We live in tumultuous times in the church and the world. Confusion and fear reigns among newer believers who don’t have a solid foundation in the truth to help them discern evil from good, lies from truths, abnormal from normal.
Since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, every generation has lived in a fallen evil world. One of their sons killed his brother and down through the centuries, what one generation does in moderation, the next generation does in excess.
Each generation has a predisposition to look at God as the God of the past who doesn’t understand the current culture. That’s why I’m a passionate proponent of mentoring and living out Titus 2:1-6where spiritually older men and women receive the charge to teach, train, and model the Christian life to the next generation so they won’t be deceived and dissuaded.
To understand the full impact of Titus 2:1-6, we need to read the issues Paul was addressing in the previous verses. It sounds a lot like our world today:
“Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are corrupted. Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. They are detestable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good.” (Titus 1:15-16)
The next verses hold the apostle Paul’s antidote for helping the next generation and the spiritually young discern between the ways of the world and the ways of the Lord:
“Your job is to speak out on the things that make for solid doctrine. Guide older men into lives of temperance, dignity, and wisdom, into healthy faith, love, and endurance. Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior. Also, guide the young men to live disciplined lives.” (Titus 2:1-6, The Message)
Today, we see a steady increase in crime and decrease in morality in our culture because many believers are failing to take up the Titus 2 mantel—one Paul and I call the job description for every Christian man and woman. A consequence of a generation not accepting the charge of Titus 2:1-6 is a liberal society aggressively challenging Christianity and long-held truths governing our society for over 2,000 years. Things were good; Christians were in the majority. Most people in our culture acknowledged God and lived by the Ten Commandments, but did Christians and the church get complacent?
Just as the apostle Paul saw the need for mentors in his day, we desperately need mentors today. Yet, many who should be stepping up to mentor and teach the next generation are falling away from Titus 2, just as quickly as our world is falling away from God.
Living counter-cultural isn’t easy. No one likes being the brunt of harassing name-calling: intolerant, homophobic, old-fashioned, legalistic, rigid… Conservative and Bible-believer spewed with disdain. Many new believers, and even not-so-new believers, are afraid to offend by talking about God or worry they won’t have an answer when challenged as to why they are Christians.
What Can We Do?
How do we ordinary Christians make a difference in today’s confused and fallen world? We follow Paul’s teaching to Titus. As mentors, we speak, teach, and train the truth to the spiritually younger, straight from the Bible. We read our Bibles and let God’s Word speak, teach, and train the truth to us so we can respond to life’s issues from God’s perspective. Together mentors and mentees learn spiritual wisdom and scriptural principles to help navigate the moral decline of our culture, and in some cases, the foundation of the Christian faith.
If more Christians would reach out to each other with understanding, prayer, and biblical truths, there would be far less fear, backsliding, and sin in believers’ lives.
Also, we can’t ignore the next generation’s world of technology, music, and language; we can influence how they use it. To be influencers, we need to be aware and educated. They won’t feel we don’t understand their world if we do understand their world. We won’t become relics if we stay relevant.
We can’t lose hope.
[written by Janet Thompson]