I’m going to try something interesting. I hope. I’m going to have my devotions right here, right now, in front of you. Lately I’ve been working through I Timothy, so I’m gonna open that up, open my heart, and see what happens.
Ah, Father. I think this is your idea, so please help me to be real and most of all, may you be glorified. Lord Jesus, I look to you. Spirit of God, would you please open my eyes and ears to see and hear what you want me to? Thank you, and amen (let it be).
What I normally do is just plain read a Bible passage, and once I’ve prayed like I just did, I assume that what stands out to me, stands out for a reason. And I go from there. So…
“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, who’s consciences have been seared as with a hot iron” (I Timothy 4:2).
Wow. Lots here.
The Spirit clearly says… the Spirit SAYS. Speaks. With words. There are no biblical passages I’m aware of that say this, so Paul has received some intimate counsel from God—and it’s come so clearly that he writes it down and it became canonized.
“Some will abandon the faith.” Abandon? My Key Word Study Bible highlights that word… and it means… it’s a compound word, which means “stand” and “from,” which apparently implies “to withdraw, retire, cease, quit, depart from, part company with.” Ah, my heart aches as I think of someone I know. He’s been led away, and he knows it, and he’s okay with it. Lord Jesus, do what only you can do. Move in his heart, reveal the truth, convict and call. In Jesus’ name.
“Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.” First thought, a few days ago I read that we are to “Fight the good fight, holding onto faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith.” So that’s “the good fight”—to hold on to faith, to walk by faith in Jesus Christ, and not by sight or religion or good works. And second, to hold on to “a good conscience.” To pay attention to those little warning lights, to become aware of the delicate motions of my own soul and pay close attention. If I give in on those, I lose myself, lose my way. The good fight is usually won or lost on “small” issues that can be rationalized away with minimal effort.
So now, these hypocritical liars have rejected their good consciences and become deceived themselves, until they’ve convinced themselves they are on the right track. But what is it that their consciences have been seared as with a hot iron? This is self induced. Who does that?
They’ve been burned. By their own wandering. Seared. They’ve lost the good fight, they’ve let go of faith. Is there scar tissue, maybe? Have they become deadened to the delicate motions of their soul, so that they feel nothing when God tries to get their attention?
I sense I’m supposed to sit on that a bit. Lord Jesus, please reveal your truth to me. Instruct my heart as I work, play, sleep, and go about my vacation. What is this about? I think I’m missing something. Paul lists some particular false teachings, but I’m more interested in the principle behind it at this point.
Father down: “Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.” Ah, this is cool. In this context, godliness is related to rejecting false teaching, which is designed to shipwreck our faith. Godliness is fighting the good fight, which involves, among other things, training ourselves to listen to the Holy Spirit as he moves in our consciences.
Jesus, thank you for this. Tonight, and in the next while, help me to do that. Make me aware of the delicate motions of my soul so I can fight the good fight.