Set Your Priorities

KEY VERSE: “Follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, hope, patience, meekness.” —I Timothy 6:11

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: I Timothy 6:6-14, 17-21

JEHOVAH SAID TO the Israelites, “I am the Lord your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy.” God was true to the Israelites, and exclusively their God. In return he expected them to be true to him, and to obey his laws and ordinances.—Lev. 19:2

So it is with God’s people of this Gospel Age. He wants them to be wholly devoted to him “in all manner of conversation.” (I Pet. 1:15) The Greek word in this text translated conversation means ‘conduct’. It includes not only what we talk about, but every aspect and activity of life. “Holiness unto the Lord” in all things, is to be the aim and endeavor of every Christian.

Christians are to set their “affection [Margin, ‘mind’] on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Col. 3:2) Because of this we are to “mortify,” or deaden, “our members, which are upon the earth.” (vs. 5) Covetousness is “idolatry” (vs. 5), and so Christians who are setting their affection on things above should be content with the things in this life that God has seen fit to provide such as “food and raiment,” etc. (I Tim. 6:8) No sincere Christian would be tempted to bow down before an actual idol, but there is a danger of setting up idols in our hearts to which we would give allegiance ahead of God. To covet wealth or the attainment of position, whether in the church or in business, means that we tend to idolize those things, and would be willing to go to undue lengths to have them for our own.

This unholy trait of character is unbecoming to anyone, and is especially reprehensible in a Christian. It would seem that only those just starting in the narrow way would display them, and yet, even the mature follower of the Master needs to be on guard against this evidence of sin.

Paul reminds us that we “have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man.” (Col. 3:9) But it is only in the determination of our minds and hearts that the ‘old man’ has been put off. Our new minds, the ‘new man’, must live with and in opposition to the ‘old man’ as long as we are on this side of the veil; so there is a continual struggle—“The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other.”—Gal. 5:17

The new man increases in knowledge—the knowledge that is of God, whose workmanship we are as New Creatures. (Eph. 2:10) The purpose of growing in the knowledge of the Lord is that we may develop more and more into his image; for we are his children, and are called to be partakers of his glory.

Paul admonished Timothy to be an “example of the believers, in word, in conversation [conduct], in charity [love], in spirit, in faith, in purity.” (I Tim. 6:11) If he did this then no one could despise his youth; for these are all characteristics of a mature Christian, whether he is young or old in years.

One of the lessons emphasized in I John 2:1-6 is that, try as we may, we will never be able to attain to the standard of perfection for which we are striving, and that, compensating for this is the fact that we have “an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” He “is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

Our assurance that we can enjoy his favor despite our fleshly imperfections is the fact that we are making an earnest endeavor to keep his commandments. The apostle enjoins us to keep his “commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Tim. 6:14) Whosoever does keep his Word, “in him verily is the love of God perfected.”—I John 2:5

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