“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” 1 Timothy 1:15 (NIV)
What a striking and profound statement Paul proclaims in the beginning of his letter to Timothy. Timothy was a young man that Paul mentored and saw as a leader in the movement of the early church. I’m sure there were all kinds of things that were going on in the early church during the time this letter was written as the believers were making huge decisions about how they were called to live as the body of Christ, and who they were called to be in the world for the first time.
I love that Paul says this very early on in the letter. He is a sinner, but not just any sinner; he is among the very worst. How often do we see ourselves properly in this light?
There are two ways we can truly go wrong when we are addressing sin in our lives. We can choose to become overwhelmed by it and overcome with guilt. In this instance, we are not feeling the weight of what Jesus did for us on the cross because we think our sin is too great for Him to handle. On the contrary, as Paul points out in this letter, we, even as Christians are born among the human race and join them as some of the worst sinners that have ever lived. But that is not how God sees us. Paul goes on to say,
“But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.” 1 Timothy 1:16 (NIV)
In light of God’s mercy and what Jesus did for us, God sees us now like He sees His Son, and because of the sacrifice of His Son as He took on our sin for us put it to death, we now get to enjoy communion with our Creator FOREVER. That’s amazing. And not only that, but He views us as daughters and co-heirs to the inheritance of eternal life. We are here on this earth to continue the good works that God started in the beginning and that Jesus continued with His life and ministry here on earth.
Every beautiful in nature joins us to proclaim the amazing love of our Creator.
The other way we can misjudge the sin in our life is to justify it and view it as no big deal, because hey, we will be forgiven, right? This attitude also shows we don’t understand the weight of what Christ has done. We take for granted His sacrifice and His call to live lives that are set apart and dedicated to our amazing Him and His Son that became flesh and dwelt among us.
I wouldn’t normally consider myself to view sin in this category, until I kept reading in 1 Timothy and became convicted about a particular area of my life this week. Paul goes on to talk about leadership in the church and the kind of people that the church should select to be leaders in this emerging movement,
“If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?” 1 Timothy 3:5 (NIV)
This is another very strong statement by Paul. Earlier he could identify with being one of the worst sinners, but that doesn’t leave us off the hook for how we should live our lives AND I was especially convicted with the call on how we should treat our families.
I don’t know about you all, but this has been something I have struggled with over the years. It’s so sad how easy it is for me to take advantage of my family that has to love me no matter what. Though family is so important to me and something I deeply treasure, when I am going through something that seems to be bigger than I can handle, out of my control, or is just something I don’t want to do, the ones I love the most often get the worst of it.
I am what you would call a people pleaser. I love to make people happy and help them with whatever they need. However, in that light I also struggle to let people outside of my family know that I am going through something difficult, because I don’t want them to know when things are less than ideal. But I’m not afraid to let my family know exactly how I feel, to the point that if they don’t know how to solve my issue then I find a way to help them share the blame for what is going on so I don’t feel as badly about it.
How ugly! Not only am I not feeling the weight of the Savior of the world who sacrificed his entire life and humbled Himself so that I could be set free, but also, I am mismanaging my family and treating a gift that God gave me more like a punching bag.
Life is not always as perfect as it seemed it would be on this day.
Marriage has revealed this flaw in me more than ever, and I am so thankful for my husband who is willing to work with me through this struggle as we learn together to create a family deeply rooted in the way God has called us to live. This should be reflected in how we treat one another in times of abundance and times of stress and heartache. We don’t treat each other this way because we always deserve it, but because this is what was done for us. While we were still lost and destitute in our sin, Christ died for us. This changes the way we look at our sin and revolutionizes the way that we live. This includes how we treat those closest to us. Of course they may still show us love and affection no matter how we treat them, but if we use that as license to treat them however we want in times of crisis, then we are not feeling the weight of what Christ has done, and we are not understanding the gift that family can truly be.
Where do you struggle when it comes to dealing with sin in light of God’s sacrifice and grace? How can we encourage one another to feel the weight of what Jesus did and live out the calling that that places on our lives?
We need each other; we need our family, friends, and most of all a meaningful relationship with our perfect heavenly father. These relationships are important, and show how God is moving in our lives and that we understand the weight of what he has done. Again in the words of Paul’s letter to Timothy,
“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Timothy 1:17 (NIV)
Let’s journey together to become women whose lives reflect the amazing things that have been done for us; a sinless Savior who died so that we can know and become more like Him.