Hope That Struggles

19. March 2012 1 Timothy 0

Text: 1 Timothy 4:8-10
Theme: Hope in the future should motivate us to work hard in the present.
Key verses: “…godliness benefits all things, holding promise for life here and now and promise for the life that is coming” (v. 8b). “This is what we work so hard for! This is why we are constantly struggling, because we have any assured hope fixed upon a living God who is the Savior of all humankind–especially all of us who believe” (v.9-10).
What God said to me: What was Paul “struggling” for? What was he and Timothy working hard to accomplish? In context of this letter to Timothy, Paul seems to be saying they are working hard to be godly and to train others in godliness. Dwayne, a lot of people work hard to do those very things. That’s nothing unusual. In fact, there are many pastors and church workers who struggle and work hard for me everyday. The bigger question and the more important truth to see is not what Paul struggled to accomplish, but rather why he struggled. That’s where many so-called ministers fall short. They don’t really know why they struggle as they do. They wear themselves out trying to do good and be good. But they lose sight of the real motivation that will refresh and encourage them along the way. Paul knew he had a hope in a promise of life. His hope was fixed on me–his living God and Savior. Paul had the right motivation. He wasn’t worrking for me, as much as he was working because of me, because of the absolute assurance that life comes from me. Life for Paul was much more than mere existence. It meant being full of joy and hope for all eternity. Now notice one more thing Paul said. He said godliness holds promise for life here. It wasn’t just some pie in the sky idea for Paul–something he would experience in the sweet bye and bye. Paul held to the hope that life was his to claim right now. Dwayne, if your form of godliness doesn’t bring you life and real tangible hope in the here and now, then you are not truly godly. Godliness brings promise and promise brings hope.
What I said to God: Thank You, heavenly Father, for speaking so clearly to my spirit this morning. I confess my idolatry. I confess my straying thoughts and fixations on this world. Help me guard my heart and fix my eyes on the prize–on Jesus the Christ. May my hope be securely motivated out of Your promise of life, and may Your promise of life motivate my struggle to be godly and train others in godliness.