I wonder if anyone has ever looked up and said “You know, I am living in the glory days of the Church” It’s possible…but it’s unlikely. While it’s easy to look around and complain about the problems in our churches, nation, and world right now, the reality is that there have always been problems to navigate. Ever since Adam and Eve at that fruit, God’s people have encountered an endless stream of challenges. Our problems today may look a little different, but we are far from the first to encounter problems. That may seem like some bummer news, but I don’t think it should be. First, since God’s people have always had problems in this broken world, the Bible is full of advice for how to navigate problems. Second, Christians have been having been navigating problems for over 2,000 years…and the Church is still around (and in many parts of the world, its growing exponentially). God must have some sort of plan to help us navigate our challenges. For the next seven weeks we are going to be looking at Paul’s first letter to Timothy. This is a letter full of advice for how to navigate life. This week we’ll start with how to navigate life: lifestyle matters.
Paul wrote this letter to his younger colleague Timothy, who had been sent to the city of Ephesus to help the church navigate some major problems. Ephesus was a large city known for its worship of the God Artemis and the richness of its trade. There were therefore no shortage of things to tempt Christ followers away from following Jesus. Paul therefore opens his letter by proclaiming that a Christ-like lifestyle matters.
As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, 4 nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. 5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion.1 Timothy 1:3-6
What Paul is saying is that how we live our life matters to God. God didn’t make us to follow the sinful and broken world around us. God didn’t make us to be miserable and to create misery for others. No, God made us with a much greater and important purpose. He made us to be devoted to Him and to others. Look again at verse five: The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. We should live our life from a heart that has been given fully over to Christ; a heart that has confessed our sins and received the forgiveness of God. We should living with a good conscience, knowing that we are truly aiming to follow God in all that we do. Finally, we should live with a sincere faith, not simply pretending to follow Christ, but instead following him in thoughts, words, and deed. I encourage to take a moment to reflect on your lifestyle. Is your lifestyle reflecting God? Are you living from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a since faith? If not, today is a great day to make a change. Your lifestyle matters to God: start taking steps to make it matter each and every day.