At the end of Genesis 2 we are told that man and woman were designed to join together to be one, and that although they were naked, they had no shame. There was ultimate intimacy. There was nothing to fear or hold back from one another.
Of course, by the end of Genesis 3 everything has come undone. Husbands would rule over their wives, relationships would be confused through guilt and shame, and we would learn to blame each other, rather than face responsibility for what is ours.
Many years after Genesis, Jesus came. He highlighted the brokenness of family relationships (Matt 10:34-36), and that through him we could have real family (Matt 12:46-50).
1 Timothy 5:1-16 reminds us that through the foundation of Jesus we have family, as it was originally designed to be. We have the opportunity to relate to each other, without the confusion of guilt and shame. Our family does not need to look like an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond!
May we all learn to relate to each other in the shadow of the Cross. May we learn to treat each other as true brothers and sisters, looking to the example of the one who died so that relationships could be restored and renewed.
I have always struggled to feel like a grown up. All my life, whether I was 14, 24, 34 or 44, I have felt like a kid, albeit a large one!
I guess it is good to feel young at heart, but it has always troubled me as to what it was that caused me to feel like a kid. I have felt like an adult in certain situations, but I have always had an underlying feeling of not being an adult.
As I reflect now I realise that for much of my life I have not been acting like an adult. Not in the true sense of what it is to be a healthy, functioning, biblical adult.
I have decided in more recent times to start walking that fine line between taking ownership of my life (being an adult), and giving my life over to God (being His adult). I recognise that my life belongs to God, and yet I also recognise that he wants me to live it and take responsibility for what is mine.
In 1 Timothy 4:12 Paul tells Timothy to not let anyone look down on him because he is young. Instead he is to be an example for believers in his speech, conduct, love, faith and purity. In everything, really!
May we all take responsibility of our lives, as followers of the one who has bought our lives at a great price!
One of the traps that we are all in danger of falling into is that of not living your own life.
Us humans have a nasty habit of looking at what other people have, and wanting it for ourselves. Sometimes we don’t even look at a real life and want it. Sometimes we spend hours reading books or watching movies because we covet a life that is a work of fiction.
Apparently us humans long to feel like we have a purpose and a meaning. To truly satisfy this longing, we need to bring the reality of who we are to the world, and we need to pursue our purpose in the world. If we don’t, then we have only robbed ourselves of who we need to be.
Micah 6:8 reminds us why we are here. We are to seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God. What Micah 6:8 does not tell us is what that is going to look like for each of us individually. It does, however, tell us what underlies meaning and purpose.
May we all walk in truth and grace with humility. May you learn how to do this in the way that God has placed on your heart, so together we can each play our own part in living as the people of God in our time and place.
Does religion make a difference? Or is it like so many other things in life, like fad diets, wealth schemes, relaxation techniques and personal organisers that fail to deliver what they promise?
Ultimately, a fad diet, or a technique to organise your busy schedule is going to rely on you to see it through. It will only ever be as good as your self control.
If religion comes down to my self control, then it will never deliver. In 1 Timothy 3:16 Paul talks about the great mystery of our holiness—or as some translations say, the secret of our religion. The secret or mystery is Jesus. God in flesh, witnessed by many, believed throughout the world and taken to heaven.
But how does Jesus make a difference? How does he succeed where our self control fails?
There are several answers to this question which respond to different levels of the question. Jesus pays the price for my sin, making me holy. Yet, Jesus does more than that. Through His Spirit I am empowered to have better self control. Yet, even more than that, the reasons behind much of my sin (guilt, shame, insecurity) is also done away with.
May we rest more on the secret of Jesus so we might be Holy!
Are you caught up with the task of personal management, or are you investing in personal leadership? This can be the difference between surviving and thriving. God does not want us to just manage what he has given us (though this is still important). God wants us to be creative, passionate, and productive with what he has given us.
We see this clearly in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30). We are not to simply manage what we are given, but instead God wants us to step out of our comfort zone. He wants us to step into relationships and love. He wants us to step up to what is most important, and ultimately what we were designed for. His glory.
As the parable suggest, our view of God will influence how we do this (verses 24-25). To move forward in life; to be able to see when and where we can invest in others is to be in a place where we can give of ourselves. We need to be able to tap into a Heavenly Father who sows where he will not reap, who is not a hard task master, but one who offers a light load for those who follow him (Matthew 11:28-30).
May we all be moving from personal management to personal leadership today!