“But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6:6-21 NRSV).
In Paul’s letter to Timothy he gives support and sound advice on how to live and what to teach others in the new life in Christ Jesus. Paul wrote further, “Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the profane chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge; by professing it some have missed the mark as regards the faith.” Missing the mark as regards faith is not just an intellectual mistake, it is everything.
In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he gives us further encouragement and strengthening. He writes in chapter 1, verse 7, “For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.” We should ask ourselves some questions. Are we embarrassed for people to know about our faith? Do we refrain from engaging those who we do not think are believers? Do we have our lives ordered so as to soak up spiritual nourishment from our Lord on a regular basis? Are we able to love the unlovable? Do we try to engage and take on the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives?
The doctrine of “separation of Church and State” makes us think that we must live two lives and keep two sets of books on ourselves. It is easy to fall into this trap. We think that when we’re at work or play, or any activity that is not directly connected with our church life, that we must think and act differently. This promotes a “going along with the crowd” mentality and plays right into the devil’s hands. He would like for us to think that our faith will interfere with our ability to do our work and interact with others outside the faith. The doctrine of separation of Church and State came to be not because there is something wrong with being faithful in our worldly work, but to protect us from those in power that hold certain religious beliefs and would deny others religious freedom.
Living life with God as our source is nothing to be ashamed of and is meant to take us into and through every aspect of our lives. All that we do is done better with our focus on Christ. It matters not what worldly chore we are working at. It is through our strong witness that the Lord’s great commission is to be fulfilled. We are to encourage and support each other in following His commandments. God, through Christ Jesus and His Spirit is always with us in all things and in all places.
Robert Halsey Pine was born in Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.