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A Good Minister of Christ Jesus

March 22nd, 2017

If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. (1 Timothy 4:6 NIV)

“These things” referred to the practical teachings on the Christian life that proceeded this verse. A good servant or minister – diakonos is the word in the Greek – must teach the eternal truths of God but also practical adherence to them. It is not enough to merely proclaim the truth. There must be relevant and pragmatic application taught as well.

We cannot be dogmatic about such things as how long should a daily devotion be, how often should we pray, or how much of the Bible we should read daily – that would be legalism. But we must be practical in giving people advice. We are too often merely theoretical and give no practical suggestions on how to deepen our walk with Christ.

Here are three suggestions for a devotional life that are follow-able:

  • Long: Read five Psalms and 1 chapter of Proverbs each day. List ten prayer requests each Monday morning and go through them during the week. This will take you through the books of Psalms and Proverbs once a month. Day 1 of the month: Psalm 1-5 and Proverbs 1. Day 2: Psalm 6-10 and Proverbs 2, etc. Augment it with Reading the daily devotion from My Utmost for His Highest, available on line. Also keep a memory verse on an important aspect of your spiritual life on your person during the day and seek to memorize one verse a week.
  • Short: Read the daily devotion from Daily Bread and spend one minute in prayer.
  • Medium: Read a daily devotion – Daily Bread, My Utmost for His Highest, or Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening – and read one chapter of a book in the Bible as well. Write down your prayer requests and carry a memory verse with you.

Which is best for you? The one that you can do each day. We cannot be legalistic about this and insist that only one way is the right way. It is far better to be consistent than to have a really good devotion now and then.

Pastors and others who serve, lay or called, must relate the eternal truths of God to the issues we live with each day in our lives. These issues (see yesterdays devotion) of practical knowledge of the Bible, relevant prayer in our lives, and gratitude are some of these matters that Christians need help with. A good servant of the Lord will help people learn how they can put these things to work in their own lives. The best pastors and teachers are those who help people stand strong in Christ not just by knowledge of the truth but in following Christ each day.

Their numbers seem almost legion, those who gained some knowledge of the basic doctrine of salvation then quit growing in the faith. They pride themselves on what they know – this kind of knowledge puffs up (1 Cor. 8:1-2) – but they are not in love with the truth of God, nor are they interested in growing as a Christian. Many such people are not true believers at all. They bear no fruit. Their Christianity is all about their feelings or nostalgia – not about a living relationship with the Lord.

This is similar to the truths in other fields as well. Someone who is interested in sports, for example, would never be satisfied with studying the physics of the sport, of learning only the rules, or the statistics. He also wants to see it played, or. even better, play it himself. He wants to get into the game and feel the heat of the competition.

I have known some pastors, and, honestly, I think I fell into this pattern of acting when I was younger, whose sole passion and concern was for saying everything just right themselves. They would hardly would be satisfied with any one else’s explanation. And they ran their churches like that, that they and they alone could “say it right.” But this is not the calling of the pastor. He is not just to teach but he is also to equip. He should not instill in others a sense of weakness and inability, rather he should encourage them and equip them to share and testify and serve and teach as well.

Being nourished on the truths of the faith means that just as we were taught, just as we were given opportunities to teach and lead – even though we were still growing – so we give others opportunity. The fruitful servant is the one who patiently teaches, encourages, equips, models, examples, and trains in how to live the basic Christian life. He lift up others and he does not put them down.

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