Today’s Bible reading is Ezekiel 1 and 1 Timothy 5.
In 1 Timothy 5, Paul uses three phrases to warn us away from a terrible trajectory.
- In verse 6, he describes a “self-indulgent” woman who is “dead even while she lives.”
- In verse 11, he sounds the alarm that personal “passions” can “draw” us “away from Christ.”
- In verse 15, he laments the fact that “some have already strayed after Satan.”
How does a disciple of Jesus–a man or woman who has been heaven-bound–“stray after Satan”? Just work your way back up that list above. We “stray after Satan” by being “drawn away” from Christ.
Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed… (James 1:14a)
Lured and enticed by what?
…by his own desire. (James 1:14b)
Or, as Paul puts it in 1 Timothy 5, self-indulgence–the launching point of a terrible trajectory. Choosing self over God. Exalting self above others. Centering life on self. Setting aside what I know to be true in order to gratify myself. Indulging in the fleeting pleasures of sin at the expense of the ultimate reward.
…and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (James 1:15)
This is how a man or woman can be dead spiritually even as he or she is alive and well physically.
All of which means, we need to be self-aware today. More than that, we need to put our selves in their proper places. We need reminding that “our old self was crucified with Christ in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin” (Rom 6:6). We’ve been given the opportunity to live as selfless “sacrifices” today, “holy and acceptable to God,” which is our spiritual worship (Rom 12:1).
Maybe that’s the most succinct way of summarizing the whole thing: Who am I going to worship today? “All of self and none of Thee” is the path to slavery and death. “None of self and all of Thee” is the path to joyful freedom and life.