Daily Readings & Thought for November 23rd. “PUFFED UP WITH CONCEIT”
Today’s readings.. (Nehemiah 11), (Amos 3), (1 Timothy 6)
As a sequel to our thoughts yesterday, we recall how often the gospels revealed the Pharisees, Sadducees and other Jewish hierarchy as being “puffed up with conceit” in their opposition to Jesus. But our human minds continuously threaten to descend into this kind of behaviour UNLESS they are strongly influenced by a conviction of the privilege, and, as a result, the wonder and inner spiritual joy of serving God and His son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
As we read his letters to Timothy we see how he gave Paul much “joy”. In his 2nd Epistle he writes, “I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy” How much do we have this experience with fellow believers? How saddening it is when we sense wrong attitudes such as Paul counselled Timothy to be on his guard against in today’s final chapter of his 1st Epistle. He feared that the growing ecclesia at Ephesus [Ch.1 v.3] where Timothy was based, would lose sight of the true spirit and foundation of its commitment to God and Christ.
He continues, “if anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing …” [6 v.3,4] That’s a remarkable statement to make! If you become conceited it results in you understanding nothing! But that’s exactly what happened to the Pharisees and Sadducees, except for one or two like Nicodemus, the one who came to Jesus by night. [John 3 v.1-12; 19 v.39]
This conceit, Paul goes on to write, creates a “constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth … ” [v.5] We must tell ourselves, ‘I have been warned, I need the right kind of food for my mind every day – and this will lead to a genuine prayer life so that, as Paul tells Timothy, we will be genuinely motivated to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness” so that we can “Fight the good fight of the faith.”[v.11,12] until our faith is turned to sight – and how soon will that be?