[thoughts] Serving the Lord Acceptably (June 7-13, 2010)
- To read my comments on the passage for
the International Bible Study, click here:
Pleasing to God
1 Thessalonians 2:1-12
SERVING THE LORD ACCEPTABLY
(1 Timothy 2)
INTRODUCTORY QUESTIONS TO CHEW
Am I in line with the "first of all" in verse 1?
What kind of limits do I practice in my praying?
Quiet, peaceable, godly, honest -- does that describe the life I've
chosen for myself?
For what purposes do I want such a life?
"Who will have all men to be saved..." (4) -- have I ever met the exception?
What does a woman (or man) adorned "with good works" (10) look like?
Have I ever met the exception to verse 11?
If I as a man and husband and father accept 1 Timothy 2:11-14, what
responsibilities am I acknowledging?
(originally written in November 2005)
"In like manner also...adorn themselves...with good works" (1 Timothy 2:8,9).
When I think of adornment, I think of a something intended to
enhance eye appeal. So I think of decals on a vehicle or on a
notebook. I might also think of suits, ties, sidewalk lights, jewelry,
sunglasses, and belts.
(Disclaimer: I don't believe all these things are automatically wrong
or always for adornment.)
So the idea that good works should be an adornment for Christians
is interesting to me. Good works enhance the believer's appeal to the
onlooker. Which raises two related questions:
- How well adorned am I?
- What is my "eye appeal" to those who know me?
However, thinking of good works merely as an adornment makes
them sound optional and even unnecessary. Like decals. Or white
letters on a tire.
Out of curiosity, I checked my Spanish Bible to see how it presents
this concept. Instead of adorn it uses clothe. Hmm. When it comes
to good works, Christianity is not a "clothing optional" spirituality!
Which raises a third question:
- How well-dressed am I?
(originally written in January 2006)
NOBODY SHOULD BE BEYOND OUR PRAYERS. I struggle with this:
"I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers,
intercessions...be made for all men" (1 Timothy 2:1). With more
than six billion people on the planet, how do I respond to this
exhortation?! Even if I cut the numbers back to my church family
alone (and I don't think God wants me to limit my praying that
way), I don't see how I can pray for everyone.
That's why I say, "Nobody should be beyond our prayers." When I
become aware of my need to pray for a particular individual, I
should pray. No matter who he is. No matter what she's said about
me. No matter the state of our relationship. I must pray for that
NOBODY SHOULD BE BEYOND OUR THANKSGIVING. Here is the missing piece
from the above verse: "and giving of thanks." Oh my! Give thanks
for everyone and anyone?! That strikes me as even more impossible
than praying for everyone! But that is what the Bible says, so
what's in this clause for me?
No matter who, no matter what -- purposefully find something for
which to give thanks. Is this a call to feel thankful? No, it seems to
be more of a call to give thanks, without regard to my feelings. I do
believe, though, that giving thanks can eventually lead to feeling
Regarding some people, this takes more than a little bit of thought
and effort. But I believe it can be done. I must decide today whether
to practice that or not. I was at a bruising meeting last night and
came home feeling brittle and betrayed. And I'm supposed to give
thanks for that person? Somehow, yes.
GOD'S HEART SHOULD MOTIVATE US TO PRAY. God wants "all men to be saved,
and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4). That is
God's vision. That is His mission. That is the yearning of His heart.
So He calls on us to supplicate, pray, intercede, and give thanks for
all men and for all in authority. Knowing God's vision, mission, and
yearning should motivate us to action. If we don't know His heart,
well, therein lies a clear way in which we ought to be praying for
INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS AFFECT OUR PRAYERS. "I will therefore that
men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting"
(1 Timothy 2:8). My Spanish Bible adds a different dimension to this by
using *contention* where the King James Version uses *doubting*.
How clean are the hands I offer God? Do I dare come before Him,
raising hands dripping with remains of the mud and manure I have
flung at someone? Dare I lift up to Him hands drenched with the
blood and gore of angry words and contentious attitudes?
This concludes my comments based on the alternate lesson
developed by Christian Light Publications. To read my comments on
the passage for the International Bible Study:
Pleasing to God
1 Thessalonians 2:1-12
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