6 Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, 7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, 8 sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you. (Titus 2:6-8; NKJV)
This passage is an exhortation of Paul for different member groups of the church. I have noted in my bible that in this text we have a pattern against which we can reflect upon our life and evaluate how we are living. There are words here that we can identify and evaluate ourselves against in terms of our behavior and purpose of working for the Lord.
Sober-minded literally means “free from intoxicating influences” and we think of that to mean not drunk on alcohol or high on drugs but it means more than that. It means that we cannot allow ourselves to be captivated by any type of influence that leads us away from sound judgement. We have to “keep our head”, “keep a clear mind” or “exercise self-control”.
And I don’t know about you, but “self” is always a challenge for me and in order to live like Jesus did “self” has to be the last thing considered no matter how much “others” are making that difficult. We are here to serve others just as Jesus served and we have to consider our life through the lens of the Gospel for the salvation of others. There is no “I” or “me” in that…only Jesus and those He seeks to save.
Jumping off from that point, we have integrity in doctrine, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech…all of which means living in such a way that we are a positive influence for the gospel. We are to be grounded in the Word of God and living in a consistent manner that when someone fights against us because of our faith they are put to shame because we demonstrate the truth of God’s Word and the reason for our faith. That doesn’t mean others will obey the same Truth we do or live the same way we do but every time someone sees us living consistently for Jesus there is an opportunity for them to see hope and salvation in Jesus…especially in difficult times or in difficult relationships.
I think Paul started with the mind first and I think that is where our choice starts. If we determine to keep our mind clear and exercise self-control, we will then live with Godly integrity in reverence for Him, be incorruptible and have sound speech in love. All of that will make a difference in another’s life and that makes all the difference in this world under the sun.