Practical Proverbial, from 1 Timothy, 18 February 2019

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.  1 Timothy 6:11 (NIV).

Has anyone ever called you “man of God” (or “woman of God”)?   That hasn’t happened to me very often, and that’s ok.   I’d much rather wait to hear God say it to me Himself.   In the meantime, I hope I don’t dishonor Him with what I do going forward.   There isn’t much that can be done about bad things I’ve said and done in the past except pray with God and attempt restoration where possible.  But going forward is unwritten paper.   You and I can fill it with Godly pursuits.

Paul reminds us that those pursuits should include righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.   In fact, if I could impart just one good lesson to my kids and grandkids, except for “love God, then love your neighbor,” it would be verse 11.  Flee from unwholesome things because they’re trouble that can bring you down.   While fleeing from them, pursue other things that are wholesome, and do it in a way that has you pursuing righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.

That’s a recipe for a happy life, probably a long one.   Yet whether it’s long or short, it’s using our time and talents in living the way God intended for women and men to live.

Pursue righteousness.  Pursue every task in life being Christ-like, just, rightful, honest, and true.

Pursue godliness.   Follow Jesus.   Act like Jesus would.  Model thoughts and behaviors on Him.

Pursue faith.    Faith always provides hope and enough to get through even the toughest days.

Pursue love because anything done without love is done in vain, without God (because God is all love).

Pursue endurance.   Endurance requires honest courage, and honest courage is a gift from God.

Pursue gentleness because even a hard man should be able to relate to others in love, faith, and godliness.   Indeed, perhaps gentleness is the best way to deal with other people because even when toeing a hard line, one can do so gently.

All these things are the opposite of the love of money, or other petty behaviors Paul describes earlier in the book.  Just think of how peaceful our daily lives could be if we conducted our work, home lives, or social (media) interactions by adhering to Paul’s verse 11 advice!   I fall short in measuring up to Paul’s standard; how about you?

If we fall short, perhaps it’s time to admit that, seek forgiveness, then move forward in better ways…better ways described here today.  Maybe if we did that, more of us could describe each other as “man” or “woman of God.”

For further reading:   Galatians 5:22-23, 2 Timothy 3:17, 1 Timothy 2:2, 1 Corinthians 13, 1 Timothy 6:12.

Forgiving God, I have failed to exhibit these good behaviors.   Forgive me, and thank You for an opportunity to do better.   Guide me in doing this today.

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Practical Proverbial, from 1 Timothy, 13 February 2019

Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.  1 Timothy 6:9 (NIV).

I prefer to stay on the positive side of this verse.   Those who know me well will find this surprising.   In fact, my wife calls me “Eeyore” because I usually look on the downside of things.   For Everyday Dave, this verse would be a great place to stop.  It’s a lighthouse, warning of rocks just up ahead near the shore.  We’ll probably mess it up anyway.

But that’s an outlook I want to change.  The verse IS a lighthouse, and it’s one that calls us safely home.   Lately, I’ve been daily contemplating Galatians 5, specifically the verses about the fruits of the Spirit.  I read the verses and then look for ways to put them into practice each day, one per month while compounding them.   January was love month; February is love and joy; March will be love, joy, and peace.   You get the idea.  If you haven’t ever really contemplated them, check out Galatians 5:22-23.

Then put them into action because they are the opposite of what Paul describes in verse 9.   And if you think about it, they are the things Paul could say ARE worthy of our attention instead of desire for money, or running into the traps and temptations that lead to ruin and destruction.   How many of us could avoid pitfalls of sin if we would simply find better things on which to focus?   Let’s keep our eyes on the ways Jesus acts, then watch how things begin to improve.

If we are always looking for ways to get ahead, we probably will miss some of the signs around us that point us to ways we can get involved in what Jesus is doing.   Just prior to this verse, Paul had reminded Timothy to be content with only what God provides for our most basic needs.   Anything more than contentment can run the risk of walking the proud walk down the yellow brick road of temptation.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”  Man, those are things worth showing off to the world.   They’re the antidote to swallowing too much desire to get rich.   When we talk about focusing on Jesus, a great way to start doing that is by focusing on ways we can let His Spirit remake us around these behaviors He exhibits.  If we do that, when temptations come, it becomes easier to turn from them.   That’s a wealth worth having.

Eeyore might just agree.

For further reading:   Galatians 5:22-23, Proverbs 15:27, Proverbs 28:20, 1 Timothy 6:10.

Magnificent Lord, I’m not always a good follower.   I’ve turned my attention away from You.   Thank You for not turning away from Me, and I ask You to remake me in the ways of Your Spirit today.