1,2 "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, to Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord."
1 Timothy 1:1,2 (ESV)
Early in his coaching career, John Wooden constructed a brilliant “Pyramid of Success,” 15 carefully stacked building blocks. It certainly served him well. I've studied it with keen interest and memorized each block with passion. It sure has helped me frame things up too.
Here's some other building blocks to note. Scientists call it “CHON,” an acronym for the four most common elements in living organisms: carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. All life is formed from this virtually invisible base.
As the apostle Paul opens his earnest, first letter to his beloved student Timothy, he lays down his own “CHON” blocks he wants his student in the faith to note:
COMMAND: Self-determination must not dictate action, God's commands must. We function best when God's loving commands set the direction and drive for our lives. Paul knows this and wants Timothy to feel this same, sweet constraint. . HOPE: Hope is not driven by favorable circumstances. Hope is a Person. Hope is best found in Jesus, not circumstance.
OFFSPRING: Paul calls Timothy "my true son in the faith." That means Paul was committed to producing spiritual offspring. He wanted Timothy to note this special relationship they shared and then kept charging him to spiritually reproduce, as well.
NOW: Everything Paul writes to Timothy thereafter is written in the present tense with real earnestness, urgency and a forward roll. The gospel carries a “now” to it and demands a response. It is not meant to simply entertain or inform. It always carries a constraint, a call to action.
See how Paul's opening to Timothy applies to us? It's simply this: Establish a “CHON” base too. Let Christ's commands, real hope, spiritual offspring, and a constraining “now” become our building blocks. O, that we would love laying these quiet, spiritual building blocks and watch our lives grow, just like Jesus, just like Paul.
What moves you to action? Are you driven by God’s COMMANDS more than your self-determination?
Are you building your HOPE in life based on circumstance or based in Christ; temporal or eternal?
Who are your spiritual OFFSPRING, and what are you investing in them?
What command of God needs to be put into play NOW?
A suggested prayer: LORD, constrain me to love and keep Your commands. Fill me with hope rooted in Christ. Produce spiritual offspring through me for Your glory and my joy. May I feel a “holy now” driving me today. Thanks, “Coach,” for building into me! You're the best!