Titus 2:15 These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.
This chapter is loaded with good, practical teaching about how to live a life pleasing to God, and here we have Paul’s instructions on how to go about transmitting that truth to others. Cretan culture of the day was pretty rough, and to many today would have seemed pretty rude. That’s why the focus here is on correction. In different circumstances, the style can be different. However, two things stand out to me, and they are two sides to the same thing. Titus is told to act with “all authority,” (the Japanese says, “sufficient authority”) and not to let anyone despise him (the Japanese says, “take lightly”). Pastoral ministry is not for wimps! Gentleness is certainly called for, but it is a gentleness that comes from strength and not from weakness. Some people have the image of a pastor being a milquetoast, and sadly, some fit the image! Jesus is certainly our example here. As a carpenter, He was hardly the effete, skinny figure we often see in paintings. When He drove the merchants out of the temple, (John 2:13-17) they had every reason to get out! That’s not at all to say that every pastor should be a body builder, certainly, but that the office is not one of weakness. It is important that when Jesus gave the Great Commission He started by saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18) When we operate under that authority, it in turn operates through us. Pastors need to remember that they are part of the “chain of command” of the entire universe, and not let the devil’s lies shake them.
This is an issue I have thought about many times over the years, but have not always acted on properly. I have tended to misuse my authority by not using it, rather than by oppressing anyone. That has caused problems. I recognize that I have been given a lot of authority not just in this church but in this city and this region, but I need God’s wisdom and guidance as to how to exercise it. I must not be puffed up over it, but neither am I to fail to use it as God directs. Spiritual warfare is an area that needs more attention, and the authority of Christ is certainly paramount in that. I’ve been given a message for tomorrow on “Person of God.” I need to listen to it myself, and act as His agent in destroying the works of the devil, (1 John 3:8) setting people free for their salvation and God’s glory.
Father, thank You for this reminder. There are those who are telling us we are to exercise the authority of Christ in commanding healing for Cathy’s body. I’m not sure where I am on that one. It would be wonderful for her to avoid any of the surgeries that are scheduled, but I see You working in the current situation as well. I know that apart from submission to You I have no authority. Help me recognize and do each thing that You desire of me, so that Your purposes may be accomplished on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!