because we are to be the light of the world and let Him be known and shown through us, but because we all have a past and by coming to God we all share the same future, redemption and salvation! That's such amazing stuff guys! Oh man that gets my spirit dancing!
    And with that well we need to apply our life to the gospel not the gospel to our lives. Its important because we aren't meant to apply God to our lives…. we are meant to give our lives to God!

    Have a blessed and beautiful day girlies, my you seek and find the glory and peace of God and for it to be contagious unto those around you! I look forward to taking me walk with you lovelies on the side, we are here to fellowship and see that we are not alone in being the light!

  • Gema Muniz

    Good morning ladies, many of you have commented on slavery and the fact that we need to be peculiar in our ways. I must say that I agree with everything that has been mentioned, and through reading the comments God revealed to me a broader message. In this verse we are called to be different from the world, peculiar even. We are sent to live in such a way that we will stand out from the rest of the crowd. We are also sent to submit to the power of our authorities and we are sent to do it since a young age.

    If we analyze our lives we have always had authorities which we needed to submit to, for kids is their parents, for the youth is their teachers, as adults is our employer. This verse is simply stating that we need to be an example of the gospel everywhere we go and in everything we do. By living a life through the gospel we are adorning the gospel by bringing it to life. The bible turns from a written book into a walking and living book, in which you can read the pages through us. How great it would be if people could read the pages of the bible through our lives.

    Sisters we are sent to be an example in order to adorn the gospel. Let’s be that accessory to the bible that adds something to the gospel. God bless you all.

  • I am currently reading A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman to me it goes along with what's being said here today! We are to live fully alive in Him for Him. The world needs us in every little bitty way. Be confident in Christ! Shine!

  • “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." [John Piper] This quote came to mind when I thought about my life as an adornment to the Gospel.

  • Liane Michelle

    "Do you think of yourself as an adornment to the gospel, as something that makes the gospel beautiful to the world?" This is where I struggle. I know as a Christian I am called to live in such a way that people on the outside looking in have no doubt that I live for Jesus. Yet, I admit to wanting to live a quiet faith; I want to live for God and tell people about him, but not if it means that I have to be too loud and "out there" about it. That's the opposite of what God wants though. EVERYTHING we do as Christians should do nothing but shout to the world "YES! Christ lives in me and I live for him!"

    That is my prayer this weekend: Awesome God, help me to see myself as a beautiful adornment to your gospel. Give me the courage to live loudly for you because softly isn't going to cut it! Let EVERYTHING I say and do be a reflection of who You are. I pray this prayer for myself and for all of my fellow SRT sisters. Amen!

    • Gema Muniz

      Amen! thank you for that prayer sister. At times I fall into the same boat, I find myself keeping my faith for myself not wanting to be too loud about it. But thankfully God gave me a husband that is my total opposite, God through my husband reminds me that I need to be bold and outrageous for him. We need to live in this matter because God was bold for us. He endured the ultimate sacrifice for us in the cross and that was not a modest sacrifice.

    • tina

      Thank you Liane, for your prayer that covers us all….bless you sister…x xxx

    • Mukasha

      Thank you sister for voicing my worries and for including us in your prayer! I was born into a non practicing muslim family married to a non practicing catholic. Now I am trying to find my way spiritually without making waves around me. So I can spare my father's "shame" (or at least that is how I think he may react to the fact that I am about to convert) and not have my husband think I am a religious fanatic (again, only my assumption of what he may think). I am new to the Bible, I have only really read through Nehemiah completely, thanks to this community. So I am a little concerned about going out there and be loud about my personal discovery of Christ. I pray God gives me courage to take that leap and not be a hypocrite. I hope he blesses those around me with understanding and even if they don't understand giving me the boldness to not care about what they think. May God help us all struggling with courage to go out there and declare our love for Jesus! Amen.

  • RebekahMann91

    This reminded me of a verse (a real surprise huh?):

    "Now therefore, if ye
    will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant,
    then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people:
    for all the earth is mine"
    ~ Exodus 19:5

    It also reminded me of the Christy Miller series (and the Katie Weldon series)
    by Robin Jones Gunn, where the the theme of being "peculiar treasures" for
    God is used a lot. I love it. I love being reminded that I don't have to fit into the
    world's mold for me. I can follow God's voice without fear.

    I felt truly empowered by today's devotional, even if I am not perfect at it yet,
    as Melinda said, God will enable me :)

    • Chelsee Gardner

      I was definitely thinking of the Christy Miller series when I read “peculiar” too!

      I love how it was phrased that we should be the ones adorning the gospel. It got me realizing that too many times I tell myself to live out the gospel (which by all means is necessary), but I don’t think I had that priority straight.

      The gospel should be the priority, not myself. I should apply my life to the gospel, to the plan that God has in mind. Too often I find myself saying that God has a plan for my life, but in retrospect, my life is a part of God’s greater plan.

      Loving the Titus bible study so far, cannot wait until tomorrow’s! Be blessed!

    • Gema Muniz

      Amen! thank you for sharing sister.

  • Jennifer

    I think the world views Christians as Hippocrates and judgers of others. Unfortunately this is true and very sad. I pray I can show the word of God beautiful and Love others they way Christ loves.

  • Hi Ladies! In yesterday’s devo, we studied the impact on having spiritual mothers and mentors/mentoring. Unfortunately, my spiritual mother/mentor was fired for her job yesterday after many years of wonderful service (we both worked at the same non profit organization). To add to the burden, her husband has been ill for some time and has been in the hospital to begin dialysis this past week. But God is amazing and crazy faithful! And I know for sure that this not a setback but a setup for something greater than she or I can imagine!!! If you can lift her up in prayer (her name is Naomi), prayer for her strength, pray that God removes any feelings of bitterness and self doubt and that God reveals his amazing plan for her, I would really appreciate it!!! Thank you SRT!!!

    • EssieJean

      Oh Bianca, I can feel your pain and hers in this situation. The next few weeks will be so hard, but the Lord WILL do a fantastic work in her life, and yours, through this. Praying for you both!

    • AnnaLee

      Prayed for Naomi, Bianca! I will continue to pray for her. Be blessed!

  • LOVED this message today! The True beauty of the Gospel itself already shines through, as it is God’s Words to the world :) we can show the beauty of the Gosepl in the way we live! Geeze it seems like God is really speaking to me about the difference between our words and our actions time after time again. I just pray He can not only open my heart to this but give me the grace and mercy I need to walk in this new light of obedience. These verses also talked about bondservants during those times. God is definitely speaking through this too, as He is saying even those in the lowliest places of life (or the darkest trials) have the potential to beautify the Gospel to those around them by the way they live. I pray that this beauty enters all the cracks and crevices of every area of our life that it might shine out brighter than ever :)

  • I have just been through the valley with my husband's health. And what kind of adornment have I been to those around me, and the medical staff who have helped us? But our God is good and I will keep striving to be a light for him. By the way my husband is doing much better and I praise God for all those who have stood by me and prayed.

  • Rachel Nordgren

    Rebecca, you're hilarious. I appreciate it so much :)

    The thought of making the Gospel beautiful seems so daunting, you know? I feel broken, plain, and utterly un-beautiful most of the time. BUT – like so many sisters have pointed out – it's not us, it's not our power, and it's not our goodness that makes the Gospel beautiful – it's all Jesus.

    Thank God!

    • tina

      Rachel, please May I say one thing in response to your comment….there is nothing plain or UN-beautiful about you….apart from the fact that you are an SRT sister, you are a precious Child of God, and that my dear sister makes you anything but…..plain and un – beautiful……so you were saying….

  • And yet that adornment isn’t always pretty. As jewelry should be. Oft times it’s the authentic picture of redemption that shines like a gem from our saved lives, reflecting the beauty of the Gospel. Sobering indeed.

    Let your light so shine… Let your life so adorn the Gosple by being transformed by the Gosple… That they may see our good works… gosple works… And glorify our father in Heaven.

  • The verse that stood out for me this morning was Titus 2:7a: "In everything set them an example by doing what is good."

    I have to question myself. Do I set a good example for others through my actions? Do I further God's kingdom in every aspect of my life? I struggle with seeking God throughout my day. I love my devotion time in the morning with this community, but sometimes his word gets lost in my day-to-day life. I try to apply His teachings to my life, but sometimes it is hard. I do want to show God's love through my actions. I may not be able to express God's love and saving grace to everyone through words, but I can show them. Actions do speak louder than words. I pray that God gives me the strength and wisdom to seek him throughout my day and live my life completely for him. I am Christ's ambassador!

    • Mukasha

      Dear Catie, I am a few days behind in the study and I have just gotten to your comment here. You are thinking the same thoughts that are going through my head right now. How wonderful is the devotion time, yet it seems that it ends there for me sometimes, because in day to day I get too caught up to even think whether I am applying what I have learned. I join in to your prayer for the ability to apply the Word into our daily lives. God bless you sister and thank you for your words that have found resonance with my thoughts!

  • laurenannemurphy

    "Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior."

    Even in the position of slavery, Paul teaches to be humble, submissive, and obedient. How much more can I adorn the gospel in the position of freedom in my own life?
    Imagine the example masters and slaves set for their culture when they treated other with love and respect due to faith in Christ. Their unique example would have been revolutionary! I can only assume others would have asked: "Why do you treat you master/slave this way?" And their answer would have pointed to the cross. For everything can be used for the glory of God- including the shackles of slavery, for only God can free us from eternal slavery apart from Him.

    I take joy in knowing that God is the ultimate conquerer, and he will one day rid me of any doubt.

  • Is it OK that I laughed out loud during my quiet time today? "A goiter on the side of the gospel…" That is the absolute best description ever of how we all sometimes feel. But to be adornment, to make the gospel more beautiful with my life, that is so powerful! That'a a memory verse for me!

  • As followers of Christ, we get to wear such a beautiful shade of peculiar! It is beautifully streaked with grace and forgiveness, compassion and love. As we bear the fruit of the spirit, our faces radiant with God's love, we can brighten the dark corners of the world and shed His light for all to see. I hope you all have a lovely Friday!

  • NicolaL- I will say that when I read these verses before the devotional, I too thought that vs. 9-10 might be addressed. After reading the marginal notes in my women’s study bible, I wanted to share…

    ”Slaves were an essential part of Roman society,especially it’s economy. Paul does not express approval of slavery in his comments on how Christian slaves were to relate to their masters. Rather he addresses the matter of correct behavior for those who found themselves in slavery, concentrating his energies on helping slaves- and masters- to live and act in Christlike ways. The important issue was how slaves and masters were to treat one another. All of the qualities associated with the Christian slaves are just as appropriate in the right relationship between a Christian employee and her employer. Excellence in the marketplace is a powerful tool for witness.”

    What I am taking away from this verse now is that, whatever work situation we as Christians are in – slavery 1000s of years ago, a job we dislike, out dream job- we must still exude Christ. We must still adorn the Gospel! I think this is really powerful in our society today- in a time when it seems that everyone is cut-throat, out for themselves only, what a powerful witness we could be to lay that mindset aside and submit appropriately to our employers, raise the standards of how we treat our employees, love on each other and help each other succeed rather than hoping they fail because more for me that way. No matter our circumstances, we are to shine Christ!

  • Amen. We are a peculiar people chosen by God, the chosen generation. The ones to beautify the gospel. Peculiar can be beautiful and free. We are beautiful and free in the sight of God, let's show it to the world. Have a blessed day everyone as we fo our deeds adorning the gospel of Christ today and forever more.

  • katsmith1026

    Good morning lovelies! I usually post my thoughts about the day's devotional on my Instagram (@katsmith1026), but some days I love sharing it here too!
    Thinking on this questions: Do you think if yourself as an adornment to the Gospel, as something that makes the Gospel beautiful to the world? I have to admit, as I considered this I was a bit overwhelmed. How on earth could I add beauty to my Lord's written Word??? BUT GOD reminds me – He has created me! And what is created by Him will always glorify, honor, & point back to the Creator, bringing beauty to His Name. And this, friends, sisters, brings out comfort, joy, and a peace, knowing that what I can do to add adornment to the Gospel is simply to direct my eyes to my Savior – THAT makes the Gospel beautiful to the world.

    • Liz S

      Katsmith, thanks for this. It is both overwhelming and humbling at the same time! I once heard said that what matters and is our part, is to cling to the vine. The fruit will follow without our effort; it will flow from the healthy connection to the vine. And the praise will be to the Vine, not the fruit.

  • Hey ladies!
    Great study….I feel like these verses are telling us to represent, be different , hold to a different standard. Be sensible, a good example In deeds, sound speech, but it’s not to condemn us it’s to lift up Christ. I love the part in vs 8….. So the opponent will” have nothing bad to say about us”. We are to be above reproach so no one can look at us and say we believers are just like them. As slaves or workers for today’s language…. Be well pleasing not argumentative, not stealing(had to look up pilfering) but showing good faith so that THEY will adorn the doctrine of God. So I take this as we are to be so above the standard that others want to be like us. We are to put them to shame because of our lives. Not in a haughty way but in a way that draws them in to our “different” life. I fail in all I these at times. But I guess what strikes me most is that when I am doing these things I never really thought about the fact that I’m representing the Gospel. I always tried to walk with God just because it’s the right thing to do. So now i have a new perspective. I’m a living Bible tract….lol. The Gospel covers me so they don’t see me they see Jesus.
    Have a wonderful day walking with Him and making a difference!

  • Brooke McGlothlin

    Oh how I love that :) I most often feel like a goiter on the side of the Gospel, too. You made me laugh out loud! What a perfect description :)

  • sweetdes2014

    NicolaL…not trying to deny the "wonder whys" in the Word of God but what better example to use , the bondservant, the slave, the one who would think that they could not possibly adorn the gospel. Thinking that they have no value or worth yet Paul admonishes them to do good works so that they may adorn the doctrine of God and Savior IN ALL THINGS.

    As a Black woman, I can't sit here and honestly say that when I see the bondservant or slave and master, I don't have the some questions that I would like answered but I'm real clear that there are some mysteries of the gospel that we will never be able to answer and that's where my faith has to step in and walk me through the those times. Is that easy all the time? No, but I trust God with my life and I know He will not harm me.

    I do believe the true message in verses 9-10 is that no matter what you think your status in life is, no matter how low on the totem pole you might think you are…show yourself to be a pattern of good works ….that you, me, us…May adorn the gospel. Let' s make it beautiful!

    • GracenJoy

      Love your response sweetdes2014. I have friends who cannot understand my faith and bring up passages in the Bible to throw at me to try and get me to see it isn't real (their belief not mine) or say 'you are too well educated to need the crutch of the Bible." It requires faith. That is what is missing when they read the Bible as any other book. But I believe God is working in them and pray at some point they get it. As someone who has lived His abundant grace and then some I cannot comprehend their unbelief but I pray He brings them aboard some day soon and this message today is a reminder of the role we can play in accomplishing that.

    • Robyn

      No matter where you find yourself on the social/worldly totem pole, God sees you as holy & blameless. GOD, our Creator, our Savior, CHOSE US to make His gospel attractive to others. That knowledge makes me feel super blessed, I can only imagine how it made the Roman slaves feel!

  • stinav96

    Good morning, ladies! I have to agree with what has already been expressed. I tend to feel like the ugly rotten spot on the otherwise perfect fruit of the Gospel, rather than making it more palatable to those around me. I'd much rather be the yummy honey dip for that Gospel apple or the cobbler that enhances those sweet peaches. However, I also do not believe that we are held to worldly standards of beauty to make the Gospel beautiful to a worldly world. Our good works and carefully selected words are an overflow of the grace of God at work within the deepest confines of our heart, not a means to be made right with God or atone for our own sins. I'm all for doing good, but sometimes I am cautious in that I feel compelled to get involved in every "good" cause that passes into my consciousness, or even to provide for a need God brings to my attention in a big way (which may involve organizing bake sales to raise money, or gathering up support from among people spread far and wide on Facebook, etc.), quickly discounting the small way God may have provided for me to get involved in the first place. When did the beauty of good works shift from the heart behind a sacrificial gift to the "I'm not doing enough unless this becomes a huge, well-organized event" mentality? And maybe I'm alone in that, but I sometimes feel like I'm under the microscope of scrutiny from the non-believing world as to the quantity of my good works. "You say you believe in Jesus. Why are you not doing more to combat … (sex trafficking, hunger, etc.)?" If the life we live is lived from the heart that is being changed by God (and not being lived from the appearance of the external actions, like we talked about in Titus 1), if we are living in a way that our goal is to please God first in our actions from a love that flows from Him in the first place, then we will experience a greater inward peace in the doing, in the sober and dignified living, and our lives will make the truth of the gospel enticing to those yet of the world who have been called from the foundations of the earth to know Christ.

    • EssieJean

      Oh sweet sister. You have spoken to exactly what has been going on in my heart this week. Thank you so much for these truer than true words!

      • stinav96

        Good morning, EssieJean! I'm so very thankful this spoke to your heart. Thank you for sharing, since I was hesitant to share initially. It felt like maybe feeling that way was a bit controversial or argumentative. And I'm certainly not promoting doing nothing about important issues, but hopefully, that comes through. Have a blessed day, sister!

  • This is right up my alley, because I am peculiar.

    I don't think I've ever considered myself as an adornment of the gospel… I see myself as the popsicle stick picture frame dripping glue and sequins, like the ones my daughter made in Kindergarten art.

    And yet… as a mother, I find these little art projects to be beautiful. Just like the Father views us, in all of our warty glory, to be beautiful.

    I guess I just might be able to see my own beauty in the Gospel after all.

  • joanne sher

    Oh wow. The gospel is beautiful already – I am to make it more so? Need to ponder that one. Lord, help me grasp – and live out – this truth.

    • tfeliz

      I was thinking the same thing, Joanne. But what I pictured was a diamond necklace on the throat of a beautiful woman. That necklace only enhances her present beauty. Then I thought about the fact that diamonds are carbon, pressurized for decades. I don't know about you, but I do feel like this process of making my life an adornment is taking God decades.

      We serve a loving and lovely God.

      • mpres

        I like your reply! I also think that the diamond necklace could stay out of sight in the dresser drawer. Let's put it on and let others see Christ's beauty!

  • Rebecca, thank you for making me spit out my coffee on the goiter comment! hahaha! You are spot on with the Truth this morning but the humor was a nice touch…that and the young men and their tight pants and frivolous facial hair. :) On a more serious note, this thought will haunt me today, "Do you think of yourself as an adornment to the gospel, as something that makes the gospel beautiful to the world?" Thank you for sharing!

    • Morgan

      And this, "The gospel makes us a peculiar people. If we call ourselves Christians we are followers of Christ, and that means we are serious about spiritual things. We are different from the world. We are called to live in a peculiar way.
      And peculiar can be beautiful and free."

      Man. that's a hard pill to swallow because I've felt that tension. I've even guarded how I worded a post on FB so that it didn't sound too Jesus-y. But I'm done w/ that. I don't care because Jesus is coming and this world is fading and all I want is to be found pleasing to him. If only 5 people like my Jesus-y post, who cares? I've found that my Facebook posts, my blog entries, and likewise my conversations stem from what I'm excited about, where I spend my time and focus my energy, the overflow of my heart. So if Jesus is the overflow of my heart, I'm going to talk about Him, post about Him, etc. And if the following is slim, I must be on the right path seeing that Jesus himself told us that would be the case.

      • GracenJoy

        Amen! I've done the same thing and I agree with you Morgan. I'm going to follow your lead and do the same on FB.

  • Nicola L

    Morning lovely friends!

    I have loved reading and learning with the comments this morning.

    But….. no-one is talking about verses 9+10? Slaves and masters are an uncomfortable topic, and if I remember right it was not long ago that secular media were criticising the Bible because it seemed to condone slavery (probably because verses like these exist) and the Gospels seemed to have missed a huge trick as they could have spoken against slavery, but don't.

    I imagine that understanding passages like this needs more understanding of the context of the time they were written, and indeed more understanding of slavery and culture at the time.

    Can anyone help?

    • stinav96

      Good morning, NicolaL! My understanding of the kind of slavery spoken of here is that those who were slaves were working off a debt to those who were masters. This was not a raiding-the-small-village, kidnapping-potential-hard-workers, taking-them-and-selling-them-at-market kind of slavery. Those who could not repay a debt placed themselves into the service of those to whom the debt was owed. When the debt had been repayed, they were able to return to their family (if they had been separated) and their normal life. I am honestly not sure where I got this next idea, but it seems I've heard that they were, at least sometimes, given a means to support their family while they were enslaved. For instance, they may have given the majority of their wages to the master, but were still left a small portion to send back to their family. Or maybe I'm just adding to what I've learned by that last assertion. I can't remember. But it still doesn't seem like that would have been out of the question. I hope that helps!

      • Morgan

        Yes ^^ you're right about the bondslaves/bond-servants concept. Slavery was a basic part of Roman society. Paul is not condoning slavery but accepting the fact that it was the state of society and the position that many Christians found themselves. So instead of begrudging their masters (as I'm sure many slaves did), Christian slaves were to set themselves apart by adorning the Gospel. You can imagine this impacted their masters.

    • drasch

      Hi, Nicola. I'm paraphrasing some notes from the Life Application Study Bible because I admit to the same concerns.

      Consider the time; slavery was very common in Paul's day. While he did come straight out and condemn it in his letters, neither did he condone it outright. He advised slaves and masters to be loving and responsible with one another in their relationships. (See Ephesians 6:5-9).

      In modern day, I liken this to an employer/employee relationship… do your best work, be honest, set an example of what a Christian is in our work ethic so as to be above reproach.

    • Amy

      Nicola, I'm no expert, but my take away from this scripture, specifically, is that our entire life belongs to Christ. The MOST important thing slaves could do with their life was not get free and live how they wanted, it was setting an example for those around them to point them to Christ. Hard pill to swallow!!!! Our culture teaches us so much that what's most important in life is my desires and what I feel is best for me. But this verse reminds me that even in the midst of terrible living conditions where one person "owns" another person, God wants us to use even that to point others to him. That is the most important thing. And if that's what God called them to, surely even I can work to point others to Christ in my job, my community around me, and to those God has put in my life.

      So for me it has less to do with "condoning" slavery, as some might see in this verse, and more to do with remembering it's not about us or our own desires. It's about Christ and serving him in the midst of ANY circumstances we are in.

      • EssieJean

        SO true, Amy. This was almost exactly what I would have said.

    • Gema Muniz

      Nicola, I must admit that I've had the same concern with the bible. My conclusin regarding this matter is that many of the people enslaved in the past were trying to pay off a debt. At times the bible shows that some individuals request to become slaves in order to right a wrong.

      The problem with modern slavery is that they want to justify their actions through verses like this one. Slavery in the past took place after a person willingly submitted themselves to this condition, while the people that are enslaved today are forced into slavery. They get forced into sex slavery, work slavery, or bonded slavery. Bonded slavery is one of the most common type of slavery, this type of slavery is inherited from the parents to the children and so on.

      This verse relates to us in the modern day towards the employee/employer relationship. We need to submit to the authority of our employer and reveal through our work and actions what a true christian should look like. People from this world like everything else twist to words from the bible to work towards their evil doing. Hope this helps sister. God bless!

      • Jenny D.

        I'm a little behind here, so I'm catching up. But I confess the same struggles in reading this passage. And while I agree that the likelihood of this passage being more akin to voluntary indebtedness, I also know that I was hoping someone would bring up the distinctions you have in just this way, Gema. Having spent six months in a safe-house that rescued girls from human trafficking, I have to confess that hearing something along the lines of "even then, praise the Lord" is more than just a little uncomfortable for me. I think of the countless stories of girls who don't know the Lord, but scriptures like Phil 4:13 ("I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.") is plastered on the wall of their brothel in their native language. Even as I recount hearing that story, I am so gravely disturbed. So the idea that we might even be close to discussing this passage in a similar line of thought is unsettling. The Truth is that I know my God is sovereign and will not be made a mockery of, so I can trust that His judgment can and will far outweigh anything I can come up with. That doesn't mean I don't play a part in some way – advocacy, awareness, intervention, counseling, etc. But I certainly also have to own that satan has an ability in this moment to distort scripture into something less than credible, taunting any of us with lies that seem so innocent – "Did you know this is what you believed? Are you just going to gloss on by that passage and pretend it's not there? Is that the god you serve?" So I desperately thank you all for participating in this dialogue so as not to give him even an inch of credibility in my heart.

    • NicolaL

      Ladies, thank you ALL, you are brilliant. Isn't it so cool to be hanging out somewhere where we can ask that kind of a question and friends around can fill in the gaps? So cool.

      I really appreciate the new knowledge myself, definitely makes a bit more sense now with some context.

      Hope you're all having a lovely day.

      • Miranda dolson

        Paul uses bondservant, this is when the person in dept had CHOSEN to continue being a slave to his owner. They choose this because they find that their master is good to work for. When they choose to serve one master forever the master then will ” mark them” by giving them a whole in their ear. This represents to everyone that this person has chosen this master for life. It shows that this master is a kind and good person, so much so that a person was willing to give their whole lives to him.

        Just how we see Christ as our good and loving master and have CHOSEN to be marked by him, to be his bondservant forever. That’s why so many of the NT letters are addressed by those who are BONDSERVANTS of Jesus Christ.

    • Mukasha

      I agree with Drasch on the employer/employee relationship bit. This is how I automatically take every mention of slavery in the Bible. The main point for me is that they were in service to someone else, and we all are at some point of our life. Once I've started to look at it that way it became much more applicable.

  • Tina, I always look forward to your comments! You are a beautiful adornment of Gods word!
    I’m loving this study, sometimes I don’t feel like I can get deep enough into the Word…I want to bury myself into it…always in the back of my mind to go deeper!
    Praying we all have a beautiful day❤️

    • tina

      Libby, thank you…..for these special words …..they truly mean a lot to me……Thank you….
      The bible is a beautiful book…..we can never get enough of it…….Amen….
      Be Blessed Libby…and thank you again ….xxxx

  • The Message say it this way…(v10)…….then their good character will shine through their actions, adding luster to the teaching of Our Saviour God……..I'm thinking…..leading by example…..actions speaking louder than words…..not always the way, but by God's grace, we are learning, growing into the 'peculiarly' great women, who shine through our actions…it's amazing to think that the way I live, adorn the gospel, my actions…..would enhance/ add cluster to the gospel…..Whoa……..that is a high commission……no pressure then……

    Thank you Lord, that you trust ME to adorn your gospel, to walk in a way, through my character, that will enhance the gospel for others….Lord I ask your guidance, help and wisdom as I walk this walk….. Lord, help me to shine for you…..in the name of Jesus…AMEN.x

    I love peculiar…..beautiful and free is a bonus…..Amen….

    Morning beautiful ones…..praying you will shine for the Lord today….with love always….xxx

    • Michelle

      Tina, I just want you to know your comments are always inspiring to me and I look forward to your insights every day!! X.O.x.o.

      • tina

        Michelle, thank you so much, I am touched. by your words…..Thank you……God bless you…..dear sister….abundantly…With love and hugs Tina….x xxx

    • EssieJean

      Tina, I just feel like you must be such a wonderful, bright, fun woman to be around. Some mornings, I read your input, and I just wish so much to sit down and have coffee with you :)
      Thank you for all the light you bring to this space!

      • tina

        Essiejean, you are too kind….but thank you for your sweet words…..they are encouraging.to me……do you think it's possible to have a cyber coffee sometimes.????' How amazing would that be???? Bless you dear heart….and thank you again for your encouragement….xxx

  • thisgalsjourney

    I know in the eyes of God I'm like a flawless gem – because when He looks at me he sees Jesus. But I'm really not sure that's what the world – or my own family for that matter – sees. Lord, make me a beautiful gem of the a Gospel in a dark world.

    And that goes back to the message from the other day – no way in heck can we do this on our own. Only by the grace of God. Oh Lord, how I need your grace and mercy!

    And, amen to the young men in skinny jeans. Just stop it. :)

  • When I read this passage, I tend to go in to self condemnation mode, feeling something like the goiter example. I just start focusing on all the ways I have failed to adorn the gospel. This morning as I read and prayed through this, I realized that I am God’s chosen adornment. He has given me this place in life and entrusted me to adorn His gospel. He therefore sees me as up to the task and will enable me.

    I love the ending statement that peculiar is beautiful and Free.

    • NicolaL

      Thank you for pointing out that whatever we think we look like, God our Father does think we're up to the task….. an amazing reminder of His grace.

      Have a lovely friday!

    • RebekahMann91

      I love how God reminded you that he will enable you. I love that because I know he will do for me, too!

  • CarrieLynne31

    "We are different from the world. We are called to live in a peculiar way.And peculiar can be beautiful and free."

    I love the way you describe peculiar: beautiful and free. It's okay that as Christians we walk a different path than the world. We are called to be Salt and Light in this world. I was reminded of when Jesus talks about being salt and light to his disciples as I read today's devotion.

    Matthew 5:13-16 You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise you Father in heaven.

Further Reading...