READ: 1 Timothy 1:1-2
- It’s easy to slip into arrogance. Positions of power can cause that as can perceptions of personal accomplishment. But notice Paul’s approach. Yes, he is an apostle. But, that is the result of God’s command, not his ability. His role as a key participant in the establishment of the church came only because God commissioned his role.
- In light of Paul’s received authority, he can then ask Timothy [and Timothy’s listeners] to listen to his instructions and pass those along to the church in Ephesus. But, note, he doesn’t even appeal to his authority; instead, he appeals to his relationship. Timothy is his “true son in the faith.” Authority is so much stronger relationally than positionally. If people listen because of our position, that is far less effective than if they listen because of our relationship.
- Most would note Paul’s limited greeting to Timothy. In nearly every letter of Paul, he includes a prayer of thanksgiving or a statement of appreciation. Not here. He moves immediately into his concerns about the situation. The problems with the church in Ephesus are significant enough that Paul wastes no time getting right into them. Sometimes that’s as it should be. Don’t waste time; just get right to the point.
- Contrast your response to someone who has positional power over you with someone to whom you respond because of relationship.
- Reflect on someone you believe has allowed his/her position to cause them to be arrogant.
- How do you suppose Paul avoided letting his authority go to his head?
PRAY: Pray for a good attitude toward those who have authority over you. Ask God to help you model appropriate listening to authority. Pray for your group members as they interact with Scripture this week.