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NO EVIDENCE

1 TIMOTHY 3:10

“These men must also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach.”

I need to say something right from the beginning about this verse. It is not saying a man must be perfect to be a deacon. “Beyond reproach” means there is no evidence that can be found to convict him. It can also be translated as “blameless.” So, a man who desires to be a deacon must keep his nose clean, as the saying goes.

Why is that important? Because we believers should stand out in a lost world as different. The lost should see us as different. They should know there is something different about us. If we have the same junk in our lives as the world, why should they surrender their lives to Christ?

APPLICATION

Are your children beyond reproach? Hardly! Being beyond reproach takes time to prove. The verse says they must be tested. This means to prove what is good. How do you do that with your little Johnny or Susie? You must give them ample opportunities to build their faith and trust the Lord. You must observe them “walking the talk” and hold them accountable.

Our children need to know they are going to mess up. But they need to know there is forgiveness. And anything He has forgiven cannot be held against them. Christ died to forgive them of their sins, and He is interceding right now for us against the great accuser, the devil. They can be beyond reproach only though Christ.

How would you test out? Would you be found guilty right now of all your sins? Or are you beyond reproach because you are a child of the King? Live victoriously. Live with purpose. Live blameless because of Him.

Lord God, I give You all the praise for the forgiveness I have received and will receive through You. Thank You for seeing me as clean and beyond reproach. That is only possible through Your Son, Jesus Christ.

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CLEAR CONSCIENCE

1 TIMOTHY 3:9

but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.”

Do you have a clear conscience? What does that really even mean? Well, let’s break it down. “Clear” here means “spiritually cleanbecause you are purified by God. You are free from the contaminating (soiling) influences of sin.” So, have you been purified by God?

“Conscience” is that connection between spiritual and moral. Strong’s Concordance says this, “Accordingly, all people have this God-given capacity to know right from wrong because each is a free moral agent.” A deacon has been cleansed by God from sin and walks with Him in such a way that he knows right from wrong.

APPLICATION

If you can’t see how to apply this verse to your kids, you might need to go back to parenting school, lol. Isn’t this exactly what we spend 90% of our time doing? We are constantly teaching our children right from wrong. We teach them to walk with our Lord and be purified from sin.

You see, that is the problem. WE are trying to teach them. Do you want to know why it is so hard to do that? It’s because it’s not our job.  Our job is to point them to the cross and let the Lord do the conviction. WE can’t teach them every right from wrong. Only the Spirit of God can show them that. We must continue to point out the right way and trust the Lord to direct their hearts as it is yielded to Him.

So, let me ask you again. Do you have a clear conscience? Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to have complete and total control of your thought life? How about your finances? How about your choice of careers? As you give it ALL to HIM, HE can purge you and cleanse you from the influence of sin. Only then will you have the clear conscience Paul speaks of here.

Cleanse my mind right now, Lord. Open my eyes to see everything Your way. I ask You to reveal the evil all around me that is just waiting to trip me up.

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TWO TONGUES?

1 TIMOTHY 3:8

“Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain,”

What in the world does the term “double-tongued” mean? This word is only used here in 1 Timothy 3:8. It literally means to say one thing but mean another. It could be translated as “double speaking.” You may have heard it this way – “talking out of both sides of his mouth.”

You get the picture. A double-tongued person cannot be trusted. That’s why Paul is saying this. A deacon must be trustworthy. He must be someone you can confide in. He must tell you the truth. He must mean what he says and say what he means. Any hedging on that disqualifies him from serving as a deacon.

APPLICATION

We teach our children not to lie, as we should. But we should also teach them this principle. Saying anything with the intention to mislead someone is sin. Siblings will do that, won’t they? What they tell their little brother may be true, but it may not be THE truth. Follow? You see, you can carefully choose your words so they are technically true and at the same time lead someone in the wrong direction.

The Lord wants us to be completely truthful at all times. That’s hard. We can’t do it on our own. Your children will find that out. But with the surrender of their will to His will, He will give them the correct words to say every time. We teach our children to speak as if speaking to the Lord. That way they will always say exactly what they mean.

Have you ever been accused of being double-tongued? Do you have the tendency to mislead people? Confess that as sin today. Ask the Lord to direct your tongue. Seek to follow Him no matter the cost. He will reward those who diligently seek Him.

Father God, keep my tongue focused on speaking Your truths to all people. Forgive me when I fall into the bad habits of misleading others. I want to please You in all I do.

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YOUR REP

1 TIMOTHY 3:7

“And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”

This verse intrigues me. Why would Paul say an elder must have a good reputation with those OUTSIDE the church? Why be concerned about those people? Isn’t the church the important thing. Of course, the church is important. But Paul is telling Timothy that those outside the church are watching us. We may be the only example of Christ they ever see.

So, it is very important to keep your reputation up among the world. They may not like you, but they need to respect you. If we let our reputation falter due to our own sin and lifestyle, we have lost every opportunity to bear witness for Christ. After all, isn’t that the important thing – sharing Jesus?

APPLICATION

Our children must be taught this important lesson. Their reputation can be damaged in a second. An impulse decision in a weak moment can lead to years of reputation rebuilding. How do we teach our children the importance of maintaining their reputation? 

I truly believe it is by teaching them that they are not just representing themselves and their family. They are representing Christ (if they are a believer). It is Christ’s reputation who is damaged by our disobedience and rebellion. Nothing we can do can diminish who Christ is, but we can cause people to turn away from Christ based on our behaviors. 

How’s your rep? Do you represent Christ in the world? Do your lost friends and neighbors know you stand with Christ? If you have anything in your life that you would not share with Jesus, get rid of it. If Christ wouldn’t do it, you shouldn’t either. Let your reputation reflect Jesus every day.

I want to be an example of Your everlasting love. I want others, lost or saved, to be drawn to me because of my love for You. Thank You for loving me despite my failures.

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DON’T RUSH IT

1 TIMOTHY 3:6

and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.”

You see it all the time. People get gloriously saved and jump right into some kind of volunteer role at church either teaching or leading some committee. Then something happens and they fall away from the church. There’s a reason Paul warns about this. People need time to grow and be discipled before being thrown into the lion’s den of church service.

Don’t hear me incorrectly. God can use anyone He desires at any time He desires. It is the rare individual, though, who can come to Christ and immediately move into a leadership role. They need time to learn and be tested. We, the body of Christ, need to protect them during this time, so they won’t fall away.

APPLICATION

Explain this verse this way to your kids. Ask them if they think someone who makes the soccer team for the very first time should be the captain of the team and start every game. If they have any knowledge about sports, they will answer, “No.” Ask them why. They will probably say things like, “They haven’t been on the team long enough” or “They don’t know all the other players well enough” or “They need to learn more about soccer first.” 

Kids get it. They see the value in learning before doing. They may know someone who has exceptional soccer skills who made the team and started right away. Like I said earlier, there are those rare individuals. But we normally don’t see that. People grow and develop before taking the starting position or serving as captain.

With all that said, are you growing and developing as a believer so you can serve? Are you being mentored or discipled by anyone to help you mature in your walk with Christ? That’s God’s plan. You start out on milk but advance to solid food. God wants to use you to lead others. Will you let Him?

Father God, I only want to do what You choose to do in and through me. Show me where I need to grow so I can be a more mature follower of Christ and lead others in their walk.

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CAREGIVER

1 TIMOTHY 3:5

“(but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?),”

Paul continues his qualifications for an elder in today’s verse with an explanation of the previous verse. This verse tells us why it is important for a man to manage his household properly. If he can’t, he sure can’t “take care” of the church. Now, just wait until you hear about the Greek word for “take care.” It is so cool.

This Greek word is only used three times in the New Testament. It is used here and two times in Luke 10:34-35. Here is the cool part – that is the story of the good Samaritan. Do you remember that story? He took care of the Jewish man beaten by robbers and left for dead. He even paid the inn keeper to take care of him once he left. That is how an elder is supposed to take care of the church, and he can’t do that if his own house is not in order.

APPLICATION

Okay, you know where I am going with this, don’t you? You have to jump back to the Good Samaritan story to explain this word and verse to little Elrod and Gertrude. They will get that. You can even act out the story with you. You can show them how to “take care” of someone. They will love it.

Then, once they have a good picture of this, take them back to today’s verse and explain how a good leader in the church does the same thing for those in the church. He helps bind their spiritual wounds and enlists others to help.

Are you a caregiver? Do you even care how your church family is doing? So many of us just go to church and go home. We don’t get involved in each other’s lives. But we need to. We need to care for those who hurting. We need to care for those who are going through some kind of trial. Will you care today?

You are the greatest caregiver, Lord. Help me see what You are doing and just get involved in it. I want to please You in all I do.

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HOUSEHOLD

1 TIMOTHY 3:4

He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity”

I bet when you read this verse you picture a man who keeps his children in line. He runs a tight ship. He doesn’t put up with backtalk and misbehavior. Well, the Greek word “manages” actually puts the responsibility on the man, not the children.  

This word “manages” has the idea of “influencing people byhaving a respected reputation. This happens by setting the example of excellence by living in faith.” In other words, he manages his household by setting the example, not by demanding obedience. His family WANTS to follow him.

APPLICATION

How do you get your children to mind you? Do you set a bunch of rules and demand they be followed? Well, that’s one way. But it is probably not the best one. When you set the example for your little Susie or Johnny, they will learn by watching you. Your behavior is much more influential than your words.

If you want your kids to clean their rooms, clean yours. If you want them pick up after themselves, do the same. If you want them to talk in a respectful manner, try it yourself. “Managing” is more about leading than pushing. Kids will follow you anywhere if they know they can trust you.

Are you a manager or a pusher? Ask the Lord to give you the ability to lead well. Your children’s future depends on you leading them in the areas that will affect them for life. They need to see you modeling what you expect from them. In other’s word, quoting “Do as I say, not as I do” just won’t cut it.

O Lord, help me lead well. Help me show others how to walk the walk. I want to be an example for others to follow.

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PUGNACIOUS, WHAT A GREAT WORD

1 TIMOTHY 3:3

“not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money.”

Pugnacious is not a word you use every day, at least I don’t. So, when I see it, I have to stop and ask myself what it means.  I bet you did too.  Well, the Greek word translated as pugnacious means “a bruiser, someone ready with a blow; a contentious, quarrelsome person.” In other words, they are hard to get along with. They are always looking for a fight.

That is not someone you want in a leadership position in your church, is it? In fact, it’s not someone you want leading anywhere. But Paul is giving these qualifications for an elder because he knows the importance of laying aside all your personal beefs with others.

APPLICATION

I hope your child isn’t pugnacious. The word even sounds bad, doesn’t it? We are to teach our children to get along with others, not pick fights with them. Being pugnacious WILL always lead you into trouble. There is no escaping that fact. Being the one to always start fights will give you a reputation that is not exactly flattering.

Your little Johnny or Susie will not understand that word. That’s okay. They don’t have to spell or give the definition. Just make sure they don’t act like it. We should be teaching them to act exactly opposite. They need to be gentle and peaceable. They need to learn to appreciate people’s differences and work with them, not against them.

Are you pugnacious? Are you a bruiser, always looking for a fight? Give it up. Allow the Holy Spirit to live through you. Don’t give in to the flesh which is always pugnacious. If you can’t spell it, you don’t want to be it (lol).

Lord, help me to be a peacemaker, not a warmonger. I do not want to be known as bruiser. I want to be like You.

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HIGH BAR

1 TIMOTHY 3:2

“An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,” 

I am sure you have heard the expression “set a high bar.” It comes from the sporting event of the high bar in which the athlete competes by running and jumping over a parallel bar until he/she cannot jump over it without knocking it off the rack. It is supposed to be challenging.

The office of overseer (Elder) has a high bar. Not everyone can rise to this level. Not everyone is supposed to. It is not for the faint of heart. It is challenging. But just like the athlete who clears the bar to set his personal best record, the man who God leads to be an Elder will be overjoyed at the privilege. Pray for your church leaders (Elders and deacons).

APPLICATION

Parents, sometimes we set the bar too low for our children. We let little Johnny or Susie get away with stuff because they are just so darn cute, right? Sometimes we step in and “rescue” them from failure because we don’t want them to feel bad. Don’t do that. Keep the bar high. Make it reachable but challenging. When we don’t push our children to achieve, we are hampering their growth.

How hard should you push them? Ask the Lord. He will tell you. Their goals should be reachable but high. Setting low standards does nothing to encourage growth in our children. High goals can encourage our children to step out on faith, trusting their Lord to guide and provide.

Are you the “play it safe” kind of person? Or are you willing to reach for the stars? Ask the Lord what you should do. He wants us to be the best at what He asks us to do. He wants us to excel and lead others to excel. Will you do that today? Set your goals so that you have to push yourself. You will feel that same rush the jumper does when they clear that bar.

I will trust You, Lord, to lift me to higher standards in my walk with You. I want others to raise their bar also, so help me lead the way. Then, O God, I will give You the praise.

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THAT’S A STRETCH

1 TIMOTHY 3:1

“It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do.” 

Have you ever tried to reach something that was just out of your reach? You wish you had Gumby arms. You lean and lean and reposition, but you just can’t grab it. Well, the Greek word here for “aspire” carries that meaning.  It means “to stretch oneself out in order to touch or grasp something.”

What is really interesting, though, about this word is it is always in the middle voice (hope I didn’t just lose you). That means you have to choose to do it. No one is going to do it for you, nor will it be done to you. In this verse it means only the person mentioned can attempt to grasp the office of overseer. They have to choose to follow the Lord’s leading in that area.

APPLICATION

This will be a fun verse to act out with your children. Get one of their toys and place it just out of their reach. Make sure they can’t do anything to grab it. And then ask them to try to get it. After a few seconds of frustration, have them close their eyes. While their eyes are closed, move it just close enough that you know they can get to it. Then ask them to try again. When they reach out this time, they will be able to grab that toy.

Now, explain to them what you did. You desired for them to get their toy, so you adjusted the distance just enough to allow them to get to it. God is that way with some things in our lives. He places them just out of our reach so we have to stretch ourselves to obtain them. If God spoon fed us everything, we could not grow. By stretching ourselves, we learn to trust Him further. He will not force us to stretch, though. That’s our choice.

What will you do? “Sorry God, I can’t reach that. Could you get that for me?” Nope, that won’t do. If you will reach out and attempt to grab those things He has for you, God will move in to make sure you get them. Aspiring to serve in a leadership role isn’t for everyone but aspiring to serve is. Will you stretch yourself today?

I will reach out for the unreachable today. I will stretch myself because I know You want me to do that, Lord. Help me grasp what You have for me.

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