Paul says to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:11b-12a, “Strive for righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Run your best in the race of faith… “
Paul sets a high standard for Timothy. He wants Timothy to “strive” to achieve some very difficult things. He wants him to run his best race. Paul wants Timothy to walk that life that is lived in grace, but not to take grace lightly. Rather, to take grace on board seriously, realising the depths of God’s forgiveness, and to live accordingly.
Indeed, earlier in the chapter Paul has reminded Timothy of the importance of the words of Jesus and before the end of the letter urges him to keep safe what has been entrusted to his care. The Gospel of Jesus Christ—his death that has purchased our freedom - his resurrection that guarantees our eternal hope.
May we not move from the foundation of Jesus—his death and resurrection. May we run the race before us as best we can. May we give our lives as living sacrifices to the one who creator, saviour, Lord and King.
To Him be the glory as we live lives with hearts that have been changed by Him.
In Genesis 3 we are told that one of the reasons that Eve ate the fruit was because it was useful in attaining knowledge. Indeed, it was going to make her more like God, according to the serpent.
Why is power so appealing? Why do we yearn to be more than we are? Why do we have a desire to set ourselves above others, to be our own little god, ruling our own little world?
We were created to have meaning and purpose. The problem is that our hearts get confused about what meaning and purpose look like. To have power over another is not real meaning or purpose. Indeed, animals, dictators and kindergarten teachers can all put themselves into positions of absolute authority over others, but Jesus showed another way, that reflects meaning and purpose that lasts forever.
Jesus said, “...learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit.” (Matthew 11:29). Real meaning and fulfilment does not come from having the power to tell someone else what to do.
Jesus showed that real meaning came from choosing to take whatever it is that is yours (your life), and using it for the good of others and the glory of God.
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.