The Twenty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time

Titus 2:7-8

Show Yourself Vigilant

The Apostle has spoken of what the pastor is supposed to teach; now he must say something about his demeanor and behavior.  Indeed, throughout these “Pastoral Epistles” (1 & 2 Timothy & Titus), Paul is encouraging, exhorting, commanding, pleading with these men to be the men of God they must be to lead their charges through the trials and tribulations of this world and into the Kingdom of heaven.  Theirs is the noblest and most important task of all.  Yes, the Reformers of the sixteenth century taught us the truth that every man and woman has a calling before God and all work is noble when done unto the Lord and for His glory.  But we must still never forget that those whom God has specifically called out to lead his church have the most important and most difficult task of all. 

We may rightly ask why it is that we so often hear of pastors falling due to sexual sin or some other indiscretion, of popular Bible teachers finally succumbing to a temptation about which many lay people would never dream.  In some cases, they were wolves in sheep’s clothing; after all, the Bible teaches us that these will come (Matthew 7:15).  But I believe that in most cases, they were men who began with a heart for God, who loved His word, who wanted to lead others to the Savior.  But you see, it is these very men whom Satan targets with legions of demons; these are the ones in his crosshairs.  Smite the shepherd and the sheep will scatter; aim for the officers so no one can lead the enlisted.

So what must be done?  Pastors must be ever-vigilant, on guard, shield in hand, weapons at the ready: “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned.”  And why do this: “So that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.”  Overseers who fall from grace fall out of negligence to the spiritual disciplines—Bible study and meditation, prayer, personal and corporate worship, accountability to other men, seeking opportunities to do good—and worst of all, allowing Satan a foothold somewhere in their lives—their marriage, their thought world, their financial struggles, anywhere there is weakness—and we all have weaknesses.  A man must know his weakness and guard himself there better than anyplace else—especially when he doesn’t feel the temptation—for that is precisely when Satan is deceiving the man into letting his guard down.  You can be sure that when you thought you had beaten it, a TORRENT of temptation will come crashing down on that particular weakness.  Vigilance!

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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