Titus 2:11-14 says that the grace of God has appeared in Jesus to redeem us to be a people for His own special possession who are zealous for good deeds.

Zealous for good deeds.

Ugh.

My tendency is to feel guilt thinking about what “good deeds” I need to be doing that I haven’t already done. But, I’m a Bible word study nerd and, as I was digging into this passage, I found freedom. First, here was a definition of grace that I’d never seen before. It’s used in this context because we are defined as His prized treasure, chosen by Him. Grace is God leaning toward us because He is disposed to bless us. And what does His leaning toward us do? Makes us zealous for good deeds. Here’s another cool/Bible-nerdy definition that I found: zealous means to boil over with passion. In other words, when we trust in Jesus, we get God leaning toward us, blessing us which causes us to boil over with passion to do good things.

In a class I took recently, my instructor asked me to recall an experience from my childhood where time melted away. I remembered being at my great aunt’s house (We called her Auntie) one Sunday evening when I was eight years old. The grownups were all in the family room watching Columbo or some other 70’s drama and I, having no interest in said drama, had forgotten to bring a book to read. Auntie was an avid reader and, sympathetic to my plight, offered me a choice from her vast library: To Kill a Mockingbird. I gladly accepted the book and was deeply grateful to Auntie for her ability to swiftly size up my reading skills and interest level. That experience began to unlock a realization for me about Auntie: she carried a fondness for me that was magnetic. I found myself wanting to go spend time with her, write her notes of encouragement, and bring her gifts—all because of the way she seemed to know me and speak into my life with comments like, “You’ve never known a stranger” and “You’ve got the same determination your grandmother had”.

When we catch a sense of God knowing us, leaning toward us to offer His good gifts to us, we don’t have to work hard to do good things; it’s natural for us to give back in the way we were created. However, sometimes the “shoulds” in our heads trump our would-be passions (“I should serve in X ministry because they need me,” or, “I should go feed the homeless.”) and we cool off instead of finding our boiling point! So, I want to offer some questions to discover how you can “boil over with passion”:

  • What is something you do that is easy for you but seems hard to others?
  • What is something you do that you lie awake thinking about how you can do it better? That you would do for free if no one ever paid you?
  • What was the last experience you had “doing” for the Lord in which time melted away for you?

My prayer is that you sense Him leaning toward you to bless you and that you find your boiling point!

This post was written by Shelli Jarvis from our Amarillo campus. To learn more about Shelli, please follow this link.