We are so grateful to Chuck for sharing his devotionals with us. They are not just relevant but powerful as we frame and re-frame our work as entrepreneurs. The prayer at the end of each piece is a beautiful synthesis of thanks and requests to God. We hope it’s as encouraging to you as it’s been to us!
— by Chuck Alley
1 You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. 2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. 3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
The content of Christian teaching includes both word and deed, as does its method. Unlike the false teachers who teach one thing and then live lives that appear to contradict what they teach; the Christian teacher is to “practice what he preaches.” In addition, the teacher is to instruct Christians in the body of recognized truth (1) and how to live according to that corpus (2-5). In Christianity belief and behavior are inseparable. The message of “do as I say and not as I do” has no traction either in the Christian community or in the watching world. We need to remember that the ultimate purpose of the Christian is to share the truth about God in the world, and that our hypocrisy is one of the greatest impediments to the spread of the Gospel (5).
No matter what we say, if our belief in God makes no observable difference in our attitudes and actions, and we live our lives just like our unbelieving neighbors, then who will take notice of God? If we live according to the ways of the world, but proclaim that we follow Jesus, then our witness to God is actually negative. If God is really sovereign over our lives, then our lives must reflect that reality by being noticeably different.
In the time of the Old Testament, the power and existence of a god was demonstrated on the battlefield. The winner of the battle had the stronger god. Today the battlefield is our daily life. How we live and how we react to those with whom we live reveal whether the world or God has a stronger influence on us. The real battle is within us. Will we hold fast to our belief in God and let him dictate how we live? Or will we surrender to our own selfish desires and our addiction to self-fulfillment? As a result, St. Paul repeats the need for believers in all stations of life to be temperate (2, 3), exercise self-control (2, 5), and to be motivated by love (2, 4). These alone do not comprise the entirety of the Gospel, but without them our lives will contradict the Gospel we are to proclaim and do violence to the Truth.
This day I dedicate myself to living according to your will, O God, and being a proper witness to the faith you have placed in my heart. I recognize that I am incapable of achieving success in this high calling without the grace of your Holy Spirit. Therefore, I yield my life to you this day so that you will use it as a vehicle for the spread of the knowledge of you in the world. Amen.