You have a giant paper due tomorrow. You haven’t gotten past the first 3 sentences. Instead of starting on sentence number 4 though, you find yourself noticing some dust on your desk. Thirty seconds later, and you are now 200% involved in the biggest cleaning operation your room has seen in years. You’re washing base boards, reorganizing your closet and decided that you’re going to repaint your room.
Here’s the major problem, we’ve ignored the thing that mattered most (the paper) for something that seemed more important in the moment (cleaning your room). We don’t just do it with tasks, we do it with people too.
In 1 Timothy 5, Paul is talking about how to practically take care of widows (verses 2-7). He was writing some good advice like: if the widow can live with her family and they’re financially stable, church people don’t need to give her money. Then, the very next verse says:
1 Timothy 5:8 But those who won’t care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith. Such people are worse than unbelievers.
The “but” is there as an interruption. Because just like avoiding our important paper, we sometimes forget that the most important people for us to care for is our family. And usually we do it because it’s easier. It’s usually way easier to comfort a friend than to comfort your parents.
All people have physical, emotional and spiritual needs. And we have responsibilities to help our families with these.
You know what happens when you begin to take care of the needs of those close to you? They begin to pour back into you. You’ll be more effective cleaning your room when your paper is finished. You’re a better friend, when your family is cared for.
Let’s be clear, I’m not talking about this:
I think there’s good reason for Christians to be physically healthy.
1. It makes you feel better
2. It helps you focus better
3. It helps you live longer
But, sometimes we get so obsessed with our physical workouts that we forget something.
1 Timothy 4:7-8 (MSG) says this:
“Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. You can count on this. Take it to heart.”
Running today is great. For today. But if you eat a piece of cake a week from now… that run is not helping. Physical health can only do a small bit to help your life.
Being physically strong can’t help you pray for a friend. Having a six-pack is completely useless when you feel broken. Having no tan lines means nothing when you want to encourage someone.
But training in godliness lasts forever. If you stay spiritually fit, you’ll be better at everything! Don’t get spiritually lazy! Take care of yourself! And hey, maybe do something physical too.
1 Timothy 1:17
“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
The psalmist writes in Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” Here in Timothy, we have a beautiful example of Paul stopping to worship his King. He uses very similar words to praise God in his other letters often, which suggests that these aspects of God are meaningful to Paul. Then, he ends the phrase with “Amen.” There’s a break and pause, where Paul is caught up in the excitement of God that he begins to worship.
1 Timothy 1:18
“Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well…”
Samuel Johnson once said “People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.” Paul tells Timothy to remember the prophecies and godly words spoken over his life. Why? Because during hard times, we easily forget the good things of God that were promised over our lives. To survive in this life, to fight spiritual battles well, we must remember who God says you are.
See you at VOX today at 3:00 PM for a devotional from our leaders!
1 Timothy 1:15-16
“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.”
Paul calls himself the worst of sinners. He was to Christians, as Hitler was to the Jews. He orchestrated the murder of Christians until he got saved. Incredible. The man responsible for the murder of God’s people, God wanted to save. It shows that anyone can come to know Christ, even when we think we are “the worst of sinners.”
1 Timothy 1:1
“1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope…”
This is the part that we usually skip over: that intro that looks like Paul just saying nothing, but it’s actually super important. Paul is stating who he is and what gives him the right to be there. He’s not just a guy; God has given him a role (apostle), authority, and responsibility (command of God). God has given each of us roles and responsibilities. Are you, like Paul, living with the role and responsibility that God has given you?