Pursue Godliness

[pursue] godliness 1 Timothy 6:11c

Earlier we learned that “godliness with contentment is great gain.” Paul now wants us to pursue godliness. So, what is it? It is letting God live through us so that we are god-like. We’re not divine in the least, but we can live God out in our lives.

For many years the letters WWJD was very popular. What Would Jesus Do? It was taken from a Charles Sheldon book, “In His Steps.” It’s asking ourselves if Jesus were right here right now, what would He do? Unfortunately the meme died out and it became a joke to many.

In today’s devotional, I take the same turn. What would God do in this situation? Letting God live through us demands that we ask that question. It affects our speech, eating and drinking habits, actions (including driving), writing (anonymous forum and blog posts included), and our thoughts. We can’t escape Him even though we momentarily forget about Him.

But we can hear Him calling out, “Pursue Me. Pursue godliness. It’s worth it. I’m worth it. Never stop that pursuit. Seek me, find me for I am not that far away.”

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Pursue Righteousness

and pursue righteousness, 1 Timothy 6:11b

To be righteous is to be right with God. Pursing righteousness is realizing we are sinful and cannot please God. We need help. If we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are saved.

Pursuing righteousness doesn’t mean we have to be saved every day. If we are fleeing from some of the sinful behavior we talked about recently, we need to flee towards something. That “something” is holy and right living. As believers, we will bear fruit. When we begin to bear fruit (such as those listed in Galatians 5:22-23), we will desire holiness. But we still need the Holy Spirit to empower us, because apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5).

So, pursue righteousness today and every day. Ask the Spirit of God to empower you to live a Godly and faithful life.

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11 But you, man of God, flee from all this. 1 Timothy 6:11a

We live in a world full of “trappings.” If we’re not careful we can easily get caught up in it and forget why we’re here. Remember Hebrews 13:14: For this world is not our home; we are looking forward to our everlasting home in heaven.

So, how do we do just that? How do we flee from the trappings on this world? Over the next few days, we’ll discuss that. You can certainly read ahead if you want! The thing is, since this world doesn’t stop, we need to take these things to heart regularly. It’s not as if we can do it once and forget about it. If that were the case, our lives would be care free and easy.

Instead, we must daily flee from the trappings and pursue the things of God. It’s worth the pursuit; it really is.

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The Love of Money

9 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. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Timothy 6:9-10

Most of us don’t have to worry about getting rich because we’re not on a trajectory to do so. Of course, many people outside the United States would say that we are very wealthy. We’ve seen the trappings and seductions of the rich and famous. The Bible takes it a few steps forward. It says it can cause ruin and destruction. We’ve all seen it happen. Someone we encouraged to come to the States from Mongolia walked away from the faith after being here a short while. There may have been other factors than just wealth involved but it led her away.

The wealthy have money so they need eternal security or God. They think that their wealthy reign will never end. That’s why it’s difficult to preach to the wealthy. If you remember, the Bible talks a lot about giving to the poor, helping the poor, and making sure the poor is not mistreated. Often they need a hand. Not so the wealthy. Instead, Scripture talks extensively about the wealthy not abusing or taking advantage of the poor.

Today’s word is just a healthy reminder that money is necessary but too much of it can cause a lot of unwanted problems.

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Alaska Versus Texas

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 1 Timothy 6:6-8

How many of us are contented with just food and clothing? Ooo. That’s a tough one, isn’t it? That sharply contrasts our society, which says more more more inside and outside our churches. The more inside church is yet another building project to be used for more ministry. Of course the more outside our churches is how business gets done. One business grows and needs a new building, so up it goes. Bigger and better. It’s also how jobs are created in society so I’m certainly not knocking business.

Marketing screams “more” or “better” or “you deserve it.” So where then is the balance?

I live in one of the wealthiest cities in America. In Texas, everything bigger must be better so they build things bigger down here. They know it and they brag about it here. To note, I live across the street from the most expensive high school football stadium in the country ($63 million). Well, the neighboring city to the north built an even larger and more expensive stadium this year.

Contrast that to an even larger State in the country, Alaska. They know they’re the largest but they don’t need to brag about it. The entire State of Texas could fit inside Alaska and then some. They are contented with who they are and what they do. The millionaire next door might live in a log cabin. It’s just how they roll up there.

We need to be reminded about our role on this earth. It’s not to get more and more things. Dying with the most toys doesn’t win a thing.

Think of the things you own. Are you content with those or do you need bigger and better? Do you even need them? Are you contented with your kids or are you pushing them to be something towards what you want instead of what they want?

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False Teachers and the Love of Money

These are the things you are to teach and insist on. 3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. 1 Timothy 6:3-5

We’ve certainly dealt with the topic of false teachers over the past few weeks. You’d think that after the televangelist scandals in the 1990s that they’d at least realize the perception of wealth and riches are to outsiders. Most of the churches I’ve attended over the years are almost required to apologize when they ask for tithes and offerings because they don’t want to seem like that’s all they want. And yet many of the national televangelists still cajole, guilt, and coerce people into giving exorbitant amounts for their new (or second) jet, as an example.

I can’t possibly imagine what the Lord has in store for these greedy, money-hungry, conniving people. Unfortunately, though, they’ve made it that much more difficult to preach the true gospel because now we have to distance ourselves from them.

I think there’s a lesson here for each of us. When you’re in a position of power, you have more persuasion power than you think. People will hang on your every word, so make sure it’s the truth.

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All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. 2 Those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers and are devoted to the welfare of their slaves. 1 Timothy 6:1-2

The closest relational analogy we have of a master/slave relationship is that of employer/employee. As employees we should make our employers shine, so to speak, whether or not they are believers. If they are believers, we will want to work harder foo their benefit.

The flip side, of course, is that of the employers. You want to create an environment so your employees want to come to work each day. I recall a job I had while in Bible school. Many students were recruited to work in a factory-type, assembly line setting for a company owned by Christians. Midway through the day, the supervisor said, “I don’t mind you talking, but don’t slow down your pace because of it.” Up to that point, we had enjoyed the work. Needless to say, she had a hard time recruiting next time that type of work became available. It was a cold and demotivating thing to say to workers who were hustling to get the work done.

How are you treating your boss?

How are you treating your workers?

If it’s anything but with the utmost respect, then it’s time to revisit attitudes.

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Nothing Hidden

24 The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. 25 In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden forever. 1 Timothy 5:24-25

Paul re-emphasized the idea that nothing is ever hidden in God’s sight: sin, actions, words, thoughts. It brings great comfort and concern. On the one hand, He sees everything. On the other, He sees everything!

So, many of you are out there trudging through your day, doing what you always do with your family and friends. You get snubbed by some of your friends for your beliefs or not doing things on Sundays. It seems the world is against you at every turn. The culture is quickly sliding down a greased pole into depravity and immorality. But you keep pressing on. Your deeds and words are seen and heard. You’re doing exactly waht you’re supposed to be doing. The Christin life is not easy, but it is doable with the help of the Holy Spirit each step of the way.

Recall that contemporary song we sing in our churches:

Every step I take in you, you are my way Jesus
Every breath I breathe in you.

So, allow me to encourage you to just keep doing what you’re doing. Day by day. Hour by hour. Don’t be discouraged or disheartened. Embrace the journey He has placed you on.

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23 Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses. 1 Timothy 5:23

It’s obvious that the water during that time was nowhere able to drink than it is now. Many diseases have been spread through the water ways. And yet it is the one basic element we all need to survive. The earth is 3/5ths covered with water, much of it is not potable in its present state.

Right now I know of two countries and one State that could benefit from desalinization plants, but they refuse to build the infrastructure. Those industrial-sized plants would purify sea water enough to drink, bathe, wash clothes, and any other activity requiring clean water. At this point in time, desalinzation is a known technique used to separate salt from water. Many countries are using it successfully.

The nation of Israel has offered to help Iran and South Africa in this endeavor since they were in the same situation 10 years ago. For whatever reason, the leaders in those countries refuse to allow Israel to help them. That’s truly sad. The looming water crisis is entirely unavoidable.

God is still moving in Iran and South Africa. Many believers (and non-believers) must suffer because of anti-Semitic hatred. The believers in those two countries are also persecuted for their faith. Pray first that God will open up the doors for evangelists to enter Iran. Its leaders have suppressed the people for far too long. Pray also for enterprising believers in South Africa to be bold in their faith as they are going through the mess of this year’s drought.

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