Monday, September 30, 2013

1 Timothy : How To Correct The Time Wasters

Apostle Paul is writing to Timothy, to remind him of the instructions he had given him concerning the church in Ephesus. Paul had to answer the call of the Spirit and go to Macedonia yet again, but his heart was still in Ephesus. He was aware of dangerous things that were happening so he left Timothy to take care of it. The problem was that people were wasting their time on things that did not help in their service to Jesus. A problem with which we are very familiar today.

Paul instructed Timothy to tell the people to stop wasting their time and then he gave him three subjects on which to focus his teaching:

You must teach people to have genuine love, as well as a good conscience and true faith. (1 Timothy 1:5)

We can assume that these are the three things that do assist us in our service to Jesus. It only makes sense, considering Jesus' instructions. Jesus told us that we must love as we have been loved by the Father and that by our love for each other the world would know we are his disciples. Just because someone fails in this love does not mean they are not a true follower but it can mean they are off track or have failed to mature in their walk.

A good conscience means a repentant heart. It means being open to the correction of the Spirit, knowing we aren't perfect but we are desiring to be like Jesus, knowing that correction is a good thing. We should not feel guilty about anything, having responded to the Spirit and dealt with all matters that are not honouring to Jesus. Offering forgiveness and seeking it should be a natural thing for us between us and God and us and others. This all adds up to a good conscience.

True faith means that we take God at his Word. Not a watered down, intellectual version of the promises but trusting that Jesus meant what he said. It is a faith that allows God to be God, in all the messiness that is sometimes involved. It is an absense of anxiety and fear. It is a life permeated by peace that comes with trust. Faith is believing that our Father loves us that much, that everything he said applies to us. It is trusting that if he has called us to something he will provide for that thing to be completed. No doubt. No complaining. No second guessing. No giving up because it looks dark. Pushing through until the task is completed no matter what it may cost us because it cost Jesus a whole lot more.

Paul says that merely talking about it is a waste of time and does not help us serve Jesus. It goes along with the current day saying, "Those who can, do; those who can't, teach." Paul warned Timothy:

There are some who have given up these for nothing but empty talk. They want to be teachers of the Law of Moses. But they don’t know what they are talking about, even though they think they do. (v. 6-7)

Just because someone calls themselves a teacher does not mean God called or anointed them to that position. Jesus told us the Kingdom's model of leadership is that of servanthood. So put it into action before you start teaching on it. Tough but true. Jesus modeled everything he taught, as did Paul.

So this is how people who are wasting their time on meaningless things are corrected with the Word of God. If we can't be corrected by the Word then there isn't much left. These are the three things that are important to allow the Spirit to develop maturity in us. These are the three things that will keep us focused on the priority of the Kingdom, that will help us serve Jesus. And we know that it is all about serving Jesus, being obedient to his commands. It is why we are here, not as free spirits but obedient solders in a mighty battle over the lost. Training in genuine love, a good conscience and true faith is what should occupy our days, no the time wasters that seem to have our attention now. Only those things that help us in our service to Jesus.

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