Monday, October 1, 2012

1 Timothy 5:22-25

Summary retelling of 1 Timothy 5:22-25

Paul then tells Timothy to not lay hands on people hastily, to not participate in the sins of other people, and to keep himself pure.  Then Paul gives Timothy a little real-world advice: drink a little wine each night to settle the stomach.  Paul tells Timothy that some sins are clearly evident and lead a person into judgment while some sins only become obvious after a person is already in judgment or a bad place.  Paul contrasts this by saying that good works are often obvious and even those that are not obvious are impossible to keep hidden for too long.

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
Paul gives a trio of advice in the beginning.  The second and the third pieces of advice are straightforward.  Don’t get mixed up in the sin of other people.  Keep yourself clean.  Easier said than done; but still pretty simple advice.  The first piece of advice that Paul gives is far more complex: don’t be hasty in the laying on of hands.  In other words, before you do something spiritual, take the time to make sure it is actually from God.  If we think about this, it does make sense.  Suppose I lay my hands on everyone who is sick, suffering, diseased, under persecution, etc.  Sure, some of those people may find themselves healed.  But many will not.  In that case, what happens to my reputation case is not good.  What happens to God’s reputation through my action is even worse!  However, if I take the time to discern where it is that God is at work in healing, then only those people whom God will heal are the ones I lay my hands upon.  Everyone is healed.  God’s name is clearly praised.  Although it may seem weird advice for Paul to say to Timothy, it really makes sense to tell people to take the time to discern first.

Have you ever acted before checking out to see if it is God’s plan first?  Even when you think something is good, how does it usually end when God isn’t in something?  On a different note, how hard is it to not get mixed up in the sins of other people?  Why is it so hard to keep ourselves pure?

Second Thought:
Paul also cautions Timothy about the sins of other people.  Some sins are really obvious and you can see them coming.  These are the sins where we can sit back, shake our head, and genuinely say that a person “got what is coming.”  {Sometimes that person is ourselves!}  However, other sins are really easy to keep covered up.  They start small.  They look innocent. They don’t appear to hurt anybody.  Then all of a sudden we find ourselves in a bad place and don’t know how we got there.  It’s usually only after sitting down and analyzing the recent history {oftentimes with someone else to give us perspective} that we can see how we ended up where we are.  Some sins are obviously dangerous from the beginning; others only appear dangerous after they’ve been given fertile ground within us to grow.

Can you think of a sin that is obviously bad from the first moment?  Can you think of a sin that seems innocent at first but as it grows it becomes more and more dangerous?  Which sin is harder for you to deal with?  Why?  Which type of sin has the potential to be the most destructive in your life?  Why?  {And no … the answer is not always the “innocent looking one.”}

Third Thought:
Paul then talks about good work.  Good works are works that are according to God’s agenda, not works that we think are good.  Good works are almost always observable.  Even those works which are not visible in the beginning very quickly become visible.  This is because good works bring glory to God’s name and we should not want to hide those kinds of works.  Works that are truly good are works that we should do with confidence.  We don’t do them for our glory – for then they would not be good anymore!  Rather, good works are obvious because we should want to participate in activities that bring glory to God’s name.

When you do good work, do you prefer to do the obvious ones or do you prefer to keep them secret?  Why do people oftentimes want to keep good works anonymous?  Why is it sometimes difficult when doing good works to make sure that it is God who receives the glory?

Passage for Tomorrow: 1 Timothy 6:1-2
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