This is a trustworthy statement…
“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”
1st Timothy 12-17
I absolutely love this passage of scripture. It is one of my all time favourites. I know people often say that, but this is true. I really think this is a portion of scripture that we all need to not only read, but memorize and get deep down inside us. This is about Humility. Paul, who was an apostle, a wise man, a strong leader, a great author, and one of the most foundational members of our faith. If there was ever a man who had a good reason to be proud it was Paul.
Think about it, if you argued doctrine with him, he could just quote himself from one of his writings. He could lay the proverbial smack down on you. Yet when he was talking to his disciple, the one who he was training to do his ministry, this is how he described himself. He says “I thank Jesus Christ… He has strengthened me… He considered me faithful… putting me into service.”
Think about that perspective. He is saying here “I thank God, He is the one who makes the ministry possible, not me.” Furthermore, he recognizes who he was, and all of the issues that he had. He called himself the chief of sinners. He didn’t think of himself as someone who was high and mighty. Someone who was better than. No, he remembered that He was someone who God brought out of sin. It was this humility that helped him to love the people that God was calling him to.
This is a common theme among many great leaders in the Bible. I love what King David said in Psalm 18:
“The God who girds me with strength and makes my way blameless? He makes my feet like hinds’ feet, and sets me upon my high places. He trains my hands for battle, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, and your right hand upholds me; and Your gentleness makes me great.”
Here David, the King of Israel, the man who God called and appointed, gives all the credit to God. Look how this portion ends, “You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, and your right hand upholds me; and Your gentleness makes me great.” I love this, He recognizes that it is the right hand of the Lo rd upholds and Lifts Him. He recognized that even though He was a big shot in the worlds eye, It was the Hand of God that held him up and gave him that position.
After the birth of the Church, signs and wonders began to be shown through the Apostles. One great moment came in Acts three when Peter and John were up at the temple. This one day in particular, they had the opportunity to pray for a man who couldn’t walk, and God healed him.
But, when all the people were suddenly crowding Peter and John (as will happen when you start seeing the power of God released in your life.) They didn’t use it as an opportunity to pass the bucket or the business cards. They diverted the attention back to Jesus.
“Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus…”
That quote was from NASB which is how I usually quote, and says “Not by our own power or piety.” The NIV says, “by our own power or godliness” the KJV says “by our own power or holiness” But the Key in this verse is that it isn’t something that we did, but Jesus working through us.
As people we are often full of ourselves. We tend towards wanting to be recognized and great. This isn’t a bad thing, but sometimes it can lead to bad things if the one we want to recognize us is anyone other than Jesus. If we find our significance and greatness in ourself or other people, we have missed it. Men may exalt us for a time, but only God will recognize us forever.
This is a trustworthy saying and worthy of full acceptance.
“He must increase, and I must decrease.” – John the Baptist.
Let us commit these scriptures to more than just our memory, but to our way of life. If these scriptures become the mode in which we think and live, then we will begin to see our love for others grow. Then we will see people being drawn to us because of our love. The bible never said that they will know we are Christians because of how great we are. No, rather they will know we are Christians by our Love.