1 Timothy 1:1-7
An older Paul encourages a younger Timothy not to waste time with half-truths, endless stories that branch out in all directions, and meaningless, baseless chatter. Five minutes in today’s world is enough to understand that this is not only an ancient struggle, but a current one too.
How easy it is and how good it feels to be drawn into arguments that align with our own beliefs and reaffirm our own “rightness.” Paul urges the church then and the church now to exercise self-control and reserve our time, words, and mental space for what really matters: purity of heart, good conscience, sincere faith. This is a daily discipline, akin to editing a sentence or de-cluttering a room in a home. To allow for proper function and possibility, we must give love, purity, and sincerity the run of the house.
What a gem Paul gives his readers: remember that the aim of all training is love. Not self-aggrandizing love, of course, but love for others, love with others, love in community. The Dutch word gezellig may be helpful here. Translated in English as “cozy” and “warm,” it also combines with the idea of “welcome” and “togetherness.” When we discipline ourselves to make space for love in our conversations, our homes, and our hearts, we find we have room not only for God, but for others. When we get lazy and allow meaningless trivialities and fleeting memes and myths to clutter our lives, we find ourselves cramped and confined in our own self-righteousness. Let us follow the God who inspires self-control and leads us and our communities into the spaciousness of God’s love.
What have you hoarded, even if it is “good” or “right,” that may be cramping your life? What could be keeping you from living in the spaciousness of God’s love?
Christ, lead me to discern what needs to take up space in my life and help me release whatever gets in the way of living with your love. Amen.