Monday, October 8, 2007
Devotional #11 (part 7 of 1 Timothy 4:12 study)
I hope all of you had a wonderful weekend and blessed Lord's Day! We have now come to part 6 in our devotional study on 1 Timothy 4:12, which says, "Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity." Today, we will be talking about us being an example in faith. If you have not been able to read the 5 previous devotionals in this series, please click here and read them in order. Then you can return here to read this one. I hope it is a blessing and encouragement to you!
In 1 Timothy 4:12, our Lord commands us to be an example to the believers in faith. As I was thinking about this devotional, and trying to decide what I would talk about, I didn't really know what to say. But yesterday at church, one of our wonderful pastors spoke on Matthew 8:23-27, "Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly a great tempest arose in the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, "Lord, save us! We are perishing!" But He said to them, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. So the men marveled, saying, 'Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?'". I've been familiar with this passage (as I'm sure you all have as well) since I was very little. But it truly took on a whole new light yesterday in church. It was such a wonderful, thought-provoking, and very convicting sermon! Now let's be honest for a minute. How many of us deal with worry? I, for one, am horrible with this! I at times find myself worrying over the tiniest little things-things that aren't even worth worrying over! And Christ makes it quite clear in His Word that worrying is nothing but sin. Why is it sin? Because when we worry, we are not trusting wholeheartedly and completely in Him! Our trust and faith in Him is wavering when we find ourselves worrying. We,by worrying, are saying to the Lord that we just cannot trust in Him, for our circumstances are just too overwhelming, our troubles are just too big, or our problems are just too horrible and unable to be overcome. But this, my dear sisters, is a slap in the face of Almighty God! He is the Creator of the world, the Savior of mankind, the Ruler of the universe, the Lord of lords and the King of Kings, yet He's not powerful enough to take care of us and our problems?? I don't think so! He is completely Sovereign and in control of all things. But do we truly believe that like we say we do? Because, I dare say, if we truly believed with our whole hearts that He is in complete control of all things, is sovereign over every little detail of our lives, and that everything that happens happens according to His will and His will alone, then we would be trusting wholeheartedly and completely in His plan for our lives. We would not be worried about what may happen in the future, because from day to day God is sovereign and nothing can ever happen to us apart from what His will is. And even in the hard, trying, sad and difficult periods of our lives, we would know that those trials and tribulations were for our good and His glory, and we wouldn't even worry during those times! Now, yes, we are human, and so would still tend to worry on occasion. But the fact is, if we truly believed all we say we do about Christ being in total control over our lives, then we would not be in worrying all the time! If we had faith the size of a mustard seed, we would know that no matter what happens to us, we are cared for by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! Even if we die, we are with Christ if we are Christians! Paul said in Philippians 1:21 "For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." Later in this same letter, Paul wrote, "Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content."[Phil. 1:11]. Paul was so trusting in the Lord that He had no worries! He was beaten, imprisoned, and tormented for the cause of Christ, but he knew that this was for God's glory, and that's all he cared about! He also knew that once this was all over and he was in heaven with his Savior, all of it would have been worth it to be in the presense of His Lord. Dispite what some very popular preachers say today(one in particular), our lives will not always be without grief, trial and tribulation. In fact, if we are truly Christ's, and if we are living a life completely for the Lord and His glory, then we will face persecution! The pagan and sinful world in which we live will think we're crazy! If we are not persecuted (be it by word, conduct, etc.) then we better examine ourselves to see whether or not we are truly living for Christ in all areas of our lives or not! But even in these times of persecution, Christ is still caring for us! We are under the Lord's guidance and care always-"For I will never leave you, nor forsake you." If we are always worrying, then that shows that we don't truly believe God's Word at all. Because if we did, we would meditate on all of His promises (such as the one just mentioned) and we would "sit back and relax" knowing that He is in control, has our best interests at heart, and has the best plan for our lives that we could imagine-far better than anything we could ever ask for, think about, or plan for ourselves. He will always provide for our every need, will always be there for us to offer encouragement and the strength to go on, and will always be right there by our side. The disiples in the above story knew full well who Christ was and what He was capable of (vs. 25). They had witness amazing miracles, such as blind people being made to see, water turned to wine, people raised from the dead, etc. yet they still didn't have faith in or fully trust in their Lord, or else they wouldn't have gotten themselves worked up over the storm. They would have known that He would care for them. Their testimony should not be ours! We are sinful, worrywart humans just like they were, yet we need to really obey the Lord and develop a child-like trustfulness in Him that transcends anything we may have to endure. We need to learn to have strong faith in Him at all times, for truly, He is the only one who can ever be completely trusted and relied on. It is a sin to worry and to not trust or have faith in Christ as we ought. But it is a sin that we all must attempt to overcome. Ask the Lord for help! He will develop in you that trustfulness that He desires for you to have! And be accountable! Any time you are worrying over something, go to your parents, talk with them about it, and ask them to pray for you! Above all else, seek out the Scriptures with your whole heart! Daily and diligently read His Word, meditate on it, and He will comfort you with His words, and will silent your fears, so that you too, may truly be an example to the believers by your faith in Him!