Today’s Reading: 1 Tim 4:1-16
A Little About Words…
What Does Paul Say are “Doctrines of Devils?”
Now that we know how life-important this matter is, let’s look at the specific list Paul provides to Timothy, to provide to the early Church:
1. Forbidding people to marry (as some churches do with their clergy)
2. Commanding the abstention from eating meat (as some churches do, especially on certain days)
3. Believing in old-wives’ tales (here’s an assignment: look up the origin of saying,”God bless you,” when someone sneezes.)
4. Putting exercise ahead of spiritual well-being (how about those Sunday “soccer travel teams” your kids want to play on?)
5. Treating young people of society with contempt (who should be “bringing up [my] child in the way he should go,” anyway? Hmmm…)
6. Refusing to use our gifts of the Spirit (“I’m not ready yet…”)
7. Disregarding things of the Spirit (“I’m not sure if I prayed today…”)
8. Not “checking” ourselves against God’s Word and the Spirit (“I had to put aside my religion and deal with that woman.”)
9. Being self-centered (“Look what I did!”)
I am betting that many of us experience (myself, included) some of these things, maybe even daily — for we are but dust — but what this passage is telling us is that NONE of these things is a safe habit to adopt. And, it also tells us, that ALL of them are powerfully persuasive places to hang out that, in time, will lead to being in opposition to God. And it warns us to protect ourselves against these things, and know them for what they are: tactics to destroy, deceive, distract and divide us from the One Who truly is the source of life: the Everlasting God.
My friend, Gene, and I, discussed this today. Let’s not confuse commitments we make voluntarily in these areas (we talked specifically about remaining single, or choosing to go on a “Daniel diet” for a period of time, while fasting. These are promises we make to God, not commandments from Him. We are obligated to hold them up, not because of the food or marriage issues involved, but because we have made a vow to God, which He takes seriously, as He, Himself, is a God of truth, and is The One Called Faithful and True (Rev 19:11).
So What Do We Do?
Far be it from me to mess with the splinter in someone else’s eye, when I have a utility pole in my own. But here is what I take away from this, for ME:
- Knowledge is Power: I need to know what God says on the matter. If I’m not sure, I use my concordance, and find out. The Word of God is our sword (Eph 6), and with it we can prevail against the enemy.
- Prayer: There is a reason Jesus modeled, “Lead us not into temptation… Deliver us from evil” (Mt 6:13). Prayer is part of the full armor of God in Ephesians 6.
- Watch out for our minds: When I start over-thinking things, I run the risk of rationalizing something that the Word says is sinful. I need to take God’s Word at face value, as a reflex.
- Stop doing bad stuff: If I reflect on something that I start to feel is wrong, I need to stop doing it! We all refine our understanding as we mature, so we are going to slowly realize that some things that used to do (certain “hymns” which we, eventually, learn are not scriptural, for example, or celebrating a holiday), we need to stop doing.
- Look at the 1st century church: If I want to know how God wanted things done, I need to find out what Jesus (the “Word of God”) said about it in the New Testament, and then read about the lives of the twelve in the Book of Acts.
- Stop “ranking” sins in importance: God put together being self-centered with murder as both sinful. It is not for us to decide which sin is greater. See #3.
- Remember: this is war: Nothing is accidental. We are in the end-times, and the enemy is pulling out all his best tactics, and going for the leaders, because time is short.
- The Devil’s Real Weapon (revivalandreformation.wordpress.com)
- The Necessity of True Doctrine (pastorreeder.wordpress.com)
- Christ Is the Only Way to Salvation (ioan17.wordpress.com)
- The Necessity of True Doctrine (alcplatteville.wordpress.com)
- Are Baptists Protestant? – Our Doctrine (counselofafriend.wordpress.com)