This past week, the five pastor's of Grace Church started meeting on Tuesday mornings for a time of studying and hopefully applying the Bible to our lives. After a recent conversation with some mentor's in Canada, they reminded me of my need to walk in faithfulness and godliness. As I spent a bit of time looking over these words in the New Testament, the concept of godliness is addressed prominently in the Pastoral Epistles (1 & 2 Timothy, Titus). Thus, as ironic as it may seen, the pastoral team will be spending some time in the pastoral epistles for the next few months together.
As I started reading 1 Timothy 1:1, I couldn't get past the following phrase "and of Christ Jesus our hope..." This little phrase really struck a chord as a number of months ago I came to the real conclusion that I had hit a point in my life where many pastor's end up whereby I was beginning to place my hope in religious productivity (what I was doing for Jesus) rather than in a growing love relationship with Jesus.
It never ceases to amaze me how quickly we (Christ followers and the church) begin to place our "hope" in good persons, activities, policies and even accomplishments rather than in Jesus alone. For some reason, we find it easier to mark spirituality by what we do (I believe the Pharisees were guilty of this) rather than by who we are in Christ which will then produce a spiritual outflow of godly fruit.
"But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that having been justified by grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life." Titus 3:4-8