We should be “on mission” to love God and to love others, and we primarily do this through preaching the gospel. But in addition to sharing the gospel with our words, we can show the gospel with our works. Through our day-to-day interaction with people at school, work, or in our neighborhoods, we can be missional by being relational; we can build relationships that give us the credibility and opportunity to share the gospel, invite friends to church, and to engage in conversations about Christianity.
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The Bible tells us how we should act with other believers in the church, but it also instructs us on how we are to interact in society with unbelievers. And we see this in Paul’s letter to Titus. By way of reminder, Paul urges Titus to remind his congregation of their duty to have Christ-like conduct in a Christ-less culture. Check out these reminders for all of your relationships:
“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people” (Titus 3:1-2).
Submit to Rulers and Authorities
The first duty Paul refers to is your actions and attitude about secular government. This means that you’re to submit to the laws of your land. The early church was instructed to submit to the Roman government, which was pagan, immoral, and unjust. Nevertheless, they were to submit as unto the Lord in every aspect that did not contradict godly living and instruction. When you are “subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution,” you will “put to silence the ignorance of foolish people” and you will glorify God as you are in His will (1 Peter 2:13-15).
Obedience is submission on display. Out of obedience to God and His commands, you are to obey those who exercise authority of you, whether it’s your parent, teacher, or employer. And when you do this, you are actually being obedient to God. Because many young people are known for their disobedience, and it’s even become “cool” in some ways, others will be able to see that you’re different through your obedience to others—and ultimately, to God.
As you submit to the rulers and authorities in your life and in your land, it shows that you submit to the ultimate ruler and authority—the Lord.
Be Ready for Every Good Work
The good works that Paul refers to are the loving and caring deeds that are done to others in the name of Christ. Such good works are to be sincere out of a love for God and for others, with the purpose of meeting the needs of others in tangible and practical manner for their benefit. We can’t be lazy or unprepared, but like an athlete trained and prepared to play, or a soldier ready to maneuver in battle, we are to be ready—suited and an on guard—to do good works in the name of Jesus.
Speak Evil of No One
Don’t gossip. Don’t make fun. Don’t disrespect. Why? Because you’ll gain the credibility of being trustworthy. By choosing to not speak evil of others, whether in their face or behind their back, you’ll be able to speak good of them, which hopefully leads to sharing the good news of the gospel.
To quarrel is to have an angry dispute or disagreement that produces division between people. So, when Paul says to avoid quarreling, he is saying to do the opposite and live peaceably with unbelievers rather than getting into fights and arguments and becoming angry with them. Don’t burn bridges, build them.
To be gentle is to be gracious, forbearing, tender, and moderate, treating others in a reasonable and courteous manner. It’s to be like Jesus (Matt. 11:29). It doesn’t consist of weakness, but actually of strength, for it requires great strength to restrain the sinful desires of holding grudges, hoping for the worst, or being rude. You cannot control others’ actions, but you can control your reactions. Let your gentleness display your godliness.
Show Perfect Courtesy to All People
This act involves showing genuine consideration, humility, and meekness towards others. It is one that does not consist of self-interest, but is others-oriented, seeking the interests of all people. There are no exceptions. As you reach out to the popular and the picked-on, the “in” crowd and the outcasts, your love for all people will reflect God’s love for all people. In a youth culture of cliques and ostracism, being courteous to all will definitely make you stand out from the crowd.
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So what does all of this show to us? It shows us that through our day-to-day relationships with people we interact with, we have a great opportunity to be missional by being relational. Through our relationships—through submission, obedience, works, words, and actions—we have the opportunity to build a bridge to share the gospel.
As Scripture teaches, let’s live this way, and watch how others are impacted through our actions:
“let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
“Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.” (1 Peter 2:12).
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:14-15).