First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
We are called to live godly lives because we are kingdom citizens regardless of the situation we find ourselves. Christians often celebrate what is often entitled The Christian Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11 but notice all of those saints suffered in their lives and I think the hook is the phrase describing them as “of whom the world was not worthy.” The historical context of those in the past who suffered for the Lord cannot be overlooked when we are called to godly living in the next chapter when it says, “let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. . .” This is a call to live for the Lord in the midst of great difficulty and we should count it as our joy just as James 1:2 instructs believers, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds. . .”
The missionary’s death was more than a shock to those who knew him best. A void would be left in their lives as he gave to the youth in a camp in China everything he had to give. His death must have been painful as he developed an inoperable brain tumor as he uttered his final words about his full surrender to God which was evident throughout his life. Who was this missionary? His name was Eric Liddell and his story came alive in a 1981 movie called, Chariots of Fire. He was a runner but more than that he was a Christian and he lived what he professed as a member of the body of Christ. To qualify for the Olympics must be a fulfilled dream of many people every four years, and Eric’s joy to run the 100-meter race was soon filled with difficulty when he learned he would have to run on the Christian Sabbath. He refused to run the 100-meter race which he would be the favorite for a gold medal, because of his conscience. He knew why he ran, as he said, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run, I feel his pleasure.” He was a middle of the pack 400-meter runner and decided to pursue that distance leading up to the Olympics because none of the races were on Sunday. Who would do this? He wasn’t expected to win anything, but he not only won the gold medal in the 1924 Olympics, but he broke both the Olympic and World records. What a powerful testimony! What is interesting is that a year after the Olympics, he entered missionary service in China until his death. When he spoke about his purpose in that famous quote, it had nothing to do with running, but glorifying God in his life.
Our lives will be filled with difficulty in the future as it has been in the past, but will we take the easy path of disobedience or will we follow the Lord with joy seeking to glorify our great God. Currently, all of us are affected in some degree with this virus being called a pandemic. We have no control over the virus, but we can control how we respond to it. Our lives have been affected by a million decisions we have made throughout the years, but one thing is certain. We should seek to glorify God through these days of fear and uncertainty. How should we live? Paul wrote to Timothy what a godly life looks like, and we would do well to heed his advice as well.
Pray for Everyone
This may be too judgmental, but I think Christians spend more time talking about prayer than praying. It is foundational in our relationship with the Lord and we are called to pray even if we do not have urgent prayer requests, and it is reflective of our relationship with the Lord. Think about it this way. How we pray often is forged by our years with the Lord. If I pray everyday to the Lord and speak to him throughout the course of my life, then I will have far less difficulty than one who only prays when he must.
Paul states prayer is an issue of necessity when he writes, “First of all,” which indicates the importance of this spiritual discipline. Paul does not say prayer is a good idea, or if you have time, but rather he assumes they will pray. He strengthens his argument when he describes prayer in four ways. He calls prayer supplication, which has the idea of going to God for the sake of another person. We should be praying for each other and in this way we ought to be a community of faith. We should be praying for those going through difficulty in their lives. In this way, prayer is selfless and not self-centered. Paul also says prayer which reminds us of whom we are speaking. Prayer is our speaking to God who sits on his throne in heaven. We should remember to whom we are praying always and remember he wants us to pray to him. Prayer is also intercession as we intercede for others in our relationship with the Lord. We intercede for others when they are going through times of difficulty. We also intercede for those who do not know the Lord by asking the Lord to convict them of their sins and bring them to the knowledge of the truth. I know I pray that prayer often as I think about people who need the Lord. So often, this type of prayer is for the sake of the one who does not know the Lord. Our prayer should be thankful as Paul uses the word thanksgivings. Prayer is not just telling God what we want but prayer is also thanking God for who he is and what he has done. We should also thank the Lord because of his great promises to us throughout the pages of his Holy Word.
We should pray for our all people which means those we like and those we do not. I think we have an easier time praying for those people we like rather than those we do not. Here, we are called to pray for those in high positions, such as our President, Governor, and all politicians. We should still pray for them even if we did not vote for them. They have a lot of responsibility and must lead in times of difficulty. I do not think this is an easy time to be an elected official as concerns about public safety, economic consequences, and personal freedoms are being addressed.
Live a Godly Life
Our responsibility is clear. Our calling in life is to live godly lives which means we are to live as members of this society while applying the principles of God’s kingdom. We know our time here is short, but one day we will leave this place and shall be in the presence of our Lord. There is much argument among Christians how to live. Some believe we should enforce the Beatitudes on all people, but we cannot ask someone to act like a believer when they are not. We need to make sure we are living a godly life by obeying the principles of Christianity in the Word of God.
We live a godly life by being peaceful which means we do not seek confrontation and war in our lives, but we desire to be at peace. I have seen Christians who do not seek peace but seem to be the happiest when they are in the middle of controversy or at odds with other people. This is not what God has called us to, but we should be people who love peace. We should pay attention to the warning in Hebrews 12:14, “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” This means that every Christian should pursue with everyone and peace is a mark of holiness.
The Christian should also identify with a quiet life and not one that is boisterous and aggressive. We should seek peace with everyone and live out our faith in peace with others. Certainly, there are times when this is not possible, but we should seek to not make our leaders jobs more difficult than it has to be. Christians should not bring disrepute upon the kingdom of God. Do you pursue a quiet life? This does not mean we are quiet on issues of the gospel. Rather, we should preach Jesus to those who have never heard. We should always seek a quiet life within the context of obeying the command of God. In other words, we are compelled to obey the Great Commission and the Great Commandment, but we must do it in a peaceful and quiet way. The peace of Christianity will in the end win the day against the militaristic nature of Islam.
Please the Lord
Finally, we live a godly life by pleasing the Lord. We should seek the glory of God by what living as Christians and our faith should be clearly evident to those who do not know him because Jesus changes more than our future home, but he has given to us a new life and this should be evident in every believer. Ephesians 2 tells us we were spiritually dead, but the gospel resurrected us to spiritual life. Listen to the joyful words in Ephesians 2:4-6, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. . .” In other words, pleasing the Lord means being what he has created you to be, which is the point Paul makes in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Eric Liddell sought to glorify God in his life, but I think God was even more glorified in his death as generations of people have been touched by his profession of faith and unwillingness to compromise on his faith. May we seek to please the Lord during this difficult time in our life, because if we do not glorify God during the difficult times then how shall we glorify him during the good times. What does that say? Will we only worship the Lord and glorify him during the good times? Let us conclude by listening to the words of famous preacher, C.H. Spurgeon, “The apostle’s concern is not simply with our talk and conversation with one another, but with the whole course of our life and behavior in the world. The Greek word translated ‘manner of life’ signifies the actions and privileges of citizenship: And in this way we are commanded to let our actions, as citizens of the New Jerusalem, be worthy of the Gospel of Christ.”
To God be the Glory!
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Pastor Steven Lookabaugh has been our pastor since 2016 and is passionate about proclaiming the gospel of God through the weekly exposition of God’s Word; believing application is possible when one understands the historical/cultural meaning of the text. He leads our church in fulfilling our purpose toward the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations, and to the Great Commandment as we seek to love one another. He has a Doctor of Ministry degree in Expository Preaching from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with an emphasis on parabolic exposition. He is married to Jennifer and they have three children, Andrew, Kate and Olivia.