When my brother or I would act up—which was a really long time ago—my mother would sometimes tell us, “Behave!” She never actually said how we were to behave, but you’d better believe we knew exactly what she meant. She and my dad had reared us with clearly defined expectations. Steve and I had no misunderstandings about what kind of character and manners we should always display.
Of course, children are always testing their boundaries, and we were no different. That’s what belts and switches were for—demonstrating that crossing those boundaries comes with consequences. Honestly, we were not often in need of such discipline, but it was always a possibility, lest we require a reminder.
So Paul enjoined Titus to give the church in Crete such a reminder. “Promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching.” That’s just what my parents were doing—pushing us to live in a way consistent with Biblical teaching. As parents, that’s what many of us strive to do with our children. Sometimes we’re more successful, sometimes less. But like Titus, we’ve been given “the authority to correct when necessary.”
God has clearly defined expectations for our behavior as well. And he has been known to apply correction when needed. Such disciplinary trials are not intended to break us, but to make us stronger, better fit to overcome Satan’s ongoing attempts to undermine our walk with Christ. We may not care for such discipline at the time, but we know that God disciplines those he loves, those who are his children. If we are his children, we must behave like it. When we don’t, we should expect reproof and rebuke to pull us up short and bring us back to a “kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching.”
That’s something to think about.