I think the term open-minded can sometimes mean two separate things. It can mean teachable and it can also mean hopelessly confused. I think teachability is essential. No one likes people who are unwilling to learn. If you are teachable, people are drawn to you. Being teachable is the only way to get a job, the only way to build relationships and the only way to grow in Christ .
But sometimes we confuse having an open mind with not believing anything/ believing everything you hear. Not believing and believing everything are the exact same thing because they both leave you like a boat in a hurricane. What happens to boats in hurricane? How well can you steer a boat when waves have half of the boat out of the water? Not useful at all because it has no control. The Bible tells us that sometimes we can be like that when don’t have any foundation of truth (Ephesians 4:11-15). The reality is there are a lot of ideas and lifestyles that can’t all be good. How do we know which ones are good for us?
2 Timothy 1:4 says this “Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.” If you are a Christian, then you have been given a task to guard the good truth that you have. Why? Because it can get stolen from you. It happens when we let our guard down and allow ourselves to be lied to about things that we know are true.
I have hung out with numerous students in my 5 years as a leader at Vox. I have seen tons of students meet with God, hear God or see God do something amazing and yet- years later they don’t know if they even still believe in God. The crazy thing is that they knew God and knew that He was as real as you and I. But at some point, they let their guard down and lies came in to steal the truth that was there.
When you begin to experience doubts, the best way to guard your heart is to look back and remember what you know to be true. For me, I look back to all the times God has answered my prayers, to times that I have seen God move powerfully, to the places I have been where I saw God heal people physically, and to all the times I’ve heard God speak to me. Those memories become my shield against lies. Pray and ask God’s Holy Spirit to help you. The Bible says he brings all things back to your memory.
Always be teachable- but never drop your guard.
This question came up this past week in VOX and so we wanted to cover it a little more in depth. Slavery in your mind is not what the Old Testament calls slavery. We see a better explanation in Deuteronomy 15:12-18 of what’s going on.
People who got into debt or who could no longer support their family, would sometimes sell themselves to someone to help bail them out. So a person in debt would give themselves as free labor in exchange that the person paid their debts. Or they would work for half pay, as long as the master paid for the essentials like food, clothing and a place to sleep. Biblical slavery was created to help the slave. After 6 years, God would make the masters set them free. And, he made the masters give stuff to the slaves so that they left better off than when they became slaves!
That is definitely not the slavery we think of. We think of kidnapping people based on discrimination and forcing them into harsh conditions while being allowed to beat them like they weren’t human. But God says kidnapping and selling people is worthy of a death penalty in Exodus 21:16 (in 1 Timothy 1:8-10 he compares slave traders to murderers). God says that none of us are better than anyone else in Galatians 3:28. So color discrimination is completely anti-God. And so is getting aggressive (Ephesians 6:9)
Historically, by the time the New Testament was being written (40-90 AD), the Roman government wasn’t controlled by God-loving people. So while the Old Testament tells Israel how to help people in debt get free in 6 years the New Testament is different. The New Testament tells christian slaves and christian masters how to make the best of it until something changes (1 Timothy 6:1-2, Ephesians 6:9, Colossians 4:1).
See God is a God who wants to set people free. He says in Galatians 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Because God wanted our freedom, God sent his son Jesus. In Jesus, we can be free!
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?