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About this series
The Book of 1 Timothy
Life Coaching from the Apostle Paul
If you looked up the word coach in the dictionary, you might see phrases like: “one who teaches, gives instruction, or provides special training.” The question is: who’s coaching you? And who are you coaching? In this 12-part series based in 1st Timothy, Chip dives into one of the most well-known mentor-mentee relationships in the Bible. Through this study, Chip identifies 6 pieces of godly wisdom the Apostle Paul passed on to his protégé Timothy. Don’t miss how we can apply these timeless lessons to our lives, and pass them on to others.More from this series
Some of you that lift weights would love this word persevere. It’s everywhere. James 1. Remember? It says, “Consider it all joy when you encounter various trials, knowing the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” It’s hupomeno. Compound word. Hupo means “to be under.” Meno, “under pressure or stress.” Some of you actually pay to be under pressure and stress. And you usually have a partner, you put it on here, hupomeno, hupomeno, hupomeno.
And then it’s, “Come on! Come on! Come on!” Right? And you understand how it works. I’m sure most of you do. Is when you get to that third set, is what you’re doing is you are tearing the fibers of the muscle just ever so slightly. And the reason you don’t want to lift hard two days in a row the same muscles is you don’t want to tear too much. But what you do is you tear them a little bit.
Then if you’re smart you get some protein in you. And then in about twenty-four to forty-eight hours, as it heals back, guess what, that’s why your muscles get bigger. Your muscles get bigger because of resistance.
Your soul expands with godliness when you go through adversity. God uses suffering. Could you imagine what would happen if you would rethink adversity rather than, Oh, God, why me? Or, This is so terrible, or, life is not really fair. And you saw it more as this is a test of my faith – hupomeno – and I’m going to get up each day and like Timothy, I’m going to take pains. I’m going to absorb myself. I’m going to renew my mind. I’m going to memorize the Scripture. I’m going to get with some guys that really want to do life.
And I will tell you what, in the midst of that adversity, we will meet you two years or five years or seven years from now and you will have people say, “what happened to you?” And they’re not probably going to say something, “Oh, you’re so Christlike.” But they’ll see it.
This passage – coaching nuggets to me that are the big takeaways – here’s the truth. Here’s the truth and drink this in. It’s in bold. Some will fall away from the faith. I don’t want to sound negative; I want to be realistic. Some of you in this room will fall away from the faith.
You’d be surprised how many college freshmen go away to school and everyone else is smoking dope, everyone else is getting high, everyone else is drinking, everyone else is getting laid, and pretty soon they’ve come from a Christian family or maybe even a Christian school. And pretty soon, “I’m not sure if I believe in God anymore.” Big intellectual issue.
See, here’s the thing. When you’re sleeping with someone and when you’re doing things that are wrong and you know they’re wrong, it so guts at your conscience, the only way to cop out is you have to have some resolution in your mind, so you change your theology. But it doesn’t change the truth.
And here’s the thing, you always get what you sow. The challenge is, as the writer of Ecclesiastes points out, is you never reap in the same season.
The reason evil is – you know, when – I don’t know about you, when I sin and sin in things, and especially before I was believer when I sinned, you know, people said, “Oh, the sin is terrible.” I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. I really did. Right? I mean… Because most sin is taking a good thing that God designed for us and getting it at the wrong time or in the wrong way.
But the thing about sin is you can do it and it just doesn’t seem like, “Hey, that, hey, that was no big deal. That didn’t – I didn’t hurt anybody. I’m not addicted to anything. This isn’t a problem. My marriage didn’t break apart. I didn’t become some wild, crazy, terrible person.”
Well, that’s like a farmer dropping a seed in the ground and coming back the next day and going, “Man, that seed doesn’t work!” Oh, yeah, it does. You just can’t see it right now. And then you water it. And, see, that’s why it’s so hard to be godly, because you have to sow righteousness. And when you sow righteousness, it takes time for it to grow, for your mind to be renewed, for you to change. And, see, when you sow good things, it takes a while to see the fruit. And when you sow bad things, it takes a while to see the fruit.
And so, this really is Paul trying to help Timothy understand some will fall away because of what they pay attention to. But he says, “For this godliness, Christ-likeness, faithfulness, this is what we labor and strive…” And here’s the thing, it’s not just for now.
We have fixed our hope on the living God. There is hope for us every moment of every day and a heaven that awaits us - “who is the Savior of all men and especially of those who believe.”
And so, again, we have said Christ has made it possible by His death and resurrection; He has forgiven all people. But not all people will be saved, because some will reject the offer. It’s just like you can – I’ve got a bunch of grandkids. Twelve, if you can believe it. And I can have presents for everyone, but the only ones that get the presents are the ones who open the package.
Now, so far, we’re doing pretty well when we put presents under the tree, they seem to be very intelligent grandchildren. They grab their presents, see their name on it, and they open it! But it’s amazing to me how many adults don’t do the same thing with the present, because the Scripture says it’s by grace.
That’s a word for something that is free or it’s a present. “For by grace we are saved by faith; it’s not a result of your works, lest anyone of us would boast.” It’s by putting your faith in Christ.
Notice the response here is discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness. That’s what he told Timothy to do. Basically, lifting weights is great, running marathons is great, but godliness is good for now and forever.
Second, do not neglect the spiritual gift within you.
And then notice this last one is, “Take pains, be absorbed with so that your progress will be evident to all. Pay close attention to yourself and your teaching and persevere in these things.”
What I want to do now is I want to kind of go into coaching mode about how you can become a godly man. Alright? I mean, very, very specifically, how you can become a more godly man than you already are, because a lot of you are very godly men.
What does it take to live our lives where we are an example and people see our progress? The subject here is godly leadership amidst spiritual warfare, is that a fair summary, this chapter? Alright. The underlying issue is Timothy’s personal growth and development. Did you get that?
Here’s the underlying question for us: Am I willing to pay the price to be a godly man, underline “pay the price,” and then fulfill God’s calling on my life?
Did you know God has got – He has a calling for everyone. Not just pastors or missionaries. He’s got something for you to do that no one on this whole earth, eight billion people with their specific DNA.
Ephesians 2:10 says this, “You are His workmanship,” literally His tapestry, His poem, His work of art, “created in Christ Jesus unto a good work, which He preordained from the foundations of the earth that you would do.” Your personality, where you were born, your family of origin, the good, the bad, the ugly. Your spiritual gifts, your natural talents, the adversity you have been through – all of those things provide a package and you are able to do certain things, think certain ways, help certain people in ways like no one else in the world. And let me tell you something, when you discover what that is and you start traveling in that lane, it is awesome. It is awesome.
Chariots of Fire, anybody see the rerun of that? I love the line, “When I run, I feel God’s pleasure.” Can I tell you? That’s God’s will for you. For some, “When I counsel, I feel God’s pleasure.” “When I build a company unto the Lord, I feel God’s pleasure.” “When I help these orphans, I feel God’s pleasure.” When I teach that Sunday school class, I feel God’s pleasure.” “When I help these couples get back together, I feel God’s pleasure.” “When I make a lot of money…”
I have a great, great friend and we went to a conference about eighteen years ago, and he came away, with the conference was on generosity and he was fairly wealthy at the time. He had been broke two or three times, but knew how to make a bunch of money. And we came out of the conference and he goes, “I now know what I’m going to do with the rest of my life,” because he was near retirement. I said, “What?” He goes, “I’m going to get so much money!
I said, “Boy, this conference really had an impact on you.” And then he paused, “So I can give it all away.” I mean, he is an entrepreneur. He’s got water parks going over here, buying and selling, he just took a piece of land over here in a place in Texas. He is doing a deal over here, a deal over here.
And he is just giving away millions of dollars. And instead of sitting, like, “Well, guess, I guess, I guess I’m going to retire, you know? Of course, I’ve done the research and people that retire and don’t do anything die in about five years, so I think that’s not a good plan.” And he just thought, I’m in the prime of my life.
And he just, he says, “The joy, the joy of getting to just change whole people’s lives, whole villages’ lives, water in these places in the world where people were dying of bad water. I mean, you figure out, and God will show you.
It’s not like He’s going, “Oh, you know, good try. That’s not it. No, no, no. Door number three! Door number four!” He’s going, like, “Here’s the door! Let’s partner.
The action required is to: Step Out! To step out and be an example. And to step out and not worry about what other people think.
It means going into spiritual training. It means discovering your spiritual gift. It means finding a mentor, a friend, or a band of brothers because you cannot do this alone. It’s not hard, it’s impossible.
And I went into spiritual training – I just, early on, I did some things like, “No Bible, no breakfast.” If you don’t like to eat breakfast, you’ll have to try something else. I love to eat breakfast. And I just developed the habit that I got in God’s Word first thing every day. Mind over mattress. It’s really simple. You develop habits. Set the alarm and don’t ever push snooze. It’s illegal. Because, here’s – you build fiber! It goes off, I get up, because my body is not going to tell me how I’m going to live my life. My emotions are not going to dictate my life. I am in charge of my life.
And you go into training to be in charge of your life. You don’t – “Oh, I feel sad today. I feel kind of bad today.” That’s just fine. I really feel bad, I really feel sad, those are very genuine emotions, and I’m going to choose to do what I was supposed to do anyway. That’s how you live.
And the moment you make the choice and start doing it, you get grace, you get grace, you get grace. And then you have bad days and you do stupid things and you get with your guys and you say, “You know, this week, I did some bad things. I did some stupid things. And I told the Father I’m really sorry. Guys, will you pray with me?” And I need to own it. “Confess your sins to one another that you might be - healed.” That’s life!
The unspoken need is to develop personal – can you guess? Discipline. The source of discipline according to Titus 2:11 through 13 is grace. “For it’s the grace of God that appeared bringing salvation to all men instructing us,” this is what grace does, “to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly,” really the word is “disciplined lives righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” You’ve got to know the source of discipline. It’s not willpower.
Second, you have to embrace the process. Hebrews 12:11. “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful but sorrowful, yet those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” You need to become a delayed gratification junkie.
I tend to be always in a hurry. I went into training. I went into training for two years, because I was always the last guy, I was always in a hurry, I was always rushed, I was putting myself under stress. And you can’t grow spiritually and love people if you’re always in a hurry. And so, I went into training and I drove on the right lane for two years. It was painful.
For two years, if I walked into the grocery store, you know, I’m the guy that’s going: line, line, line. Who is the best cashier? This line is moving. Doo, doo, doo. I’m in this line, no, I think I’m going to move to this line. Get in the long line. Review some verses. A calmness. I used to get just to the airport just two…I get there early now. Take this, new routine, I’m going to grab a cup of coffee, spend some time really pondering. It took two years. I was such a workaholic. But I went into training, and little by little, God changed my pace, my thinking, stress. You can go into training.
The most powerful thing I have done in all my life in life-change is memorizing Scripture. The practice, the habits of discipline, Romans 12:2, we already quoted it. Colossians 3 is, it’s a really powerful passage – the whole chapter. But it has, if you don’t take anything else away and you may circle that for future, because what it has, it has this truth on the front end that helps you understand how all the practices on the back end.
After talking about where to set your mind and talking about what Christ has done he says, “So then, as those who are chosen by God,” so, you are wanted, “those who are holy,” so, that’s how God sees you, “and are deeply loved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone. And beyond all these things, put on love which is the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts to which indeed you were called into one body. And let the Word of God richly dwell within you with all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. And in whatever you do, in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him.”
What I try and do, I either do Psalm 23; the Lord’s Prayer. But you know that moment just as you’re waking up, I call it the grey zone. You’re not, like, chhh. But your mind is starting - and what I try and do is at that very moment, because it sets my day. Since I’m loved, since I’m holy, since I’m chosen. Then I just whisper, “Oh God, would You help me put on a heart of compassion. Help me to feel what You feel when You see people in need, kindness.”
And I just go through that, just when I first wake up, it starts my day in a very different way. I think very carefully about what I put in my mind before I go to bed. I have a little stack of verses that I just review, just before I go to bed. Because as I sleep and I’m unconscious, your brain works.
All I’m saying is if you wanted to run a marathon, except for some of us that are a little older or with joints that don’t work, by and large, if you went into training for six months, everyone here could run twenty six point two miles without stopping. I watched my assistant do it years ago. And a complete non-athlete. But, man, she changed her diet, she started walking, then after she started walking she learned how to jog, then she had a friend and then she, “Could I come in a little bit late? I’m going to run two miles.” Then it was like, “It’s Friday. I’m going to get up really early, but I’m doing a ten mile.” And six months, six months later…
Because you have in you all that you need from God. What you need now is to go into training. And as you do that, literally, for three, six, eight, ten weeks, man, you’re going to say no to so much TV, you’re going to say no to some things and renew your mind. And don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to go off crazy. But if you’ll stop putting some things in your mind and start putting some things, others in your mind that’s truth, man, your emotions will change, your demeanor will change, God will change you.