The Work of Discipleship
When I was a young man, I ran in a marathon. Notice I did not say, “I ran a marathon.” Despite my disdain for running long distances, I joined a relay team because our church partnered with another very different church to “Run for Racial Reconciliation.” After all of the training, hydrating, and carb loading, I ran (and walked) 7.8 miles through my city. Each time I felt like I was ready to lay down on the pavement, I would come across either a water station or a prayer station. Which one do you think was more effective in helping me accomplish my objective of reaching the end of my segment? Hint: it wasn’t wet, but it sure was refreshing!
What are your objectives in this race of life? For what do you hunger? What quenches your metaphorical thirst? There are hundreds of answers to these questions, and although we are all different, only one thing can bring true satisfaction: glorifying and enjoying God. Now, how can glorifying God and enjoying Him go hand-in-hand, and how does this satisfy us?
In 1 Timothy 4:1-16, Paul is addressing the various errors of those who have rejected, abandoned, or distorted the faith (i.e., the doctrine of salvation by grace) and put on the shackles of legalism. Not eating certain foods and remaining unmarried were two examples of man-made rules that were intended to manipulate God by showing Him how pious they were. That neither glorified God, nor brought them enjoyment, “for everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer (vv. 4-5).” The problem is that the good gifts of God are sullied and abused by our sinful appetites.
That’s why growth in godliness is so important, “as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come (v. 8).” That is the key that enables us to glorify God and enjoy what he has given us in a righteous way. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied (Matt 5:6).” In everything that we do, from eating and drinking to our relationships, we can find true satisfaction in a right relationship with God.
- What do I run to for satisfaction? How long does that feeling of being pacified last? What consequences do I tend to face as a result of these choices?
- What are the areas of my life that I have not yet turned over to God for conversion to godliness?
- Where do I see hints of legalism in my life?
Pastor Aaron Lockhart