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    Prayer and fasting 21 days – 1 Tim 6 

    By Ps Simon Smailus

    Sound teaching is not just ideas and words to inform our minds but carries grace to encourage and challenge us to live godly lives.  Sound teaching is about godliness, not philosophy.  It is about being good employees.  It is about loving God not money and handling money wisely as stewards.

    Paul encourages Timothy to stand up and fight spiritual battles in faith, through living righteously and declaring the truth.

    Lord, please enable me to live with integrity in every circumstance.  Help me to keep my eyes on You and thank You for what You provide, not to seek anxiously after money or possessions.

    Further reflection

    This final chapter continues to emphasise our conduct. The first specific focus is on how we serve our employer. In Paul’s day many people served as slaves and their conditions could range from harsh to being trusted and well looked after. Our context is different, but the principle of how we serve still applies. It doesn’t matter if we have a good or bad boss, we serve them with full respect just as if we were serving the Lord. This of course does not mean we join them in sin or excuse poor management, but we treat them with respect and work to the best of our ability so that Christ is honoured.

    We cannot get away from the emphasis on living godly lives in this letter. The whole purpose of Paul’s teaching is to promote a godly life. Our Western culture is influenced by Greek culture which had a worldview separating the mind from the body. The effect today is that people think if they understand a thing they possess it, but this is not the case. Teaching is not only meant to feed the mind, but spring us into action so that what is taught becomes a practical reality. Our whole being needs to be involved.

    Paul encourages us with an explanation why we need to pursue godliness. Apart from the obvious obedience to Christ and God he tells us that, “true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.”Those who possess godliness are rich indeed states Paul. The reason behind this is that many of those around us in the world are never content with what they have. People are running after more things. When we were born we came with nothing and when we die we leave with nothing. To be content with what we have; which comes from godliness; is therefore great riches as it frees us from the tyranny of possessions and the pursuit of wealth.

    This leads us to one of the most famously misquoted scriptures in the Bible, “money is the root of all evil”. Actually that is not what Paul wrote. Paul wrote, “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.”  That one word “love” makes all the difference in the world. At the root of many of the world’s wars, conflicts, injustices and ills is this love of money.

    Paul points out that, “some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” This should be a stark warning for us. Let us not get entangled in the world craving for wealth. Let us instead pursue godliness and find great contentment. This means the Christians will, “not … trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.” This cannot be understated, the pursuit of wealth and money is the surest way to ungodliness and unhappiness that there is. If your desire is for wealth, pray to Jesus to deliver you from this desire that can shipwreck your whole future.

    There are so many dangers for the man and woman of God. Paul wrote to Timothy in chapter 6:11:

    (11) But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.

    As we face spiritual battles, Paul’s wisdom is to run from these evil things. Let’s pray that Jesus would enable us by his Spirit to run from every form of evil and to help us to pursue godliness. 

    Simon Smailus, 19/09/2017