Read His Words Before Ours!
“He said I played with his stuff, but I didn’t touch it!” The indignation was obvious, very obvious. The anger, the hurt, the pure frustration at the false accusation was quite clear in my daughter’s high-pitched voice.
“Did you play with his stuff?”
“Okay then. Hold on to truth, and go back and talk to him about it.”
Normal life, interrupted by falsehood.
My daughter needed to hit pause to be reminded that she could stand firmly in truth, despite her circumstances.
This happens often at my house, and what started out as a reminder for my kids, became my own mantra, “Hold onto truth!”
Here in 1 Timothy, we see Paul doing the same thing. He’s talking about what life looks like in the Body of Christ and how believers should treat each other in chapter 3, and then in chapter 4, it’s as if Paul deliberately hits “pause”. He proverbially puts his hands on young Timothy’s shoulders, looks him square in the eye, and while acknowledging that people will be people, conflict will arise, and false teaching will come barreling towards him, Paul wills Timothy to hold onto the truth.
I love my marriage, but our relationship doesn’t always feel awesome. We can be going along splendidly when suddenly something unexpected comes up and we find ourselves in the middle of conflict.
Feelings lie, so often!
Words sway us, with ridiculous ease.
And in the heat of the moment, it’s ever so tempting to toss everything about our relationship aside and dive all-in to the fiery conflict, brimming with emotion.
It’s easy to believe lies.
Easy to think that our relationship is defined by what’s happening.
But I’m learning, as I train my children, as Paul was training Timothy, I can hold onto truth.
We are inundated with trendy “fake news”, eye-grabbing headlines that may or may not be accurate, and even our own newsfeeds that we fill with picture-perfect snapshots of our lives, that may or may not actually be that awesome. But we are called out to be truth holders.
A few weeks ago, I was chatting with a lovely young woman who shared how her belief system was based on finding truth within herself.
“What happens when your own truth differs with someone else’s truth? Surely, both can’t be right. What happens if you end up being wrong about eternity or even life today?”, I wondered.
How tiring, and ultimately fearful, to live not knowing if your “truth” was actually solid.
As my friend and I parted ways that afternoon, we hugged and I looked into her sweet eyes, “Wouldn’t you like to know? For sure?”
“You know,” her face reflecting her internal struggle, “I would.”
Paul gives Timothy a “heads up” that people will leave solid doctrine, exchanging it for trendier, more appealing religious clothing. He warns that there will be voices vying for Timothy’s own attention, making him question whether his beliefs were true or not.
Paul leans in, locking his eyes with the young pastor,
“Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness!”
The author of Hebrews echoes Paul’s sage advice by saying, “solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” (Hebrews 5:14)
Whether it’s fear of the future, conflict at church, uncertainty about a belief system, or struggles in a relationship, God calls us into a better way of doing life.
A more solid way of living freely.
“Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Timothy 4:15-16)
None of these sound like just scrolling aimlessly, whether on social media or through life.
Truth isn’t something that just catches us, shaping our lives as we spin our own webs. Rather, we must chase after it, intentionally choosing to consume it, rather than blindly swallow foolish deceptions.
“Guess what, mama? I’ve been practicing what you said about holding onto truth, and I’ve been telling my brother to hold onto truth too”, my daughter proudly beamed at me as she shared her own journey in pursuing truth.
Add to that list: Contagious.
…. so that all may see your progress…
… for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
Paul knew that as he laid out the admittedly arduous task of persistently practicing truth, others would catch on. Rather than be carried away by the latest trends, Paul was setting Timothy up to rise above those waves, and bring along an army of truth holders behind him.
Holding onto truth can seem unpopular at the time. Difficult. Undesirable, even. But we are never alone when we choose to anchor our lives on the unchanging foundation of Jesus Christ, rooting our lives in the immovable truth of Scripture. And when we make that stand, confidently resting in our Savior’s reliability and not our own, we actively invite others in to what God is doing in them, in us, and in the world.
Welcome to the abundant life!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!