1Tim. 4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,
1Tim. 4:2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared,
1Tim. 4:3 who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
1Tim. 4:4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,
1Tim. 4:5 for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.
It’s easy to get caught up in cool stuff. I just saw a post on Twitter that said “Here are your 8 best productivity tips to do what 99% of other people don’t do!” It was the same list that all of those people always list. It would have been more productive for me not to click the link and read that whole list all over again!
Jesus said, “the work of God is this: believe in the One He sent.” That might seem all too easy for people that are really looking hard for some complex religious experience. How am I going to become an expert at spirituality if all I have to do is believe in Jesus? How am I going to lose weight, have whiter teeth, become a millionaire, and have 2.5 happy children if the work of God is as simple and lame as “believe?”!
So there is an attraction to methods and processes and rules. “Man, I heard he prays for 14 hours a day before he goes to work in the morning!” Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? “He was so holy he could fast and live off of a single grain of rice a day!” Wow. Holy.
Paul calls that stuff the teaching of demons. Insincere. Liars with seared, cauterized, burnt so bad they have no feeling—consciences. Jesus said the Pharisees that did that heaped up people with big loads of sticks and then made no effort to help the people carry them. Rules on Rules. Sticks on Sticks. Kindling on top of Kindling.
God created stuff to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. There used to be a whole list of things Christians didn’t do that they now do. I hope it’s out of freedom and not apathy.
But what if it was out of thanksgiving? What if things that the world invented, that aren’t sin, were actually made holy because Christians infused it with rejoicing in the Lord and made it an opportunity for prayer? I don’t mean some sort of exploitive takeover, but a sincere gathering.
Like praising God for the miracles in creation while at the Zoo?
Like breaking out into spontaneous praise at the park because the sunset is so beautiful? The park isn’t “Christian” but a lot of the people at the park are!
Or maybe praying for healing on the court after an injury (or after the game for all of the aches and pains we’re going to have tomorrow morning!). The basketball isn’t Christian, but the people playing are.
All of this is part of God’s process of making us and our environment holy.
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