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Men's blog

Archive for May 2014

2, 4, 6, 8, Who Do You Imitate?

“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” – The Apostle Paul

The Christian life is designed in such a way that much of our growth in Christ comes through imitating those who are more advanced in the Christian walk, imperfect though they be.

In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul calls on the Corinthians to “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). This call for imitation is contained in the notion of building up the body of Christ through seeking the improvement of others rather than one’s own benefit. Therefore, this call of imitation demanded that the Corinthians sought the well-being of others rather than their own.

How is this going for you? How are you doing at looking out for the well being of others? You see, for most of us our focus is on “self” and not on others. But that is not what Paul is encouraging us to do. Instead, we are being called into a life of imitation, which means a life of sacrifice, a life of service, a life of forgiveness, a life of caring for the poor, and a life of love, even love of our enemies. So, how is it going for you in imitating Paul and Christ in this way? For me, not so good! I often find myself imitating those who have success in this world, rather it be with money, popularity, a nicer home, or a fancier car. But, that’s not my call and it’s not your call. We are to imitate Paul and imitate Christ by looking out for the advancement of another rather than the advancement of our self.

~ Tim Hall
https://twitter.com/1timothy12
(I encourage feedback, questions & comments – email me at 1timothy46@gmail.com)

Servant

Question? What are you a servant to? Your job? Your family? Your bank account? Your ego? Your addiction? Your religion? You see, we are all a servant to something or someone. The Apostle Paul understood this and understood whom he was to be a servant of: “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus” (Romans 1:1),”Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:1), “Paul, a servant of God” (Titus 1:1). Without a doubt, Paul’s identity was found in being a servant of Jesus Christ. Whatever He asked Paul to do, Paul did it. Wherever He called Paul to go, Paul went. Whatever price He asked Paul to pay, Paul paid because he was a servant of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

Paul considered being a servant of Jesus a privilege. He was willing to subject himself to the will of the Master with complete and utter devotion to nothing else or no one else but Jesus. In all circumstances, Paul puts Christ at the highest possible place in his life and affirms that he belongs to his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

So, what about you? When you are called to do something you don’t want to do or asked go down a road you rather not go or called upon to pay a price you don’t want to pay, will you respond by being a servant to your own will and the comforts of this world? Or will you follow the example of a junior high aged girl who when told she was going to give birth to the Son of God responded by saying, “I am the Lord’s servant” (Luke 1:38). By responding this way and living our lives as a servant of the Lord, we worship Him (Psalm 34:1-3), we live according to His will (Romans 12-15), and we obediently walk with Him (John 14:15).

To the Apostle Paul, there was nothing more noble than being a servant of Christ Jesus. He desired to be nothing, to do nothing, to have nothing apart from Him. Are you willing to follow the example of Paul and live your life as a servant of Christ Jesus? What’s holding you back?

~ Tim Hall
https://twitter.com/1timothy12
(I encourage feedback, questions & comments – email me at 1timothy46@gmail.com)

Forgiveness


Nobody really wants to think about or talk about forgiveness. To do so reminds us of the hurt, the pain, the suffering, the anger, the distance, or the resentment experienced in our lives – either because of something we did to somebody or something somebody did to us. But we are exhorted to “forgive each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

Jesus says a very challenging thing to us. He tells us, “Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” In other words, there should be no limitations on your forgiveness to others. As long as they say “sorry” you say “I forgive you”.

But here’s the thing, there is a truth that each of us knows….forgiveness is a hard thing to do. It is hard because behind every act of forgiveness there is a wound of betrayal and pain that just won‘t go away. And even after forgiveness is granted, the pain of the wrong done against us lives on in our memory and this makes forgiveness achingly difficult, blatantly unfair, and extremely difficult to do. So, instead of forgiving, we nurse our sores, we try to rationalize our behavior; we punish ourselves and punish others all to avoid forgiving.

Henri Nouwen said forgiveness is “love practiced among people who love poorly”. What if instead of holding a grudge, we practiced love? When we choose to practice love and forgive someone, it disengages that person from their hurtful act and allows transformation to take place in their life. When you choose to practice love and forgive, it allows the relationship to start over and begin anew. When you choose to practice love and forgive, it shows value in the person who hurt you.

So, who needs proof of your love? Who do you need to forgive?

~ Tim Hall
https://twitter.com/1timothy12
(I encourage feedback, questions & comments – email me at 1timothy46@gmail.com)

Train Up!

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

This week I was reminded of this verse. Most of you know that my wife, Erin, and I have two small children (a 3.75 year old and a 9 month old). I am a stay-at-home dad, so my primary job is caring for them. But, this week I struggled with this. I was presented with a couple of options for some ministry work outside of the home. This occupied most of my thoughts and I found myself becoming somewhat irritable which came to its pinnacle on Thursday as I was not very gracious with my patience toward my son.

We were at a very public place and he was not listening well. In the middle of one activity, he proceeded to do something that I had asked him not to do. Instead of responding with grace, I was very stern, perhaps overly stern with him. This brought tears to his eyes and guilt to me. The situation was easily forgotten by Lincoln, but not by me. On our way home, my mind kept replaying the way I responded to him and I was reminded of Proverbs 22:6. I wondered what kind of example I was setting for my son. At that moment, was I training him in the way he should go?

Many parents train with a “do as I say and not as I do” approach (myself included). But training is more than telling or pointing your children to the right kind of conduct, it is also showing them. It is being the right kind of example for them to follow. It is living your life in a way that shows your child the way they should go. At times this may require discipline, but even more than that, it will require love, grace, and humility.

When we returned home, I sat Lincoln on his bed. I got down on my knees and looked him in eyes and apologized for the way I responded. His reply was priceless. He looked at me and said, “thank you, you’re a good daddy and I love you.” When it comes to forgiveness and moving forward, his response is an example for us all to follow.

~ Tim Hall
https://twitter.com/1timothy12
(I encourage feedback, questions & comments – email me at 1timothy46@gmail.com)