I had been in band from the time I was in fourth grade, but my sophomore year I was faced with a very tough decision. Do I stick with it or do I quit? The problem was that my teacher was very vocally abusive to me. It seemed like any chance she could get—she would pick on me in front of the class. At that point band wasn’t just about band but it was about my mental and emotional health. It became clear to me that although I loved playing the drums and the clarinet—it wasn’t healthy for me to continually be verbally assaulted.
Just like my situation with whether to stick with band or not, it’s not always easy to see the whole picture. There’s so much more to it, but it is a choice to look at what guides your decisions and to look at the whole picture.
The Whole Picture
Zig Ziglar described the whole picture well when he said, “When I discipline myself to eat properly, live morally, exercise regularly, grow mentally and spiritually, and not put any drugs or alcohol in my body, I have given myself the freedom to be at my best, perform at my best, and reap all the rewards that go along with it.”
Zig realized that the decisions that he made on purpose—led him to be The Best version of himself.
What Guides Your Decisions
As you think about what guides your decisions, the first thing you need to understand is that what you think guides what you feel, then your feelings guide how you act.
I am a Christian and for me, my faith in Jesus Christ is the answer to the question of “Why?” for every decision I make in my life. Just as Zig said, for me growing in my spiritual life “gives me the freedom” to be The Best Me and that includes a commitment to setting spiritual goals that guide my decisions. What I believe about myself, how the world began, why we are here—it is these types of questions that influence what I do. Some people refer to this as a worldview.
God’s Word: A Guide for Your Decisions
The basis for my decisions is the Truth that I find in God’s Word. One of my favorite passages is Titus 2 because it is an encouragement for how we are to live. There are some key things mentioned in this chapter that give direction for how you are to live—so that your decisions lead you to The Best You.
Let’s get started in looking at how Titus 2 can help you make better decisions that lead you to The Best You.
1. Building Character to be The Best You
Paul begins the chapter by charging Titus in the first verse to “Remind the people”. There are a number of words that are repeated over and over. Words that are repeated bear importance and need our attention. Here are just a few:
- at the command
- blameless (x2)
- not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient
- one who loves what is good
- self–controlled (x5)
- hold firmly to the trustworthy message
- encourage others by sound doctrine
- worthy of respect
- sound in faith, love, and endurance
- in everything set them an example by doing what is good
- eager to do what is good
- ready to do what is good
- the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared
All of these words and phrases are a very rich treasure box for building character for healthy living. The words blameless and self–controlled have been used multiple times in this passage. What about the phrase do(ing) what is good? Can you imagine a world that operated with these character qualities? What I appreciate is that these words point us in a direction of higher calling in the way that we live. They’ve helped give a clear understanding of the importance of living a life of reverence (2:3)—especially in this present age (2:12).
Just think, how many times has a topic of conversation included any of the above words or phrases?
2. Be The Best You by being the Leader You Would Follow
Who can find a person whose character exhibits these qualities found in Titus 2? Will you find these in today’s leadership? I long to be led by someone who is blameless, self–controlled, and eager to do what is good. Who wouldn’t? Although this is Paul’s pep talk for his leadership team, there is a prescription here for you too.
You are a leader and there is always someone who is looking to you for encouragement, direction, or hope. Sometimes these someones are your toddlers, other times it is a coworker, or maybe even a parent. Paul is encouraging you to be the leader you would follow.
3. Be Intentional to Become The Best You
Finally, Paul reminds us that these aspirations are well–meaning, but apart from the rebirth and renewal of the Holy Spirit (3:5), we [too will] remain foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures (3:3).
It is so much easier to be critical in the way that you live by being self–serving and as a result, you’re eager to point out the negative things in life.
Because it’s so easy instead, you can be grateful for the gift of the Word of God and be intentional to memorize and meditate—hiding His Word in your heart.
As you do these things, and as you respond in obedience to the work of the Holy Spirit, He will renew your mind and enable you to grow in your walk of reverence (2:3). It’s a new–found freedom in your conscious, knowing that He is empowering you. He is teaching you how to be blameless and you can live a self–controlled life with His help.
A Day of Freedom That Led to The Best Me
That day that I decided to take control in my life and quit band—a day of freedom for me. No longer was I subject to the negative criticism of my teacher. The words spoken about me were filled with her own personal hate and anger and I no longer was her scapegoat. My choice led me to the best version of myself. What did I end up doing? The thing that I love to do—help others. I started helping in the school office as an assistant and I loved every minute of it.
What are some decisions you can start making today, to be The Best You?