I’ve been reading 1 Timothy for my devotionals the past few days. What struck me last night was this:
1 Timothy 1:18-19
This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience
OK, so living the Christian life is analogous to fighting (or warfare in the KJV). Sounds awfully dramatic.
But then Paul goes on to discuss such apparently mundane things as spending time in prayer, the proper behavior of Christian wives, the qualifications for elders and deacons, caring for widows, and so on.
This is _warfare_?
Apparently so. This is where the battle is fought – in our ordinary, day-to-day lives. I don’t generally like Bible paraphrases, but The Message renders Romans 12:1 as “Take your everyday, ordinary life–your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life–and place it before God as an offering.” The battle is that everyday, ordinary “sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life”. That’s where the battle is fought, that’s where the service is rendered. It’s not primarily about sacrificial giving, exceptional acts of service like going into foreign missions or being a preacher, or any of that. God is far more concerned with my ordinary, day-to-day life than He is with my giving, church attendance, and theology class.
I was skimming the first few chapters of “A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life” the other day, and the author makes an outstanding point. We all understand and agree that our prayer lives should be thoroughly devoted to God. You shouldn’t let your mind wander; you should block out distractions; you should pray “not my will, but Thy will be done” and ask for things in accordance with God’s will instead of your own desires (James 4:3). But if our prayer life is to be that devoted to God, shouldn’t the rest of our lives be, too?
As William Law puts it, “For any ways of life, any employment of our talents, whether of our parts, our time, or money, that is not strictly according to the will of God, that is not for such ends as are suitable to His glory, are as great absurdities and failings, as prayers that are not according to the will of God.”
It must look ridiculous for me to look for ways to serve God in great ways when the real battle is serving Him in my ordinary, everyday life. The real battle is in the seemingly little things.