Suggested reading for week of January 23rd
1 Timothy 1
This week’s Project Ezra suggested reading is 1 Timothy 1. Although there are a number of ideas that could be used as lead-ins to the gospel, I think the best idea to use both as a springboard, and as a personal meditation, is the issue of humility. I verses 12 through 16 in particular Paul start talking about his state before Christ and then talks about the amazing transformation that took place, not because of anything he had done, but in order that God might be glorified. That kind of humility from a man who may be the greatest evangelist in the Bible, outside of Jesus himself, is a pattern I believe we should all follow, and it’s something many people are not used to hearing from Christians.
Humility may not seem like a natural transition to the gospel, but if you do much witnessing you have probably heard from people, as I have, that one of the reasons they don’t like Christianity and church is the hypocrisy and arrogance they see. It is very easy for us to come across that way, even if you don’t intend to, and it can do incredible damage. Early in my Christian life, thanks to my overbearing attitude and ignorance of how to respond to issues biblically, I managed to alienate several members of my own family, making it very difficult to this day, almost 20 years later, to discuss spiritual things with them. Today, one of the elements I make sure to include in both my one-on-one conversations and my open-air is the fact that I am not claiming to be perfect, better, or more worthy than anyone listening to me. I have often said I’m not telling people to try to be like me, and most of the time I don’t want to be like me. The more time goes by, the more I truly realize how just God would be in sending me to hell, and what an amazing gift the grace I have received through the shed blood of Jesus really is.
This week try using the law in a more self-reflective way. Apply God’s law to yourself, and talk about how you are worthy of judgment because of your moral crimes against God. Talk about how it brought conviction to your heart. Then talk about the amazing grace God has shown to you. This is also an approach I have used in situations where it is more difficult or considered less appropriate to talk about spiritual things, such as at work or with my immediate family, and it has allowed me to share the gospel when I may not have been able to otherwise. Hope this helps, and hope to hear stories and see pictures and video from many of you this week. Thanks for being part of Project Ezra.
All for His glory!