DATE POSTED: Saturday, June 3, 2023, and I was blessed to be at Gainesville, FL when God inspired me to write this blog post. My Footnote will tell you how to find, read or listen to any and all episodes that I have shared over the years.
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE FROM THE The Contemporary English Version (CEV) IS FOUND IN 1 Timothy 6:11-14
THE BIBLE TEXT IS: Timothy, you belong to God, so keep away from all these evil things. Try your best to please God and to be like him. Be faithful, loving, dependable, and gentle. Fight a good fight for the faith and claim eternal life. God offered it to you when you clearly told about your faith, while so many people listened. 13 Now I ask you to make a promise. Make it in the presence of God, who gives life to all, and in the presence of Christ Jesus, who openly told Pontius Pilate about his faith. 14 Promise to obey completely and fully all that you have been told until our Lord Jesus Christ returns.
THINK ABOUT THIS: Try comparing this advice by Paul, to that of our local churches, where salvation for a believer means one more added to the total number of decisions, and possibly one more candidate to be added to total baptisms for the church. It looks good on the pastor’s resume and the church may even be recognized by their regional headquarters for a good number of decisions and/or baptisms. But for Paul, he was seeking to help his ‘son’ in the ministry by giving him guidelines to help others in need of, or seeking salvation, and then to live more like Jesus. Perhaps we might see more effective and practicing Christians, if they were led in similar ways to how Paul led Timothy. Let’s look deeper.
HOW WE MIGHT APPLY THE WORD: In a normal household, children would be out of control if they were allowed to do their own thing and follow the crowd in deciding good from bad, and blessings over curses. Why, even for children today, they would be little terrors that might cause the general public to turn their heads on them, if they simply did what the average child practiced at school. I believe that the Holy Spirit was actively working in the mind of Paul as he sent Timothy out for ministry. Yes, it would be a source of relief for him, as the ministry was becoming overbearing for Paul alone. However, if you throw a good man at a church where everyone has their own opinion about how things should be done, then he might quickly discern that his desire to serve God’s people in God’s house, might be almost as challenging as taking on the challenges of a business in this mostly pagan world. Mind you, when I was in the working world, we sometimes chose to bring a replacement in and assume a job position without the privilege of training by the incumbent. This was because we didn’t want the new person to attain all of the negativity and bad habits of the person exiting that position. That may be a good explanation why church leaders choose to handle new Christians the way they do! For it is often said that new Christians are generally on fire for the Lord, until they rub shoulders with older Christians who quickly brings them down off that mountain of joy and happiness in the Lord! Sad, isn’t it? Instead of the many fancy core principles that pastors lead their churches to adopt, wouldn’t it be awesome to see us instead concentrate on the principles Paul taught Timothy to strive at developing? Paul warned Timothy to flee from the principles he had been warned about in earlier chapters, primarily the pursuit and purpose of wealth. But then Paul gave him some very important characteristics to pursue: a). Righteousness – being right with God in all walks of life; b). Godliness – no surprise here, for Christians must make every effort, and pray for help in living a godly, or God-like life; c). Faith – When you trust in, or rely upon, something or someone despite a lack of concrete proof. Salvation, which is purely a work of God’s grace, can be received only through faith; d). Love – Learn to show such admiration for God, and for those who share your faith, that the world will see pure, unadulterated love in action; e). Endurance – show your faith, love, and righteousness, not only around church and in the company of those who love you, but to everyone that surrounds you. Aim to live out Hebrews 12:1 ‘Lay aside every hindrance…… and run with endurance; and f). Gentleness – Although Christians have so much to feel all powerful and super excited about, but when we strive to live like Jesus, then we must learn to be quiet, if needed, even while being unfairly judged by the world. Although stronger than any lion, yet Jesus is often portrayed as a lamb, and we must follow in His example.
BLESSINGS WORTH NOTING: We must live like Jesus if we are truly His disciple. The world needs Jesus, not more of our attempts to improve our own self image.
PRAYER BECAUSE OF THE IMPACT OF TODAY’S SCRIPTURE: Precious Lord, I believe that way too often we wind up trying to improve our self image instead of imitating Your characteristics demonstrated on earth for us. Thank You for Your Word that so clearly gives us guidance, and I thank You that in Paul’s efforts to give guidance to Timothy, the Holy Spirit is also guiding us to take note and follow the guidance given by Paul. We have a long ways to go, and we need frequent reminders, especially when we are so easily distracted by the world. Please Lord, guide us with Your all-powerful hand into the way that You would have us to live so that unbelievers might catch a glimpse of You in action, and have a desire to accept You as Lord. AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: There’s another page on my website, entitled ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading or listening to this devotional, please go to this page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin or continue your walk with Jesus. If you would like to read more of my devotionals, or subscribe for a daily email containing each new devotional, please go online to NuggetsFromGodsWord.org. Go online to Apple Podcasts, or using the Apple Podcast app, simply search for Nuggets From God’s Word to hear more episodes, or click ‘Follow’ to be notified of Podcast updates. Please allow me to encourage you to find a church home near by your home and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!