Weighty Words: Ambition & approval.

The goal and power of the Christian life is worship. Everyone everywhere at every moment worships someone or something. What do you worship? What are you worshiping right now? Whose approval do you crave?

Paul’s ambition in a phrase:

So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please Him.
—2 Corinthians 5:9

Here’s a man so bent on helping others grow and know God that he takes responsibility for their very lives. So he sacrificed and gave and confronted and extended grace. Paul was relentless and driven, yet transparent and authentic.

Things can get complicated quickly when so many relationships are at stake. Yet his ambition and desire for approval was singular: pleasing God was all he wanted to do. When he submitted his daily plans to God no one else was CC’d on the email.

In a culture where we are commended to focus on pleasing ourselves and where masses celebrate those who make their living pleasing themselves in public (celebrities), what a freeing reality to find ourselves wrapped up in pleasing Someone who is genuinely worth celebrating. He is so worthy and compellingly beautiful that any small thing done for Him is greater than something big done for ourselves (who are so small).

How will you please God today?

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Weighty Words: But as for you.

To find out what a person values most, there’s little need to ask him or her. Just watch what they pursue.

“But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.”
—1 Timothy 6:11-16

Even in run-on sentences like these, Paul never uses religious jargon, and none of his words are wasted in charges like these. The weight of the words is not so much in what Timothy was to do in response. The gravity is found in who God is: the “blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kinds and Lord of lords,” who alone will never die (is eternal and immortal). He dwells in unapproachable light and deserves all honor. He is the perfect benevolent Monarch; no need for democracy in his kingdom, as He always gets it right and richly provides for even the least in His land.

Often we look around the room to find the most talented, successful, charismatic, and powerful person, and then almost like clockwork get set in motion trying to earn their approval. (Paul describes those kinds of people — the rich, powerful and famous — in the verses that follow.) We strive to be noticed and go to great lengths to earn distinction before that person. There’s no need to do that. Only the One described above has words weighty enough to be obeyed. Through the generosity and integrity found in His character, He can compel us to follow hard after Him. Flee the old life. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Become famous for those attributes.