Living Like Jesus

Written By:  Rhonda Alstott
Titus1:5-9  “For this reason I left you on Crete that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.  For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.”


In Paul’s letter to Titus, Paul reminds him of the expectations he had regarding the island of Crete. Crete had a reputation for ungodliness, but Paul did not let that dissuade him from having expectations for the gospel to produce fruit. Paul understood personally what an encounter with Jesus could do in a person if they let the Spirit have their way. He understood that as a Christian, real godliness would be lived out in our families, workplaces, and places of worship. When I read through Paul’s list for the qualities of a leader, I am not surprised that they are qualities we see in the character of Jesus. Of all those that are listed, I want to take a minute to focus on one, “sensible”, found in verse 8. Some translations use the word self-controlled. Sensible, in the original Greek is the word sophron (sozo-to save and phren-the mind), meaning safe in the mind. Strongs concordance describes it as one who can moderate their opinion or passion.

I do not know about you, but having a sensible mind seems like a lost art nowadays.  I do not know how many times I have heard the phrase “Oh he or she is just passionate about that”.    This excuse is often given when a person has gone too far and crossed some sensible boundaries with words or deeds.  Passion and opinion that is not controlled seem to grow into obsession until that seems to be the only focus a person has.   I think if we are all honest, we all can become passionate about issues, events, and people, but how do we handle it when we or someone else crosses the line with that opinion or passion?  We can become so obsessed or passionate about something that we lose all resemblance of Jesus, even if we think it’s an issue he’d be passionate about too.  

Another way to describe a person that is sensible from the Greek definition, is to say that they know how to stop.  That can be applied to not only our passions and opinions, but our behaviors as well.  We live in a world where addictions, greed, consumerism, overeating, overbuying………. the list goes on and on of the ways we don’t know how to stop.   As part of my job, I show images of brains that show the damage done when people don’t know how to stop using drugs.    My kids, and my husband, would tell you that I don’t know how to stop lecturing to make my point.  I would confess I don’t know how to stop eating candy.

 The reason this word sensible in scripture catches my attention is that I really do not think anyone can escape being convicted of one area where they need help knowing where to stop.  Maybe we worry too much.  Maybe we are on our phones too much.  Maybe we gossip too much.  You get the point.  Our lives bear witness to this.  Another irony I see is that we are quick to point it out in someone else, to escape what is happening within ourselves.   We would rather focus on someone’s unsound mind and inability to stop than to look within.  I think Jesus said it this way, “Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?”

Maybe God’s Spirit, when asked, would show this log to us.    Maybe we could be more honest with one another about our logs and ask Jesus to help us get it out.  Maybe in the confession, our sin would lose its power, and maybe just maybe, we could all be more like Jesus.