Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Characteristics of a Godly Life

As believers, we are called by God to live a godly life and to seek after His ways & not our own. In this passage, the Apostle Paul calls his protege', Timothy, to walk that path and to be the leader that sets the example for those he is teaching. However, what does that mean when you hear that you have been called to live a 'godly life' ? What do you think about when you hear that calling? Let's look at this Scripture to see just what it means to be called to a godly life!

1. Healthy respect for others/authority - v1-2
This attitude in this chapter was directed toward slaves and their actions toward their masters. Slaves desired freedom, but in the 1st century, slavery was a part of life, even as wrong as we see it now. Paul did not advocate slavery, as his letter to Philemon tells us. He desired the slaves to be set free, but that was a matter for the Holy Spirit to move in the hearts of the masters.

Here Paul speaks to the slaves about their focus, about their attitude, about how the world will see them. He tells them to show full respect to their masters. Why would he do this? Why would he not advocate for their freedom? Well the answer is that when Christ changes our lives it is a radical departure from the natural human viewpoint, and Paul knew that slaves who were showing true respect to their masters would gain attention and with this attention they would have the opportunity to share WHY they had this respect for their master... Jesus! This was a matter of a good witness for Christ!

This teaching applies to us today in that we are ALL under authority of some kind. Some of us feel like we are enslaved by those in authority over us, but we are called by Christ to show respect to those in authority over us, even when we don't believe they should be in authority over us... when we do this it is a great witness for Christ and Jesus can be shared!

2. Seek peace with each other/Avoid contention -- v4
Have you ever met someone who seems to always be at odds with others? They always seem to be arguing some point or trying to disprove some thing someone else has said. Here Paul is speaking about those who were teaching something other than the Gospel of Christ, and they were contentious and divisive in their actions and attitudes. They did not seek peace with their brothers, but sought to be proven right in their point. Their attitude did MUCH to stir up division and cause strife.

In this verse Paul says that they stir up arguments... that implies as willful action on their part to cause division. There is an agenda behind their actions and words. Paul tells us that people such as this are corrupt in their minds... in other words their mind is NOT focused on Christ or on things above, but on their own agendas.

In Colossians 3 Paul teaches that we should focus on the things of God and NOT the things of this world... focus on things eternal and not the things that will pass away! V5 in this passage tell us that these teachers were only focused on earthly treasures... a reward that would NOT last.

Our calling to a godly life must seek that which is eternal. This does not mean we cannot seek to better ourselves financially, but what it DOES mean is that our focus cannot be on the things of this world and making us more wealthy... our focus must be on Christ and His kingdom and on what will produce eternal fruit! Jesus said in John 14, "I am the way, the truth and the life... no man comes to the Father except thru Me!" Here Paul says that these who are focused on the earthly and on themselves have turned their back on the truth... they have turned their backs on Jesus, and are only concerned with their own lives. Paul tells Timothy that true godliness is content on where God places them... b/c we don't have anything when we get INTO this world and we are NOT going to take anything when we leave it... so be content with what God does provide you while you are here and seek to serve Him!

Money is not evil, but Paul tells us here that the LOVE of money leads us to ALL sorts of evil... we cannot love God and money is what Jesus said... we must be content in His provision and focused on His eternal plan.

3. Avoid EVIL... Seek holiness
This sounds almost TOO simple doesn't it? To live a godly life you need to avoid evil and seek holiness... But Paul reminds Timothy here that as a 'man of God' he should RUN from evil... The Greek word he uses means to 'get out quickly'... it does not mean to side step or swerve... it means to VACATE the premises (and quickly)

How often do we find ourselves thinking that we can handle the situation and that we can handle what is going on around us. After all we have Christ in us and we have been reading our Bible and we go to church... Let me ask you a question, does a fireman who is trained in how to combat and defeat fire, who has been trained in how to protect himself from fire and deliver himself from a fiery situation... does he walk into a fire casually and think to himself, "I could hang out here...I'm trained... I'm equipped... I can handle this!" Absolutely NOT! He may have to run INTO the fire to rescue someone, but he will NOT stay... he will FLEE the fire... he will always RUN from the fire! This is b/c the fireman understands the danger of the fire and how much damage the fire can cause. We must RUN from sin and ungodly behavior... just as the fireman runs from the fire!

However, just as we should RUN from unholy behavior/situations... we should also PURSUE holiness and righteousness. Holiness does not mean perfection, but it does mean that we accept and pursue God's plan for our lives. Holy is from the Greek word for being 'set aside' WE have been 'set aside' for God's purpose and plan... we are to pursue that plan... we are to pursue that purpose in our lives...THAT is seeking to live a holy life!

Paul mentions some characteristics of seeking that holy life... when we are seeking to live a life in pursuit of God's plan and purpose, our lives will be marked and driven by things like our faith in God, our love for Him and others, our perseverance in doing what is right and our gentle, but resolved spirit that seeks to see others come to know Christ!

Paul tells Timothy to 'fight the good fight' here and it means that this life is always going to be a battle...we war against this world and the Enemy seeking to destroy us, but we also battle against our own selfish and sinful desires! You know what I mean... Paul knew what that meant... Do you remember in his letter to the Romans when he said, "I know what I SHOULD do, but I do just the opposite! I know what I should NOT do, but I do it anyway... O Wretched man that I am! Who will save me from this terrible life? Jesus Christ!"

We are in a battle each and everyday and we are called to fight the good fight...fight FOR Christ and seek to live as He has called you! Fight to reveal Christ to those around you... fight off the desire to seek your own way or to NOT be obedient to God's calling... fight to share Christ when the Enemy puts roadblocks in your way...FIGHT to live that godly life God has called you to live!

4. Rely on God, not yourself... v17
To live a godly life, we must NOT believe we can do it! We must know that only thru Christ can we live as God wants us to live! No amount of talent, money or power on our part can help us... in fact when we rely on ourselves we set ourselves up for failure. When we trust in the things of this world, such as material wealth, it will always let us down! Instead our trust should be set squarely on God... and trusting in His guidance and plan. When we trust in God to live out our daily lives here in THIS life, it is pleasing to God and the more we trust Him the more He will reward us in the next life!

Don't rely on your own desires or accomplishments. Paul had every reason to think HIS life was enough, but he understood that the things of this life are NOT eternal and fade away, but when we focus on Christ and what is eternal, our lives will be pleasing to God.

To live a godly life... it is all about our focus! Our focus on God and His plan for our lives. To know His plan for your life you must be reading His word and praying daily for Him to speak to your heart... to know God's plan you must KNOW Him... Seek a godly life by actively reading His word, praying daily and LOOKING for the opportunities God is providing in your life!

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