Daily D – 1 Timothy 1:15-16
1 Timothy 1:15, 16
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. (NIV)
Here’s a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I’m proof—Public Sinner Number One—of someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy. And now he shows me off—evidence of his endless patience—to those who are right on the edge of trusting him forever. (MSG)
Saturate is my word of the year. I’ve never had a word of the year until now. I may not do it again. My intention was to be filled fully with God’s Spirit. This is a noble quest. My experience has been rewarding and painful. Being filled to overflowing drives out anything unfitting to share space with the presence of God. Thus, the pain. Certain sins, attitudes, and prejudices long buried and carefully protected arose and required discarding.
Discarding is too polite of a word. Recycling will not do. We’re talking about more than deep-sixing. We’re talking full-on destruction. So long, farewell, goodbye!
Jim Hylton is an evangelist I first heard when I was living out the last year or so of my teens. He recently had heart surgery and is not in the best of physical health. Join me in praying for him.
Jim spoke in our church and talked about what it is like to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Being very Baptist, I listened to his words quite carefully, ready to expose a closet Pentecostal for what he was.
Here is what he said and what I have never forgotten, and this year in particular, have experienced. He asked if any of us had ever taken a cool drink of water from a water hose. Those of us who are not as delicate and refined as you most certainly have. Mowing the yard in the Texas summer will make you do things you would not ordinarily do if you stopped to think about it.
Jim reminded us how we need to exercise caution before drinking out of a water hose. A hose lying on the ground in the full light of the sun will have a residue of water that has been there for who knows how long. This water will be hot.
Also, since there is water in the hose, there are those critters requiring a drink of water from time to time that crawl into that hose. Therefore, before you delicate and refined individuals experiment with water hose drinking, turn on the water and let it run a bit. Notice how dead crickets, previously mowed blades of grace, and spider webs come out.
Feel the heat of the water in your hand as you hold the hose. Once the cool water hits the hose in your hand, you are safe to drink in its refreshment. Theoretically, that is. There are those among us who cannot help but think not about dead crickets, spiders, blades of grass and such, but also about those things unseeable by the naked eye that do terrible things to our intestines. Even so, if you are hot enough and the flow is cool enough, you will enjoy a drink from a water hose on a hot Texas summer day.
In this analogy, I am the water hose. As Jim said all those years ago, when the Spirit of God fills us to overflowing, there are a lot of dead crickets and such to wash out. When I asked God to saturate my life this year, he began forcing out a lot of stuff.
It appears the Apostle Paul saw his sins ever more clearly as he aged. The more clearly he saw his natural tendencies, the more he realized how great was God’s grace and mercy. Only a perfect God could love someone as imperfect as him. This is true for you and me as well.
Paul called himself the “worst of sinners” in these two verses. I love The Message paraphrase of these words where it says, “Public Sinner Number One.” That’s me.
The closer I draw to the light of Christ, the more clearly I see all of my flaws.
This is good news, believe it or not. Seeing my sins so clearly provides the opportunity for me to take them to Jesus in confession, agreeing about all the pains and problems they cause. The problem with confession and agreement is how we often go right back to the mud once we have bathed.
This year has been about repenting and replacing. It is good to repent, to turn away from the sin. It is not good to keep turning until we are facing and embracing the sin all over again. We need to replace it instead.
What is the big, bad sin you really don’t want anyone to know about? What about the one too frequently on display? You know, the one you said you were going to stop doing but keeps popping up again and again?
We only get rid of sin habits by replacing them with holy habits. This does not require hair shirts and climbing stairs on your knees while repeating the same prayer a hundred times. You do not need to write on a chalkboard a hundred times, “I am a big, fat gossip.” (Do they still make chalkboards?)
In one of the two bestselling books on habits, I can’t remember which, one of the authors said to write on a Post-It note, “I don’t do that.” He said to place it someplace you will see it often like the bathroom mirror or your computer monitor. I placed such a note on my trusty iMac. Someone with handwriting suspiciously similar to our granddaughter’s mother wrote under my note, “Since when?”
Here are two images to help you as God takes up more space inside your heart and mind and you see what gets washed out. Go with the flow. Let the Spirit of God drive out all of the impurities he finds. Let him build into your life all of those qualities that provide peace and completeness in your walk with him. It won’t be long before people, even those you naturally irritate, begin finding you refreshingly different.
I will seek Holy Spirit saturation.
Our Father, drive out all of the impurities of my life. I freely confess them one by one. I wholeheartedly embrace the replacements you provide. More of you. Less of me. More grace and mercy. Less sinful self-focus. Thank you for your immense and endless patience. Amen.
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Romans 2:4 Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?
Acts 18:24-26 Meanwhile, a Jew named Apollos, an eloquent speaker who knew the Scriptures well, had arrived in Ephesus from Alexandria in Egypt. He had been taught the way of the Lord, and he taught others about Jesus with an enthusiastic spirit and with accuracy. However, he knew only about John’s baptism. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him preaching boldly in the synagogue, they took him aside and explained the way of God even more accurately.