Monday, May 26, 2008

A Different Kind of Wagon

There's a book in the Bible, called "Titus." Actually it's a letter. The apostle Paul had started this church on the island of Crete, and he put this young guy named Titus in charge of the ins-and-outs of getting the church established after Paul left. So, in this letter (1:7-9, if you know the lingo), Paul lists out the qualifications he wants Titus to look for in the men that Titus will appoint to lead the church(es) on Crete. One of these qualities is that the men should be "self-controlled." The old King James Version of the Bible, translates this phrase, simply as "sober."

Now, here's the interesting thing about that phrase: in the original Greek it's a word that has lots of connotations not found in any of our English translations of the word(s). It actually refers to someone who has complete control over their passions and desires, or someone who can curtail their passions, both removing those that are improper and arranging those that are necessary to the proper time and in moderation (paraphrase of Strong's Exhaustive Concordance). One author said being sober-minded/self-controlled is being disciplined to the point of being able to resist doing what your natural impulse would have you do, even if that impulse isn't necessarily sinful. Now, that's an amazing statement! I mean, think about it. Getting to the point that you have disciplined yourself and your will that if your natural impulse is to do something, you resist doing it, even if your impulse isn't something that the Bible forbids.

Here are some examples: You're natural instinct is to have a beer after work? You don't have a beer after work. You're impulse is to speak? You keep quiet. This is the kind of discipline that Paul writes Titus those whom Titus picks to lead the church should have. Not because he cares about the acts themselves that they're doing or not doing, but because he wants men who are sober-minded, self-controlled, disciplined like this. This is what I want. I want to be sober like this!

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