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Tough Love Is Holding Myself Accountable
Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith. Grace be with you. - 1 Timothy 6:20
Paul loved Timothy as a son. In fact he calls him his “son in the gospel.” As a father he is concerned that Timothy does well. Paul had given Timothy the great responsibility of leading the church at Ephesus and being a concerned father in one place he instructed Timothy to carefully watch his life so that those who are older do not despise his youth. In this passage Paul is teaching Timothy to hold himself accountable to the gifts of ministry and responsibility that he had been given.
We often think of tough love as the love which holds others accountable, but tough love begins with ourselves. Do we love the other in our life enough to commit ourselves to accountability? Are we willing to guard our thoughts and examine them often to see if we are developing patterns of thinking that will affect the way we treat others? Paul warns Timothy to turn away from godless chatter and faulty arguments.
The Message has a great way of presenting this passage; “And oh, my dear Timothy, guard the treasure you were given! Guard it with your life. Avoid the talk-show religion and the practiced confusion of the so-called experts. People caught up in a lot of talk can miss the whole point of faith.”
Hold yourself accountable in your words and your thoughts. That’s a tough job that only you can do.
Prayer: Lord, I like to argue the fine points that sometimes get to the place of splitting hairs over inconsequential issues. Forgive me of that and grant me the grace to focus only on the truly important issues of the faith. Amen.
Message: Tough love begins with ourselves. Do we love the other in our life enough to commit ourselves to accountability? Are we willing to guard our thoughts and examine them often to see if we are developing patterns of thinking that will affect the way we treat others?
Affirmation: I hold myself accountable to God and responsible spiritual leaders so that my thoughts and actions do not contradict what I speak.
Reflection: Does God’s love truly move us to accountability? What do you think the Message meant by, “Avoid the talk-show religion?” Give some thought to some signs that you might be avoiding accountability.
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Love… The Command Which Calls Us To Sacrifice
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this; that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. - John 15:12-14
Love that does not call us to invest ourselves in the lives of others is not love at all – it is just a self gratifying emotion. I think sometimes we miss the point of love. We love another, or others, because of what they do for us. Sometimes we look at others and say something like, “I sure do love them, look at how they give.” That may be appreciation, but it probably is not love.
Many people fall in love because of the way another person responds to them, but when the other person stops responding in the same way the love begins to grow cold. That is human love. God’s love, the Greek word is agape, is love that is not about self but it is about other. It is this love that calls us to invest ourselves in others as we sacrifice our own desires and ambitions.
As Jesus was calling his disciples to love one another he explained that to do so would require sacrifice, and it might require the supreme sacrifice; laying down our life for another. That is agape (love). It is not only a willingness to sacrifice for another, but it is the action of giving ourselves to others with no expectation of return for ourselves. It is truly a love that can only come from the one who has already given more than anyone else could ever give for his friends.
Prayer: Lord, all too often I use the word “love” loosely. In fact so much so that it has lost its meaning. Grant me the grace to truly love you and others with the kind of love that is empty of my own desires and ambitions and is focused upon others. In Jesus name, amen.
Message: Love that does not call us to invest ourselves in the lives of others is not love at all – it is just a self- gratifying emotion. God’s love, the Greek word is agape, is love that is not about self but it is about other. It is this love that calls us to invest ourselves in others as we sacrifice our own desires and ambitions.
Affirmation: Love for others goes beyond self-gratifying emotion. It is a strong desire to help others and to see them blessed.
Reflection: Can you think of some ways the word “love” is used loosely? Do you think the word looses its meaning when it is used that way?
This is just one devotion out the book of 31 devotions on Love, a Virtue of the Spirit. You can have the entire book absolutely free, it is our ministry gift to you. Just register below to get the book.
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Paul Smith: Husband, Grandfather, father, writer, preacher, pastor, servant of God... and hopefully thought of as a Christian.
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