Ecclesiastes 1:9 “That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.”
This week, Michael writes that there is nothing new under the sun. The devil is up to his old tricks. Civilizations and cultures rise and fall. However, the word of the Lord lives and abides forever.
In 1 Timothy 6is Paul's exhortation to Timothy is to be a "man of God." This term is used seventy times in the Old Testament and always refers to a "messenger of God." A man or woman of God delivers God's message. When the Word of God was imprinted in our hearts, we became God's messengers ... "living epistles" bringing letters from God known and read of all men and women.
The process of life in a sin-filled fallen world is a series of success and failures. The Christian life is full of failure because we're all human ... we must contend with our sin nature, for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Thank God that He is a God of mercy. He forgives us even though we don't deserve it. The key is to focus on our Lord and not on ourselves. In 1 Timothy, Paul was training his "son in the faith", his beloved follower Timothy, to take over the leadership of the church. Paul reminded Timothy that false teachers are "destitute of the truth" and have evil suspicions. They encourage the pursuit of financial gain and worldly riches. However, godliness, not money, is profitable for great gain when accompanied by contentment.
1 Timothy 6:3-9, “If any man teaches otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strife of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmising, perverse disputing of people of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that (monetary) gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.”
The goal of many in America is to get rich. Worldly riches are part of the "American Dream." Many men in America have sacrificed their families for the pursuit of material riches. According to 2 Timothy 3:1-2, Paul said “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,”
In verse 11, Paul says, "flee from these things, you man of God." The key is to follow after righteousness and practice what you need to do as a man of God. Practice makes perfect. This is why God gave us His Word, that the man and woman of God may be perfect, thoroughly perfected unto all good works. A man or woman of God needs to make the decision to know what to flee from and what to pursue. God gives us the ability to control what enters our minds. It's not money that's the root of all evil, rather it's the “Love of money”. What do you love most? What you love most, you will pursue. How do you flee from the pursuit of riches? According to verse 11, Likewise it's what you love that counts.“But you, O man of God, flee from these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.”
According to verse 10, “But you have fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,”
We need to be mindful of that which we pursue. How do we pursue righteousness? It means pursuing that which God says to pursue. It means to give that which God requires. It means to give unto Cesar that which is Cesar's and to God that which is God's.
God has called us to pursue godliness. This means that all of life is lived in the presence of Omnipresent God. The question for a man and woman of God is, "Do you want to spend the rest of your life learning to become just like Jesus?" If the answer is yes, this is the pursuit of godliness. We pursue godliness because we rest in the assurance that God's a “good” Father and that Father knows best. When we establish in our heart that God is good, then it is our joy and we rejoice to serve Him. Even though we have heartbreak and pain in our lives, these are opportunities that God has given us to know that His grace is sufficient. For thy strength is made perfect in my weakness. As John the Baptist said, "I must decrease that He may increase."
The Christian life doesn’t' make sense from an earthly perspective. The paradox is in that giving the earthly perspective away, we will be blessed even more abundantly. The issue is whether we are living according to fear or faith.
The challenge is to flee from sin which tempts us. Cry out to God and He will rescue us. Casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you. Turn your passion to the Word of God, which lives and abides forever. As we delve into the Word, He will give us the hunger and thirst for righteousness and the pursuit of godliness ... to choke in the dust of people of God, who are in hot pursuit of their Lord Jesus Christ.
May God richly bless you,
Your brother in Christ, Michael