Monday, Revival in our Hearts
1 Timothy 4:16
In this passage, Paul has just challenged a young pastor whom he loves, Timothy, to care as much about godliness as his physical well-being (4:7-8). The godliness Paul has in mind is a sense of awesome respect for God, a willingness to trust Him over oneself, a devotion to Him above all other things. This true godliness is worshipful. It’s a gratefulness to our great Father who provides for us in every moment of every day of every week of our lives. It’s awe and affection to the Father of mercies and God of all comfort who comforts us in all our distress with the comfort of Jesus Himself. And this kind of godliness is the very heart of the Christian life. It’s the state of being properly connected to God, able to draw on His power for all things—dependent on Him like every child should be to our perfect Father who wants to share both Himself and all good things with us. No wonder Paul wants Timothy to train for this godliness, to fight for it, to toil and strive with undying hope of attaining it (4:10).
Of course, this same godliness is what Timothy, as a pastor, ought to be teaching and spreading to everyone around him. He should teach this (4:11), and he should model it (4:12). Teach (4:13-14) and model (4:15). Over and over.
Yet in the midst of all the teaching, there is a particular tendency, of pastors and indeed all Christians, for us to harden our hearts, to begin to go through the motions, to lose our affection for God, our godliness, and to decide that such godliness may be great for everyone else, but it’s too hard for me. I’ll get back to it when I can. I’m too busy sharing the gospel and working for Jesus.
All this is why Paul ends this passage by one more time reiterating that Timothy should pay just as close attention to his own soul as he does to teaching anyone else around him (4:16). This is how he will contribute to their salvation, as a coworker of God—by caring for his soul and his godliness just as much as he does everyone else’s.
Let us work with all our might to plant as many healthy churches in Houston as God will empower. Let’s give to that. Let’s strategize for that. Let’s cry out in prayer for that. Let’s shepherd an entire city’s worth of souls into the glory with Jesus. But let’s never be void of the life we’re offering others.
Let us never work by our own power. Let us never work for the sake of our own name. And let us never deceive ourselves that our work is a suitable substitute for our godliness.
Father, I know you are filthy rich in love and mercy, even towards me. Would you have mercy again on me today? Would you forgive me for my indifference to you, even so far today? Would you restore me again to a posture of a humble recipient, a glad child, a person dependent on you for all good things I might receive or do?
Father, I want to worship. I want to love you. Would you help me to do that? Would you shine in my heart and mind with such power that I might see your love for me as I’ve never seen before? I know that I love you because you first loved me—so my assumption is that when I’m lacking in love for you it’s because I’ve underestimated your love for me. Would you remind me, powerfully and overwhelmingly, of your love? Would you speak to my soul right now? I am here for you. I need you. I’m only praying because I hope to meet with you. Is there still enough mercy for me today? Is there still enough power for me today? Can you really replace my tired, tattered, distracted heart with one that beats for you? That’s what I hope. That’s what I need. Lord,