a word to the wise
Can you think of something that is good but could be bad or destructive if used wrongly?
The world tends to teach us how to abuse things. Religion tends to teach us how to abstain from things. Abuse leads to destruction, and abstaining can often lead to a joyless existence in Gods good world. Is there another way forward for the follower of Jesus?
1 Timothy 3:14-4:5
Read verses 3:16. Look at the first part of verse 16, and find the phrase, “true godliness.” Paul is instructing Timothy to beware of false godliness. What might false godliness look like? Have you walked in it? Have you experienced it?
Read the poem in verse 3:16 again. Jesus came in the flesh. God was happy to take on a body like yours. Talk about that for a bit. What does that say about God and about bodies? What does that mean about creation? This is foundational to the Christian faith. Talk about it.
Read verses 4:1-3. False teachers were saying that the things God made were bad and that spiritual people should reject them. That would include money, sex, alcohol, choice food, etc. What have you been taught about these things and other things that God created?
Human beings were created with bodies to take authority over God’s created world. When we take authority over the stuff God made, it brings life, but when things take authority over us, it brings death and destruction. Share about a time when you experienced pain or death as a result of abusing something God made.
Read verse 4:4. “Everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected.” The enemy’s plan is always to get us to abuse God’s good creation. Talk about how to steward or take authority over the good things (ex. money, sex, alcohol or choice food) so that what God made brings life instead of death. .
It is probable that there are ways in which you are abstaining (rejecting God‘s good creation) and therefore missing out on life and joy. It is equally likely that you are abusing God‘s good creation and hurting yourself and others through indulgence. Share about what the Spirit of God brought up in you, and ask for prayer about it.
Celebration is a spiritual discipline. We often talk in the church about giving things up. That is good, and there are times for that, but there is also a time for taking up. There must always be a spiritual practice of engaging in life and enjoying God‘s world and the stuff that he created for our enjoyment and for his glory. We must always remember that God takes joy in our enjoyment of his world. When was the last time you reveled in a good meal, a great concert, a moment of levity? Ponder what the spiritual discipline of celebration might look like for you and those around you.