“And you must set an example to them by doing good deeds of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. Let your teaching be so correct that it can’t be criticized. Then those who want to argue will be ashamed because won’t have anything bad to say about us” (Titus 2:7-8).
A man pulled his truck into a store’s parking lot. On the left rear bumper of his truck was the sticker, WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?). But on the right rear bumper was a different sticker: “Don’t tailgate me or I’ll flip a booger on your windshield.”
One major excuse many people give for not attending church or for not embracing Christianity is the charge that there are just too many hypocrites in the church.
Are there hypocrites in the church? Yes, yes, yes. In all churches are folks who do not practice what they preach.
We hear news accounts of preachers who were caught in adultery, alcoholism, or some other inconsistency. Sometimes church volunteer leaders are not always people of integrity.
How, then, can we NOT be hypocrites? Reflect on the 2 Bible verses at the beginning of this post. A young minister named Titus had been assigned the responsibility to serve Christian believers on the Island of Crete. The people there had come to Jesus out of pagan backgrounds. Titus’ charge was to show them how to live like authentic Christians should live. These 2 Bible verses show us how NOT to be a hypocrite.
Set An Example in Everything You Do
That’s how the verses begin: “You must set an example.” None of us are perfect, but we must be the best examples we can possibly be, with God’s help.
What rating would you give your personal example today? I’m talking about the example you model in front of your children, at work, in front of your friends, and at church.
Always Do What Is Right
Our Bible text continues: “Doing good deeds of every kind.” This phrase speaks to what is ethically and morally good, always doing the right thing.
Would God approve of the methods you are using to accomplish some of your personal goals? Is there a persistent sin in your life? Are you taking ethical shortcuts in some area of your life?
Make Sure You Have No Integrity Gaps
“Let everything you do reflect integrity,” states our Bible passage. Integrity is not so much what we do, but who and what we are as a person. Your system of personal values is so much a part of you that you cannot separate it from who you are.
Are there any integrity gaps in your life today? Any gaps between what you are saying and what you are doing?
Earn the Respect of People
Our Bible text uses the word seriousness. That word does not mean that you walk around each day with a serious look on your face, or that you never laugh and have a good time. The word is a picture of a person who “has it together.” She knows her mission. Bible-based priorities guide his life. She is responsible. He keeps his promises and commitments. Does the way you live gain the respect of people? Or do people just laugh you off?
Bring Out the Best Through Your Spoken Words
Our verses speak of “teaching so correct it cannot be criticized.” The word correct there literally means “health.” The idea is that the words we speak, the teaching, advice, and instruction we give, should bring health and healing to people. Our spoken words should bring out the best, not the worst, in others.
Among all the words you have spoken today, how many were spoken in anger? How many of your words were carelessly spoken? How many of you words did nothing to build up others?
A recent report from the Barna Group noted that large numbers of Americans believe that religion as a whole is losing its influence. Let’s not be hypocrites. A consistent life with Jesus Christ at the center really does give people hope.