“By pointing out such things to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, having nourished yourself on the words of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. But reject those myths fit only for the godless and gullible, and train yourself for godliness. For ”physical exercise has some value, but godliness is valuable in every way. It holds promise for the present life and for the life to come.“ This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance.”
One day a friend of mine, after talking about the latest wave of outrage on Facebook, asked me “What if nobody had to convince anybody of anything?”
If you hear that and, like I did, wonder what the point is of being on Facebook, you’re a part of to problem, not the solution.
Isn’t it great that Paul didn’t tell Timothy that he had to convince everyone of these things, but simply point them out? Timothy’s charge is to point to the truth, not to make everyone perform the way he wants.
We are good servants of Jesus when we are nourished on His words and then follow His good teaching. The foundation of that is that we ourselves are to be nourished in the words of Christ.
If I’m sustained by somebody else’s opinion, I’m going to go hungry. If I’m nourished by someone else’s obedience, I’m living off of the most artificial of processed foods.
And so we reject myths and over-complicated religious accouterments that people love to mix with Jesus. Sometimes ideas come up for “the better Christian life” or some principle that is a “good way to express your love for God.” Those are fine, but they aren’t Jesus Himself. As soon as any sacrament or tradition cuts off our contact with Jesus in exchange for the integrity of the sacrament, it becomes one of those myths that Paul said to throw away.
So we exercise and develop ourselves, but only as it helps us grow in Christ. Godliness helps us here, every day, and for every day into eternity. Sometimes the most convincing argument for something involving Christ is us living it out ourselves.
Live it out. Point out what you’re living to those that ask. Ask Jesus for more ways to live out His words. Repeat.
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