Alright, take a moment and read 1 Timothy 6:3-21. I’ve been stuck on this for the past 5 days, trying to get a better understanding on it.
Serving as one of the pastors at a church, it’s extremely important to me to be setting a good example to follow and to be teaching the truth of the Bible (there is no falsehood in it). This section had me for awhile because it seems as though Paul is telling Timothy to watch out for something, to keep pure in heart and understanding of the truth, to not allow it to be tainted by what some call knowledge.
Don’t we all have some thought that God will bless us if we follow Him? I think He does, but not like we expect. These guys were teaching that you could tell you were following God by the gain you would receive, or success in your welfare. Immediately red flags shoot off in my mind about that kind of teaching. It doesn’t matter where I hear it, health and wealth as being considered a reward for being a disciple of God isn’t true.
But let’s go a little deeper. There’s a teaching out there now, a common misunderstanding of Christianity, that we all hold on to. It deceives us as to what being a Christ-follower is all about. Gain. Success. We may not hold tightly to a “health and wealth gospel” teaching, but we do believe that Christianity will make us a better person. For some, it’s the only reason we go to church. We’ve been deceived.
Christianity doesn’t make us a better person. If that’s the way we think, we’ve been misled. It’s not about us becoming better, but about God restoring a relationship with us through His Son’s death and resurrection though we are very undeserving. Becoming a better person is a by-product of faith in God.
Godliness is only gain when accompanied by contentment. The moment we become aware and live as though the treasures of the world have no hold on us do we ever understand the “gain” in following Christ.
God isn’t out to make us successful, but to conform us to the image of His Son. There’s a transformation, a point of difference, a moment in our lives when we’re faced with defining the word “success.” God’s definition involves our eternal destiny, while the world’s involves our pleasure and happiness. God’s term is deep, the world’s is shallow. It’s the difference between faith and the physical.
The man and woman of God is supposed to pursue something different than money and success. Look at the list in verse 11. Verse 12 tells us to hold on to eternal life…that means letting go of the temporary.
Now understand, this doesn’t mean that being wealthy is bad. But those Christ-followers who are wealthy are to set an example of what true success looks like–a life lived under a submission to God’s perspective: hope fixed on God, generosity, willingness to share to meet the needs of others in need, which produces the storing up of eternal treasures.
Now I want to take this to a place of worship. Romans 12:1-2 tells us that the true act of worship is offering ourselves as a holy living sacrifice to God, something pleasing to Him. If worship is a sacrifice, it should cost us something…maybe even to the point that it hurts. But for the Christ-follower, it won’t hurt because of the devotion to Christ. For those of us who still hang on to worldly pleasures, it will undoubtedly hurt. But the gain is worth the sacrifice! The success is growth in relationship with God! And there’s transformation in our minds to understand God’s will and keep with sights set on the eternal!
We should not be asking ourselves, “What we can spare?” but “What will it take?” That’s the transformation. That’s the worship that’s sacrificial. That’s the essence of godly success in following Him. That’s where the gain is to be found. With our eyes fixed on Him, our hope fixed on our Savior, we leave behind the treasure of the world and its successes to enter into a godly vision of eternal treasure founded in faith and worship to Him.
Now that we know, is this the cross we must pick up to follow Christ? Every time we read the Word, we have a decision to make on whether or not we’ll pick up our cross and follow. What will it take? What will you give? Or is our sacrifice only what we can spare?