11 The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people. 12 It educates us so that we can live sensible, ethical, and godly lives right now by rejecting ungodly lives and the desires of this world. 13 At the same time we wait for the blessed hope and the glorious appearance of our great God and savior Jesus Christ. 14 He gave himself for us in order to rescue us from every kind of lawless behavior, and cleanse a special people for himself who are eager to do good actions.
The New Year will soon be here and that means resolutions will be made about getting in shape; diets will start and people will be hitting the gym. What is it about a new year that puts us all in training? Maybe it’s because a new year feels like an opportunity for a fresh start and it inspires us to live our best lives, if only we can stick to our new year’s resolutions. But where most of us start out with good intentions, exercising and eating healthier meals, by June less than half of us will still be successful at keeping our resolutions. The reasons why we fail at keeping resolutions is our lack of discipline and planning.
Lack of discipline and planning are also the reason we fail to grow in our spiritual lives. We have good intentions, then life takes over. We are “eager to do good actions,” but we’re human, with human flaws. We get too busy and say we have no time to worship, we aren’t intentional about studying God’s word, and we don’t plan time to be in prayer with God. Sometimes we’re just tired of the struggle, and wonder if doing good really matters when life’s problems seem insurmountable to us.
The author of the letter to Titus understood that we struggle “to live self controlled, upright and godly lives.” As redeemed children of God, salvation is just the beginning of our spiritual journey. We can’t live a godly life by the force of our will alone. We need God’s grace to transform us into “people who are eager to do what is right.” Grace enables us to be in training to be able to do the Kin-dom work while awaiting the return of Jesus. Grace continues to shape us to be Christ-like, to learn and grow through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
God’s loving grace brought salvation to us, and is our teacher in the example of Jesus, who gave himself for us. This process of transformation is initiated by God’s grace but also requires us to participate in the call God has placed on our lives. We need to be intentional about our relationship with God, following the example of Jesus by doing good, and planning time for worship, devotion and prayer.
by Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
As children of God, we’re in training for life to be transformed by grace to live godly lives eager to do good actions. How will you respond to God’s call on your life this new year? How can you be intentional and plan to set aside some time to grow in your relationship with God? What spiritual discipline will you plan into your day; will it be reading a daily devotion or bible study, or prayer time or volunteering your time to do good actions?
Prayer: Holy and loving God, we thank you for your grace that transforms us into people who are always eager to do good. Help us to respond to your call on our lives to follow Jesus and to be intentional about planning time to grow in relationship with you. Amen.