Cruising Route 66
Perilous Pitfalls to Potential
To Titus, my true son in our common faith:
Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you. An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. Titus 1:4-9
The definition of “potential” is “Something that can become real.” “The inherent ability or capacity for growth, development, or coming into existence.” We aren’t so arrogant as to really believe that there isn’t plenty of room for improvement, but it isn’t a stretch to say that some of us are hindered in reaching our greatest potential.
Titus led the church on the island of Crete, and with their potential in mind, Paul tells him that he left him in Crete to straighten out what was left unfinished. (Titus 1:5) In other words, “Titus, those folks have great potential, but you need to help them straighten out a few things so they can see their potential?” He then tells him four pitfalls to watch out for because they will keep them from realizing it.
For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers, and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group. Titus 1:10
The first is the pitfall of a flawed motive. The Cretans are not motivated by their obedience but by a rebellious heart. Rebellion says, “I will do it my way.” In our world, rebellion is celebrated as a positive character trait. We see it as a badge of individuality, a sign of independence. Rebels are their own people, not controlled by anyone or anything. Our view of rebellion is idealistic and unrealistic. Rebellion suppresses potential. Instead of moving forward, rebellion digs in and defends its position.
You can’t take new ground when all your time is spent defending where you stand in order to maintain your individuality. Rebellion will always get in the way of what God wants to do in your life. This is illustrated by the Israelites coming out of slavery in Egypt. God wanted to give them the land of Canaan. Israel rebelled and spent 40 years being grumpy in the desert.
To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. Titus 1:15
The second pitfall is a flawed belief. Their belief system was corrupted. When your belief system is corrupted, you cannot realize your potential because you won’t have a correct understanding of who God is. If your heart is pure and the eye of your heart is clear, then you are able to see God at work in your life. Whatever you are facing, you see God’s protective hand rather than the circumstances.
When you live in a lie, the truth is easily clouded. When there is no solid foundation of truth to stand on, even a light breeze of distortion can blow you off course. Remember, you don’t need to be heading in the opposite direction to get lost, just get your heading off by a degree or two, and it won’t be long until you find yourself missing in action.
They claim to know God, but by their actions, they deny Him. They are detestable, disobedient, and unfit for doing anything good. Titus 1:16
Next is the pitfall of a flawed testimony. They talk about God, and how they have a personal relationship with Him, but their actions don’t back up what they say. External evidence must be backed by internal conviction. I can tell people that I’m a superhero. I can jump off tall buildings in a single bound, but the best I’ll do is make a mess on the street below. I could prance around in tights, a cape, and a mask, but I’d probably get arrested.
Whenever I try to act like a superhero, one thing is always missing, there is nothing inside me that will make me a superhero. Whether you see yourself as a saint or a superhero, your potential can’t be built on a shaky foundation.
How do you perceive people who say one thing and live another? They aren’t trustworthy. You can’t put your confidence in them. You don’t know what they will do, no matter what they say.
At one time, we too, were foolish, disobedient, deceived, and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. Titus 3:3
They were hindered by the pitfall of flawed motivation. Before knowing Christ, the Cretans were enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures that were deceiving. They had settled for short-term pleasure rather than long-term contentment. Realizing potential is not a short-term commitment, it’s a long-term pursuit.
Paul was once driven by the emotions of the flesh, and reliance upon his intellect and training. In order to realize his true potential, he needed to look past the passions of the mind and become obedient to the heart. Failure to be obedient to the will and purposes of God is the greatest killer of recognizing and reaching your greatest potential.
Until next time,