My oldest daughter is getting real close to the dating age. Figuring out how to handle this does give me a bit of stress. I’m not going to be cleaning my gun if a boy comes over to take her out, but I do want to know if he has pure intentions. I have talked to her about this since she was very young. A hot chocolate at Starbucks provides a captive audience for a fiver-year-old. In the church, we have to discern who doesn’t have pure intentions as well. Paul gives us a clue on how to do that.
To the pure, everything is pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; in fact, both their mind and conscience are defiled.
Learning on the Run
Titus was one of Paul’s understudies. This letter is part of what is known as the Pastoral Epistles. The previous verses discuss what the qualifications of the leadership should be and then delves into dealing with difficult people. Titus was a young pastor with little experience outside traveling with Paul. They had done some ministry in Crete, and Paul had to leave, but Titus stayed behind to pastor the church. Paul sent a letter back to instructing Titus, which included protecting the church from some who didn’t have the best intentions.
Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
We need to stop believing that everyone is good at heart. You can hope for the best in people, but we need to understand that there will be those who don’t have pure intentions because they have a defiled mind. Pauls tells us in Romans 1 that this happens because the person exchanged the truth of God for a lie and abandoned God for idols of their own making. These people infiltrate the church because they are looking for an audience of people who can stroke their egos. A little discernment from the Holy Spirit can help you figure these people out.
It’s not our job to figure out who has pure intentions and who don’t. Matthew 7:1 tells us not to judge others. Those with impure intentions will be known by the fruit they bear. Pour into those with pure intentions. They will bear fruit that will last an eternity. Protect them from those wolves in sheep clothing. Stand firm in your faith as you oppose their opposition.