6 Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.
7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,
8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
We are not exactly sure of when Titus was born, or how old he was when he traveled with Paul as an interpreter and fellow missionary. He was a gentile, born in Greece, and Paul sent him on several journeys by himself, so Paul trusted him to carry out the peaching of the gospel and sharing the truths of – be sober minded!
This idea of being sober, or sober minded has caught my attention. To all three groups of people, he gives this instruction – be sober. Today, we really only think of it in one term. To be off drugs or alcohol not having our mind affected by those things. But it means so much more than that as used in the scripture. This same word is often translated “of sound mind”, and is used of the state of the lunatic that ways brought before Jesus and had the demons cast out of him. After this event, the bible says he was of sound mind, sober.
The word used here is Sophreneo. It is from the root word Sophron, which means to be of sound mind and judgement. It also means curbing one desires, or temperate. So, there is a double meaning here that Paul is trying to get across to the young men especially. It’s odd to me that we had several points to make to each of the three groups of people before, but to the young men only this one thing is mentioned. Control yourselves is the basic message. However, right after saying this Paul goes on to tell Titus that he should be a good example in everything he does. Be a good example, show uncorruptness, gravity and sincerity, and use sound speech that no one can condemn. Could this speak to the fact that young men need to see an example of how they should live rather then be told how they should live. I think it does, and I think it points out a major problem in our society today.
In our wonderful country, 25% of all children live without a father. 1 in 4. That is a staggering statistic. Where are the men! They have abdicated their role and not used self-control, or been sober minded. Another staggering truth we see is that almost 90% of men in prison grew up in fatherless homes. 90%. 85% of men who are homeless come from fatherless homes. Why is this? Because they do not see an example, of how to live right. The young men will turn to those who show them love, and more often than not in the inner city it is the gangs, who lead them to drugs and violence. There really is an easy fix to the over population of our prisons and the homeless situation – get fathers to really be fathers, and not just loose canons spreading their seed all over the country side. They are not using sound judgement or self-control and are thinking without really thinking right – they are not sober-minded!.
Paul tells Titus he must live as an example, and these same patterns apply to all of us as well. We must have a pattern of good works, and in our doctrine, we must not have corruptness, and we must be grave and sincere. These 4 points are addressed to Titus, but should be evident in all of us as well. People can see a pattern of behavior. Either they look at you as a good person, or they look at you as someone who just doesn’t care about people and goes about doing their own thing, regardless of how it affects others. Every move we make, every word we speak and every act we carry out affects someone else.
I have talked of this before but this is a perfect place to share it once again. In 2008, I went to Pure Life Ministries in Kentucky because I had been guilty of mis-using company equipment to view pornography. This was a statement of the pride that was so strong within me. I broke rules that I myself had written for the company and thought I was above them. My pastor said I must go or I would never set foot in his church again. This was not my first transgression, and I had appeared all good and noble when doing ministry in his church, but behind me there was deep sin and pride festering. I went because I knew I needed to get help for this addiction that cost me my job and threatened my 30-year marriage.
At this place, where I thought, they were going to center on my porn addiction, it didn’t take long before I began to realize my problem was not the porn, but pride. I define pride as paying too much attention to oneself. It did not take long for me to see the monster that was inside of me and learn of his ways and his deeds. Life was all about me and what I wanted to the detriment of everyone around me. I could only see how I had been affected by this revelation and could only concentrate on getting better because I wanted this for myself. One day I was walking on the prayer trail listening to an audio sermon by a speaker I came to admire. He was sharing a story of a missionary in India who had become infatuated with another woman. Although he was married, he started to have fantasies about being with this woman. One night he drove to her house and was going to visit her when the Lord suddenly impressed upon him how this liaison would affect his wife, children and all those who he was ministering to. Right there in his car he broke down and wept when he realized how his actions would affect the people around him. He had never thought about that.
I fell to my knees right there on the prayer trail, weeping. It finally dawned on me how much I had hurt my wife, my kids, my employer, my church family and all those around me. My actions had betrayed their trust and I might never get that back. I can’t remember how long I stayed down there on the ground, but it was at least 2 minutes. I was devastated. As the day wore on, that sense of shame and guilt grew in me. I knew now what my pride had done and how my actions had affected those around me. That night, actually early the next morning, I went down to the cross that was erected at the head of the trail, knelt down before it and slowly prayed Psalm 51. My pastor had told me I needed to memorize that psalm, and I had done so. Tears rolled down my face as I recounted in my mind exactly what I had done. Just like David, I need God to have mercy on me and forgive my transgressions. I needed Him to create a clean heart within me. I needed Him to restore His Holy Spirit and not take it from me. My life changed that night due to the revelation\n of the day on that prayer trail.
Your life has an affect on other people. You are not a lone soul on this earth just travelling your way through a few years of existence. You are a vital part of society, and your life can have a profound effect on other people. I pray you will take that into account with every step you take, every word you speak and every prayer you pray. The people in your world are depending on you to be an example of goodness, being uncorrupt in your doctrine, sincere in your speech, and in a position that no one can say evil about you. This is not only Paul’s admonition to Titus, but to all of us as well. Make your life count!