I’ve said a couple times that chapter 3 is going to hurt. I will try to explain this as best I can although I think as I go through this chapter it will explain itself.
Paul is writing to Timothy giving instructions for the church, for the body, for the leaders, to men, to women, to the pastors/elders, to the deacons. The bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit and so I can’t just say this is Paul’s deal, I must say Paul penned this while in the Spirit and it has deep meaning for me and you today. Paul “Gets it” when it comes to men and how we work, he sees what it takes and I believe he sees through all the deception and the pride of men, this is why he writes these things in this letter.
This section of Scripture is used by church leadership as a man or woman is going through the process of becoming an elder, in fact when I was ordained the general superintendent of the church laid his hands upon my head and prayed a powerful prayer over me using these very words, the word brought to us that night was preached out of this sections, the charge given to me was given out of this sections of scripture. I made a VOW before him, before the congregation, before my family and most of all before GOD to live out these scriptures. I committed myself to the idea if I ever fell short of this I would turn my credentials back into the church. I did that a little over a year ago, with much pain and shame.
And to top it off I sat on a committee that used these same scriptures to help other men and women go through the process, I would “test” them in their commitment and truth in these very scriptures, I would have to use judgment as to weather a man or a woman would “pass the test” as Paul puts it in chapter 3 — and in the last 3 years on that board, I was living in deception and a lie — I have not even started dealing with this emotion yet, I’ve been so consumed with my wife and family, job and just being able to breathe…..and so I know I now have to deal with it, face it. Even in just writing this little introduction to this chapter I am wrecked. BUT I know in the end the pain will turn to joy with FREEDOM in this.
The first verse……..1Tim 3:1 – “This is a trustworthy saying “If someone aspires to be an elder”, he desires an honorable position”
I find myself going back about 30 years to when I first felt my calling to go into ministry. The calling was so strong, sweet and pure! So innocent. My life had changed so much and I wanted to dedicate it to serving God for the rest of my life. I wanted people to know what HE can do and He does do when people stand before him naked and open. The problem being, looking back today is I did not stand before him naked and open…….. I only allowed parts of my life open to him and other I held on to tightly…. I did not do this on purpose, I believe it’s all I knew and I did the best I could, not even realizing it. I proclaimed transformation so boldly and so quickly that I had to start living it right away, tried living it in public while private life was not the same! This is the first time I’ve admitted that or maybe a better way to put it is the first time I’ve really seen it. Very quickly I had to “put on” who I was in front of people…….. my hearts desire, my prayers, my hope was that one day soon all would change, or I could suppress it all until it went away. AS I KNOW NOW, that is just a stupid way to think and to live, everything that is not nailed to the cross and crucified will bear it’s ugly little head sooner or later. I really DID have the desire to be a person that lived a HOLY LIFE.
Another part of this first Scripture is the idea of an “honorable position” — man oh man. I question what my motive was in this at this point of my life. Did I look at it as an honorable position or a position to gain honor?
I do believe that GOD called me to preach, I do believe that God touched me and changed so much of me, I DO believe that God wanted to complete the work He started in me. I do believe that God used me in many ways. But God will not be mocked and after all these years I was exposed and my entire life came out…….. not to the world but to me! And for that I am so very grateful to Him. Now it’s me and God walking through this day by day, in the midst of transformation and renewal, restoration and a heart that is be made ready to do His work.
A very grateful man!!