“Instead, they should show hospitality, love what is good, and be reasonable, ethical, godly, and self-controlled.” Titus 1:8 CEB
When I was 12 years old I was gifted with an old set of golf clubs. I had never played golf and had never really had any interest in golf. For the first twelve years of my life I lived in Kalamazoo, Michigan and followed the Detroit Lions, Detroit Tigers, and Detroit Red Wings. I didn’t know much of anything about golf. When I was twelve we moved to Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. At the time, Palm Beach Gardens would hail itself as the golf capital of the world. It still is the location of the headquarters of the PGA of America. Today there are more than 30 golf courses in the city of Palm Beach Gardens. Naturally, I would need to learn how to play golf. On Saturdays I would take my golf clubs and a bucket of balls to an open field near our home. I would hit golf balls from one end of the field to the other. I would then collect the balls and switch ends. I would do this for hours. I improved a little, but not as much as I wanted.
This is where I changed my tactics. My family could not afford a golf membership for me. I would need to improve on my own if I was going to improve. The only thing I knew to do at the time was to watch golf on television and see what the players were doing. This one man caught my attention. You may have heard of him, his name is Jack Nicklaus. He seemed to know what he was doing, so I studied him. I studied his swing, his approach to the different shots, and everything about him. I would then go back to the field on Saturdays and try to do what Jack Nicklaus had done. Of course, I couldn’t do exactly what Jack Nicklaus had done. Jack is arguably the greatest golfer to ever play the game. I did start getting better though. As I worked toward emulating Jack Nicklaus’ golf swing and approach to the game I saw definite improvement. I could actually play golf in the golf capital of the world.
In my adult life I have realized that this is the way I have learned a lot of things. I realized that in my younger years I learned how to waterski, slalom waterski, and barefoot waterski by emulating the way my uncle did these things. I have learned so many things through watching how others do them and emulating what they were doing. I have also learned through study, education, and the continuing pursuit of knowledge and best practices. Some of the greatest learning I have had in my life, however, has been through putting myself in close proximity to those from whom I could learn. In these situations, we watch and learn and then emulate what we see. This is a formula for growth and improvement in our personal, professional, and spiritual life. One question we can always ask is, “Who am I learning from and emulating?”
This is one of the main underlying themes in The Apostle Paul’s writings. Paul advises throughout his writing that we are all to emulate Christ. Paul also indicates to many of those to whom he writes that they should emulate him whenever they are in doubt about how to live out their faith. In Paul’s letter to Titus, he starts out by saying those who are leaders in the church should live a certain way. One of the ways he mentions is to live a Godly life. In order to live a Godly life, we need to study God [Father, Son, and Holy Spirt], put ourselves in close proximity to Jesus [John 15], and emulate Christ. This is a model for growing in our faith. This is the way we become more like God, in Jesus Christ. The more we work toward emulating Christ Jesus the more we become Godly. What are you doing every day to emulate Jesus?
This Sunday we begin a new message series looking at The Book of Titus. The series, entitled Godly, will help us explore what it means to live a Godly life in Jesus Christ. This is the goal of anyone who is a disciple of Jesus. I hope you will join us as the best is yet to come. I can’t wait to see you in church!