Weekly Devotional 4-23-18
The Walk of a “Good Minister of Jesus Christ”
We read from Paul’s first letter to Timothy, verses 1-8. “1Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 5for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. 6If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed. 7But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. 8For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.”
Timothy came to know the Lord through the ministry of the apostle Paul, and was spiritually nurtured by him in the faith. After being discipled for many years he was appointed as the pastor of the Ephesian church. There he would encounter heresy, licentiousness, and the rules of order within the young church. Paul warned Timothy that in the latter times some would depart from the faith giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron.
Certainly, this is as true today as it was in Timothy’s day. We, too, should guard against these things; in others as well as ourselves. Scripture teaches that a truly born again Christian cannot speak heretical words without being strongly convicted by the Holy Spirit against such speech, but it is possible. The Lord warns us, through the apostle Peter, to “be sober, to be vigilant; because your [our] adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (See 1st Peter 5:8). We are all vulnerable.
To guard against this, we should put on the whole armor of God (See Ephesians 6:10-18). We should continually walk in the power of the Holy Spirit (See Galatians 5:24). That is, we should depend on Him surrendering ourselves to His authority. If we depend upon ourselves, we will fail. We must always keep in mind, even though we have been given a new spiritual nature, we still have an old nature that is corrupt.
Turning back to Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, we read his Holy Spirit inspired words to them, and to us. “17This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20But you have not so learned Christ, 21if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. 25Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,’ for we are members of one another. 26Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27nor give place to the devil. 28Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 29Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:17-32).
Putting on the new man is not a one-time experience, but is an ongoing daily surrender to the authority of the Holy Spirit as He guides and directs our lives.
Transforming Power; The Work of God on Behalf of Man
All Scripture cited or used is from the NKJB