Young and Strong, Part 2

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11Command and teach these things. 12Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 13Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. 14Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. 15Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. 16Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.  1 Timothy 4:11-16

Sometimes we treat “youth” as an excuse for excess and for sin. So you are young and strong!? These are the days in which your process of digging a deep foundation for your life in the Gospel will open the way for you to lead and serve others. “Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.”

Paul wants Timothy to continue in his pastoral assignment in Ephesus without succumbing to a “I’m young” or “You are so young” point of view. Leadership under the grace of God is possible even as a young person. So Paul commends Timothy to keep a high view of himself because of the Gospel. Not just a high view of self-respect and self-leadership but also a large view of the character Jesus will reveal through his speech, conduct, love, faith and purity.

Timothy’s authority for leadership would not be his just because he had been given a position. The authority for the Gospel ministry came from the Scripture, so Paul tells him to “devote himself to the public reading of Scripture.” The power of the ministry wasn’t just his own power; it came from the gift of the Holy Spirit recognized and called out in the leadership of the Church. But, it is Timothy’s character being built by Christ that will  ultimately yield the lasting fruit. So, Paul tells this young and strong leader: watch your life and doctrine, for by so doing you save both yourself and your hearers.”

Keep a close watch on your life.  Keep a close watch on the content of your teaching.

In Relief

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12Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. 14Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Philippians 2:12-16

Shine like stars.

Darkness is not necessary for us to enjoy light. That’s how it is with Jesus. There is no darkness in Him. However, we are different story. The light of the stars is most obvious in the backdrop of darkness. In relief we see what the darkness cannot hide. So it will be with those of us who are being transformed by the grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. “In the midst of a crooked and twisted generation” we are to shine “as lights in the world” as we hold the “word of life.”

Messing with Artistic Detail and Reliefs 

I have reflected for days now on this art on the Chem building at UBC. Reliefs are easily muddied. And that’s what concerned the Apostle Paul. Going about our lives grumbling and disputing rather than leading into the challenges of this world with Jesus and from God’s perspective will easily cover up God’s glory in us. Grumbling has its sources: legalism, ignoring problems, unforgiveness, unbelief, bitterness, and rage. All loosen our grip on the Gospel and all cloud the glory of Jesus in and through our lives.

Hold fast to Jesus and work it out with Him!

The 6, 8, 10 Principles

How are you making lifestyle decisions?

How do you think about your life as a follower of Jesus?

Do you have a short list of “nots” or oughts? Or perhaps more helpful do you have a short list of questions to ask yourself?

A pastor during my university years shared a short list of questions drawn from 1 Corinthians 6, 8, and 10. On many occasions I have reflected on my life by considering these questions. Most lifestyle decisions I made ahead of the crisis moment by taking stock of God’s Word and these simple questions.

Could this action or substance take control of me?

12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. 13“Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 1 Corinthians 6:12-13

Could my action(s) cause another believer with whom I share fellowship to stumble?

11And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. 12Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble. 1 Corinthians 8:11-13

Is this action going to make a positive contribution to the life of another person? or How does this help build-up someone else?

23 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 24Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. 1 Corinthians 10:23-24

Can I pursue this course of action for the glory of God, displaying the glory of God?

31So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, 33just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. 1 Corinthians 10:31-33