Journal 1 Tim 3 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “…I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God—which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.” 1 Tim 3:14b-15
Observation: Key phrase: “…how one ought to behave in the household of God…” While there are instructions, descriptions, and qualifications for elders and deacons, this imperative (vital, crucial, essential) phrase ought to dominate thoughts of every believer.
Analysis: I think it is easy to download the “List”; the checkoffs that give people like me objective points to judge on whether a man can measure up to be an elder or a deacon. It is a measure for the face in the mirror as well.
The only one that I have taken a stand on is the recent convert point. And, even on that, I hold it loosely. I am satisfied that in this time of my life, I don’t have to make those decisions…
However, I don’t get to skip over Chapter 3 because I am neither an elder or deacon, because the list that Paul shares to Timothy is the same list that applies to everybody in the house of God. And it is highlighted by this statement:
“You may know how one ought to behave in the household of God.”
This sounds very familiar to me from Paul’s letters:
- “…in a way worthy of the saints…” Ro 16:2
- “…to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called…” Eph 4:1
- “…let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ…” Phil 1:27
- “…so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God…” Col 1:10
- “…walk in a manner worthy of God…” 1 Thes 2:12
- “…make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good…” 2 Thes 1:11
Therefore, behavior matters. Not only behavior but resolve. Resolve to what? Resolve to walk in holiness. “Walking worthy of the Gospel” is meant to mean: “Is it appropriate, according to my displayed behavior, to be called a “follower of Christ?””
I am reminded of a document: Jonathon Edwards’ 70 resolutions. I need to look at these every so often. I have them printed out and bound in a notebook. I recommend this practice.
If I am not comparing my behavior (in every aspect of life) to the Word of God, listening to the Holy Spirit, studying and emphasizing my progression as a believer of the Gospel, looking to and embracing what the scriptures say holiness is, then somewhere I have skipped a beat.
Prayer: Lord, somewhere in writing this the word “idolatry” is pulsing between my ears. I cannot ascribe that word to others—I must ascribe that to the face in the mirror first. Help me to walk worthy of the gospel and treat others gently and with grace/mercy.
Cause revival, O Lord. AMEN