WONDERFUL THING IN THIS PASSAGE – It’s hard to live a life of obedience to God in a disobedient world. It’s especially difficult because we have minds that are easily confused about what God wants, hearts that love things we know He doesn’t approve of, and bodies that crave things He demands we avoid.
But, did you know that this time of difficult obedience will come to an end one day? On that day, straining to obey will no longer be needed or required.
In today’s chapter, Paul insists that we “flee from [ungodly] things, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.” (1 Tim. 6:11). Both the fleeing and the pursuing are strong action verbs that require long, enduring labor: running away from the bad things always snapping at our heels and running after the good things that sometimes seem just beyond our grasp. But this burdensome command will not last forever:
“Keep this command without fault or failure until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Tim. 6:14).
It isn’t that obedience will no longer be required – it will simply no longer be a burden. It will finally be possible! Imagine: Absolute, complete obedience will finally be possible! And it will be the most natural thing in the world. You will no more need to remind yourself to obey than you will need to remind yourself to eat or drink.
Any thought of disobedience will be unimaginable. You’ll finally be certain that God’s every desire is perfect. It will bring the best to you, to those you love, and to the universe, all at the same time. You’ll never again want something worse than His will. You’ll remain in easy obedience for the rest of forever.
WONDERFUL THING IN MY LIFE – That’s because you will have become like Jesus, and obedience to the Father is always natural and easy for Him. We began to become more like Him at salvation, and that process will continue the rest of our lives. The apostle John assured us that our transformation will be completed at Christ’s second coming, but he showed us three things we can do to move the process along until then:
“We know that when He appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself just as He is pure” (1 John 3:2-3).
- Draw closer to Jesus – When we finally come face to face with Jesus and “see Him as He is,” our transformation will be completed. In the meantime, we can draw near to Him – in His Word, in obedience, in prayer – and He will draw near to us. The better we know Him, the more we’ll resemble Him.
- Trust His promises – “Everyone who has this hope in Him,” who trusts completely in His transforming work, will find himself cooperating with that transformation rather than resisting it.
- Work at the process – God does the heavy lifting in changing us so that obedience is easier, but we are not passive. The one who draws near Christ and trusts in His promises must still work at purifying himself, getting rid of the bad stuff and keeping the good.