Day 3

above reproach

from the above reproach reading plan


Titus 1:5-16

BY Hayley Morgan

Text: Titus 1:5-16

There were times, after attending a Christian university where there were well-intentioned rules for everything, I tried to walk a tightrope of moral righteousness and totally missed out on the idea of the Gospel. I didn’t preach the Gospel to myself every day or pursue sanctification from the position of my own lack, desperately needing Jesus. I mostly just tried to do things right on my own terms and in my own strength. My striving to be above reproach started to look more like striving for God-approval, devoid of the Gospel of grace.

I pranced around like a tiny Pharisee, measuring just how far above reproach other people were. I was the picture of leadership, naturally playing the good girl and brushing over my propensity for self-importance. I appeared tidy and shiny and above reproach on the outside, but my heart was hard and prideful. I understood very little about what Jesus’ work actually meant.

Jesus’ death (and resurrection!) means that while we abide in the Lord, His Spirit will sanctify us making us more like Him. It means that I shouldn’t spend more effort avoiding doing wrong than I do getting to know my Father. It means that my striving to be above reproach should not come before my striving to be in communion with the Lord. If I abide in the Father, the work is already done.

Appearing to be above reproach is not enough. If there is pride hiding in your heart, it matters not that you look like a fine, upstanding citizen. If you’ve got anger holding the court of your emotions, you need to do work with the Lord. Being above reproach in light of the Gospel is more than not doing the visibly bad things. It is about yielding your heart to God and letting Him excise all the things that are more of this world than of Him.

There are things we can mess up if we put them in the wrong order. If we misunderstand our identity and position in Christ, we will forever be striving to be good enough, far enough above reproach. That’s an exhausting way to live. If we stay tenderhearted and open to God’s refinement, always listening for the Spirit, we will become more like Jesus. We will be above reproach because we are hidden in Him, not because we are operating on our own strength or our own terms.

Let us seek first to know our Father, then abide in Him and be sanctified. This is the only way to be above reproach.

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Post Comments (125)

125 thoughts on "above reproach"

  1. Kate says:

    Lately I have been so distant from where God would like me to be. I’m feeling sluggish, sleepy, lazy, unmotivated, and just plain self consumed. I’ve been feeling emotionally dead many days, putting God and his word on the back burner. I have six beautiful children, and often lately feel run down by house work and child rearing. I used to have so much drive and energy, but these days I’m not that person. My spiritual life is being reflected in my physical life, I’ve not been communing with God daily like I used to. I’ve put other things in its place, like Instagram and scrolling my iPhone for entertainment. It’s been going on for months (when homeschool let out for the summer, I checked out too). This study the last few days has been uplifting and I’m feeling the wheels of change and hope turning. I’ve felt uplifted for the first time in months.

  2. Being above reproach in light of the Gospel is more than not doing the visibly bad things. It is about yielding your heart to God — Amen! So many youth groups just teach behavior modifications that make you a Christian, but never address the heart issues. Spot on!

  3. Jennifer says:

    I have been striving to act and obey as I should but all the while have been doing so on my own strength what I should of been doing is abiding in Gods presence and his word and change. And transformation would’ve come thank you srt I needed to hear this today !!

  4. Montana Moxie says:

    In a world where I feel like I don’t measure up (either “too much” or “not enough”), it sure is comforting to know that, through Christ, I stand before God approved. Thanks for the reminder today, SRT!

  5. Kelli E says:

    Amen sister! Amen!

  6. Mukasha says:

    I am struggling to make sense of this devotional today. I do understand it in general terms. Yes, we should not put more emphasis on trying to be blameless, but rather have the relationship with God as our primary goal. Does that mean that if we tend to our relationship with God, our wrongdoings do not matter anymore? I understand that once we start learning the word of God and uncovering the principles by which we must live our attitudes change and, to speak in basic terms, we sin less. But still…we do have human nature, sin seems to be our thing, we turn our back on God every so often just to prove we are human. So how does that fit into this? The fact that we have been saved through Jesus seems like a free pass a little. Doesn't "abide in Father" mean that we should try to avoid reproach? I know I am missing something, please help me make sense of it!

    1. Aubri Marie Foster says:

      Hi Mukasha, I have been thinking about this a lot lately, too. My heart for doing good, and being above reproach, isn’t always selfless. This devotional is addressing this issue. The idea isn’t to completely stop trying to do good and be above reproach, it is to take a deeper look at your motives for your actions. Am I doing good or avoiding sin just so that others will look at me and say: “Great Job!” Or am I just doing it because that is what I am told to do? The REAL reason for me making good choices and acting like Jesus should be that I am living my life as a sacrifice and gift to The Lord, a life lived in response to the love relationship that I have with my savior, a life full of actions done as a way of showing my gratefulness for Jesus in hopes that others might be drawn to Him. The ONLY way that my motivations can stay centered on this is to remain constantly connected to the vine, to ABIDE in the Father as he is in me. This devotional isn’t saying that we should stop striving to do good or stop running from sin, it is simply asking us to take inventory of our motivations. Paul is asking Titus to take inventory of the motivations (and fruit) of those he chooses to put in charge of the local body. Those who are leading should not just look good on the outside, like white-washed tombs, rather their lives should show genuine humility and daily striving to serve as a love response to the Gospel. THIS life is a beautifully effective tool that God uses for His Glory. — I don’t, and probably won’t, know if this response to your thoughts makes sense or has helped you, but my prayer for you and I is that, as we go through this study, we would be challenged to ask questions and be drawn closer to the King as we dig deeper to understand His words. I don’t want to just have pat answers to tough questions, I want to be challenged! Thank you for your questions! :)

  7. ruledby1 says:

    This is exactly how i have been most of my christian life, this has help open my eyes. Thank you!

  8. Alysa says:

    Actions truly speak louder than words. This is such a good reminder.

    1. So good to see your face here, friend!

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