Scripture: Titus 2:1-15 (NIV)
You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive. For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.
“Control, control, you must learn control!” Yoda speaks this to Luke when, distracted by a vision, Luke drops everything he is levitating–literally–to deal with it. We talked about this some on Wednesday, looking at what discipline and the lack thereof can bring to a person. When Luke is able to control his actions, focus on what is important, he can do amazing things. When he lets things impede on that control, everything comes crashing down.
Paradoxically for the Christian, gaining control mainly means surrendering it. As Leia says to Governor Tarkin, “the more you tighten your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.” When we try to tighten our grip, things get more and more chaotic because, to be frank, we’re not big enough to control things in this world. Turning that control over to the Creator of the world, however, allows us to know that things are going to turn out the right way (whatever that may be) and we can look to control the one thing we can manage–ourselves.
Keeping ourselves in control helps us deal with the chaos that is everyday life and the people in it with more grace and less flare-ups. Our witness is much more effective when people look at us with gratitude and good humor rather than pointing out hypocrisy! As First Peter 3:10 says, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.” Controlling ourselves and our actions is tough, but is part of our calling as Christians and one that the world can see if we fail.