Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 24 August 18:
1. Job 37:1; 19 — “At this also my heart trembles and leaps out of its place…. Teach us what we shall say to him; we cannot draw up our case because of darkness.” Does God’s immeasurable greatness, power, and holiness leave you overwhelmed and speechless? Does the truth of who God is leave you humble and surrendered?
2. Job 37:24 — “Therefore men fear him; He does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit.” Many who won’t respond humbly, submissively, and obediently to God based on what is clearly revealed to us about Him through Creation and His word, look aimlessly for a more ‘special’ revelation, for a deeper enlightenment, a hidden revelation, for miraculous signs or miraculous abilities. Some search within God’s Bible for secret messages and codes, though they neglect the very simple commands within the Bible of love, forgiveness, charity, hospitality, worship, evangelism, evangelism, fellowship, and worship. For most, there is a massive chasm between knowing and doing, based on pride. “If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.” (John 7:17) “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
3. Job 38:4, 36 — “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?… Who has put wisdom in the inward parts or given understanding to the mind?…” How incredibly foolish is it for us, mere humans, to question God, to doubt Him, to challenge Him, to demand answers or proof from Him, to attempt to define Him, to make light of Him, to ignore Him, or to disobey Him?
4. Proverbs 24:17, 18 – “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the Lord see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him.” We are on a mission of reconciliation. God has called us to love and forgive our enemies, regardless of what they do to us, always hoping for their salvation from our hearts. If we rejoice in their punishment, we demonstrate that we do not have the heart of Jesus, that we don’t fully appreciate the grace we have received, and that Jesus is not truly the Lord of our hearts.
[Note: Here is a link to a video overview of 1 Timothy: https://youtu.be/7RoqnGcEjcs ]
5. 1 Timothy 1:2 – “To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” On behalf of Jesus, Paul offered others “grace, mercy, and peace.” Is that what you do? Also, Paul considered other Christians his family in the faith. Do you?
6. 1 Timothy 1:5 — “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” Love comes from 1) a pure heart, 2) a good conscience, and 3) a sincere faith. Since our greatest command is love, we should seriously consider where we sit on these three essential elements. Our Great Commandment from God is “love.” Our “charge” is love. So, naturally, since love is our life’s duty, given to us by God who IS love, we should strive to become experts, masters of love. We must be both students and practitioners, involving both diligent study and practice as we forget about our old lives and follow the Master of love. You can’t do what you don’t know, so, understanding God’s word on love is foundational to our sanctification. We cannot love apart from Biblical knowledge — to love we must be “transformed by the renewal of [our] mind[s].” (Romans 12:2) The Bible has much to teach us about true love, and we have much to learn as we have grown up in a world that teaches a type of love that is 180-out from God’s love. God is careful to remind us, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8, 9) We must forget what we thought we knew about love and our personal opinions about what love is and submit to God’s definition of love. How many verses in the Bible speak directly about love? Do you know them all? The Bible, however, is very clear that knowledge alone does not make us loving. In fact, knowledge that is not “of the Spirit” or applied in obedience (even knowledge about love) can be a prideful thing that “puffs up.” (1 Corinthians 8:1) Our aim is to “know (become one with) the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,” and to “be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:19) So, what does the Bible teach us about love today? Love comes “from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” These are powerful words. If we truly desire to obey God’s Great Commandment, we must relentless pursue purity — “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8) “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” (Psalm 119:9) If we truly desire to obey God’s Great Commandment, we must have a good conscience: “So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.” (Acts 24:16) How important is a clear conscience as we seek to walk with God? Jesus told us: “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23, 24) Finally, if you want to obey God’s Great Commandment, you must live by faith. “We walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7) “And without faith it is impossible to please him.” (Hebrews 11:6) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.” (Proverbs 3:5-7) Without faith, we will not be willing to take the great leaps required for purity and a clear conscience, and we will lack the confidence required to draw near to God. (Hebrews 11:6) How are you doing in the areas of purity, conscience, and faith? What is the quality of your love?
– John 21:15-17 — When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”
7. 1 Timothy 1:6, 7 – “Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.” Some are more focused on the study of God’s word than on the doing of God’s word. That is like being a sports commentator, having never played to game. You may be interesting to listen to, but you don’t put points on the scoreboard. Absolutely, you must know the game, but knowing is for doing, you must get on the field and move the ball forward.
8. 1 Timothy 1:8 – “Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully….” The Word of God must be used properly to be a blessing in someone’s life, drawing them closer to Jesus. Some use the word of God inappropriately and hurt other people. As Proverbs 26:9 says, “Like a thorn that goes up into the hand of a drunkard is a proverb in the mouth of fools.” To use the law lawfully, you must first be in obedience to the Greatest Commandment of love.
9. 1 Timothy 1:12 – “I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service….” God appoints the faithful to service, not the unfaithful. The fruit of the minister’s life reveals if they were really appointed by God or just an imposter.
10. 1 Timothy 1:13, 14 – “…though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” The ungodly sin out of ignorance (not that ignorance is an excuse); but those who have received God’s grace, have been given the power of the Holy Spirit, and continue in unrepentant sin profane the blood of Christ – “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay.’ And again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:26-31) To be clear, the Lord will judge His people.
11. 1 Timothy 1:18, 19 – “This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith….” God’s word helps us maintain the three elements required for love mentioned above.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 24 Aug 18: Today, evaluate yourself from the three qualities in 1 Tim 1:5. Pray for growth in these areas.