Nothing moved him anymore. Though he ran one of the top skateboard teams in the world and had enjoyed lots of money, drugs, sex, and had dove headlong into every pleasure he chose, Ryan Ries felt empty.

One night he nearly died from a cocaine overdose. The next morning Ryan found a Gideon Bible in his hotel room and began reading it. In time, God’s grace seeped into Ryan’s broken, convicted heart and he placed his faith in Jesus. Today, he and his wife work with others to host events that are reaching people with God’s good news—helping them find real life while also breaking free from addictions and unhealthy lifestyles.

Paul knew he needed to help the believers in the church on Crete break free from an unhealthy, degenerate culture (Titus 1:12-13). Writing from Macedonia far to the north, he instructed his “true son in the faith” Titus to appoint godly, strong elders “in each town” on the island (Titus 1:4-5). He knew it was vital for the believers in Jesus, so young in their faith, to be reminded that it was God’s mercy (Titus 3:5) and grace (Titus 3:7) that brought about their salvation and led to their “doing good” things (Titus 3:8).

Mythological beliefs on Crete (Titus 1:14) at that time included the idea that Zeus had attained godhood by doing good things for people. Unlike Ryan, whose good deeds now flow from a heart transformed by God and are motivated by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:6-7), the fable of Zeus motivated people to do good so that they could be like their god.

Paul wrote that God “saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done,” but because of His mercy and grace (Titus 3:5). And today, by His Spirit, He motivates us to do good things so others can be moved to find real life in Him.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Acts 2:1-13