(from a church email in 2017)
Godliness, that is, god-like-ness is the very thing that He is faithfully performing by His words. His words renew our mind, shape our thinking, search our inward parts, and discern the thoughts and intents of our heart; and, as it effectually works, it is to the end of accomplishing godliness. The resolutions discussed, by all appearances, are not bad, unethical, or even harmful. In fact, quite the opposite is the case: eating well, exercising more, and attending to where your finances are going are all good, beneficial, and healthy resolutions. Is it possible to do something that is apparently profitable, in one form or another, but not glorifying to God? Yes. This is a question we ought to ask ourselves about our “paths” and “ways”. Godliness derived from our Father’s heart and mind contains not only an appearance of some decision, action, or resolution, but it contains things like: intent, reason, and cause. Therefore, when making resolutions we to be focused on our “why”, our reasons, and purpose not solely on the appearance of a resolution. A believer who simply may want to eat well and exercise more may find they spent a lot of time: shopping for healthy foods, preparing healthy meals, exercising much, and all that time be spent in vain when it comes to the glory of God. The reason being because it wasn’t done for godliness sake or from a godly motivation. In truth, one can waste their time on a fashion of this world such as bodily exercise that passeth away, then not take their healthy body out of this world into the next life (1 Timothy 6:7), and have nothing to show for it at the judgment seat of Christ. Wherefore, may we examine our motives, reasons, intents, and thoughts when it comes to making a heart decree and commit to some action. Let us weigh therefore every thought, every decision, or as David said to Solomon in Proverbs 3:5-6,
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.”
We ought not “trust” our heart and understanding in our ways, but rather trust in the LORD, by His word, and it will be Him through His word that directs our paths and ways with His understanding.
This, therefore, begs the question and leads us to a better resolution: a more fundamental, but essential resolution. How do we resolve to do these things with a godly motive, reason, or cause? Should we not do them at all? What is the means, or basis, for the thoughts and intents of our hearts? It is “the LORD” we are to “trust…with all thine heart”. It is “His own understanding” we ought to “acknowledge” for Him to “direct thy paths”. Therefore, there is, a greater resolution; that is, to gain His understanding, which comes by the reading and studying of His Word.
THE GREATER RESOLUTION
“Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.”
1 Timothy 4:13
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
2 Timothy 2:15
These are two exhortations Paul gives Timothy before Paul dies. He does not say, “eat well”, “exercise more”, and “save money”. Nor does he condemn those things or say, “don’t eat well”, “don’t exercise”, and “don’t save money”; however, what is certain is that Paul charges Timothy to “give attendance to reading” and to “study”. In fact, Paul tells Timothy, to “meditate” on the reading (1 Timothy 4:15), to give himself “wholly” to it, and to “take heed” to the doctrine he is to attend to. He explains there is a “salvation” and “profit” in giving yourself “wholly” to the “giving attendance to reading”.
Attending involves the careful application of mind. Here it is the to fix the mind on what is being read. Study provides the same connotation as “attend”; that is, to apply the mind upon something, or the setting of the mind and thoughts upon a subject. As Timothy, would give attendance to reading and study the doctrine, his mind would be saved and his mind and heart would possess the proper godly motivation for his decisions and works. Timothy would not possess godly motivation because he studied, per say, but because of what he would study. Timothy was to engage in studying “the doctrine which is according to godliness” (1 Timothy 6:3), the very doctrine Paul taught, which are, “the words of our Lord Jesus Christ”, “wholesome words”. Moreover, Timothy was to “wholly” give himself to “wholesome words” that God would use to sanctify him “wholly” in spirit, soul, and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23). It would be through this process that God would manifest Himself in Timothy’s flesh (1 Timothy 3:16). Yea, “great is the mystery of godliness”.
Therefore, may we “consent” (1 Timothy 6:3) to the words of the Lord Jesus Christ through reading and studying them, so, those words, may examine the thoughts and intents of our hearts, as well as, be a lamp unto our feet: guiding and directing our paths by His mind and heart, by His understanding. May we “consider what I [Paul] say(s); and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.” May we resolve to give ourselves wholly to the reading and studying of our Father’s words that we may have godly intentions and reasons for all that we resolve to do. Then, and only then, will we be able to “eat well”, “exercise”, and “use finances” to the honour and glory of God, both in heart and deed.
Josh Strelecki, Pastor-Teacher