When I Swore Loudly at the Gym
For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. Titus 1:7-8
I said a bad word the other day at the gym. Actually, I yelled it. I’ve got a knee that’s been bothering me, and when I injured it, I responded with a loud expletive. I didn’t take God’s name in vain, but I used an ugly word that raised the eyebrows of others in the room. It was an involuntary response that simply exploded out of me. It’s a word I allow myself to use occasionally when I’m alone, but it didn’t remain in my private thoughts and when it erupted loudly in a room full of people who know that I’m a Christian, I immediately regretted it.
It may be somewhat amusing when it comes to my outburst at the gym, but there’s more at stake here than just foul language. What comes out of me is that which is within me. Who am I? Am I who I want to be – who God wants me to be? If not, how do I get there?
When we’re kids, we all have some idea of what we want to be when we grow up. Usually, it’s some silly dream that we eventually abandon. As we mature, we develop realistic goals, and we work towards them. I didn’t become a physician by accident. I became one by spending my life working towards that goal.
We all do this. We have something that we want, and we work towards it. Rarely though, do we purposefully aim for those things in life that truly matter. We don’t say, When I grow up, I want to be humble, patient, sober, generous, hospitable, self-controlled, upright, and disciplined. We don’t just naturally work towards those things. According to today’s passage though, those are exactly the kinds of things we should work on as followers of Christ.
It’s a long list of character traits – all with which I need help. How can I possible become all those things? I only have so much time in the day. Fortunately, it’s not that complicated. As it turns out, following me generally leads me away from who I should be and following Christ makes me what I should be. So, daily, many times a day, I must ask myself, What does God want me to do here? Then, I must do it. As I follow him, he gradually transforms me into that which I was made to be. And, as my outburst at the gym revealed, I’ve still got some work to do.