I Timothy 4:12 Let Your Character Speak For Itself

Have you heard of Jack Andraka? Jack is currently doing research that will make testing for certain kinds of cancer, particularly pancreatic cancer, simpler, faster, less expensive, and perhaps most importantly, more accurate. He has sent proposals to hundreds of professors giving them details of his research and asking for permission to use their labs to conduct his experiments. Only one response to him was positive. Realistically, one can’t expect to receive completely positive responses, even if your research, like Jack’s, is ground-breaking. But Jack has received more than his fair share of rejections. Why? Because he is 15 years old. When he arrives at conferences, others assume that he is a speaker’s son who is just tagging along. Then he gets up to speak. Afterwards, the conversations change, because people then judge him for what he knows, not for how long he has lived.

Timothy was in a similar situation when Paul gave him this advice: Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young. (I Timothy 4:12) Now, Timothy was certainly not a teenager. All of the experts estimate that he was somewhere in his thirties, but in that society anyone under the age of 40 was considered young. And Timothy was certainly young compared to Paul and to the other Christians that he would be leading. The advice Paul gave, however, would apply to anyone of any age. Essentially Paul told Timothy not to let others judge him based on his age, but based on his words and actions. Paul instructed Timothy to set an example for other believers by living a life in which his speech, conduct, love, faithfulness and purity could not be criticized.

This is advice that we should all take. Live your life such that no one can find anything bad to say about you, and so that the message of God will not be discredited. (Titus 2:4-8) Spend time studying God’s word so that you know what that message truly is. Let everyone around you see the progress you are making. (I Timothy 4:15) Let your good character shine through. Let the life you live through your words and actions be a good representation of God’s love and grace.

James 1:9-11 Pride of Place?

Regular readers of this blog will probably have noticed that I have been away for a few weeks.  I have been quite ill, and I would like to thank my guest authors for filling in the gap while I was unable to write.  It started out as a pretty average illness, but a reaction to medication made it quite serious.  I honestly thought I might die.  That’s the kind of feeling that tends to change your perspective on life, and make you think about eternity.

I believe that James was trying to teach a similar lesson in James 1:9-11.  He says that the poor should take pride in their high position, and the rich should take pride in their low position.  That is not to say that either are necessarily in the position they are in because of the amount of money or material possessions that they have.  The point is that those who have little money tend to put their trust in God, while those who are wealthy face the temptation of putting their trust in their own riches and their own ability to control things.  Unfortunately that is a false hope, because we truly do not have control over what happens to us.  Yes, there are some aspects of our lives that we control; we do have the power to make wise or unwise choices that can affect our future, but there is a large part of our lives than can be affected by outside forces as well.  Anything could happen at any moment that would change our life forever, or end it instantly.

The Bible is not against having wealth, but it is against making it a priority in our lives and trusting in it for our salvation from the trials that we face.  The Bible tells us that God can provide for any need that we may have. (Matthew 6:19-34, Luke 12:29-32)  God wants us to trust in Him, and to be men and women of strong character.  He does not look at our outward appearance or at our possessions, but at our heart.  (I Samuel 16:7)  We need to make sure that our hearts are wholly devoted to Him, and then we will be ready for eternity.