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Faithfulness in the Latter Times

(1 Timothy 4:1-16)

Lesson 9 -- third quarter 1992
August 2, 1992

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1992, Christian Light Publications

Human thirst encompasses a broad spectrum--water, food, romance, fun, joy, shelter, friends, money, things. We lack little, have much, and expect to acquire more. However, we have no assurance that any of it shall satisfy us fully. The principle of diminishing returns eventually dooms most satisfaction to turn into thirst once again. This reality drives us in our search for yet more. The Scriptures promise filling for only one thirst--the thirst after righteousness (Matthew 5:6).

We should thirst for righteousness because in it we shall find lasting satisfaction (Psalm 1:2,3; Matthew 6:33; John 4:14; 6:35). With a thirst for righteousness to urge us on, we shall discover life's true purpose--to know and please God. And it is this thirst for righteousness that will keep us close to the truth.

Righteousness is godliness and rightness. Righteousness is integrity, virtue, and purity of life. Righteousness is correctness of thinking, feeling, speaking, and acting. Righteousness is the pursuit of the Holy. Righteousness is the way of knowledge and wisdom. Righteousness is The Way of the Kingdom.

We must stay on the path of righteousness for His name's sake. We must walk faithfully in true doctrine and practice. This is The Way of blessing and satisfaction and eternal reward.

The realization that we live in the end times should raise our sights even more to righteousness and faithfulness. Iniquity abounds. Apostasy is everywhere. The Devil wants you.

The closer we get to eternity, the less material things should matter. The closer we get to eternity, the less our own fleshly comfort and satisfaction should matter. Alas, we are not cognizant of the closeness of eternity. Few youth think of a remaining life span of two or three years, or even of fifteen. Young person, number your days (and don't be too liberal with them!) and give your heart to wisdom. Thirst for righteousness. Do not swerve from The Way. Be faithful.

"Faithful!" you exclaim. "I am doctrinally faithful. I would never yield to lesser doctrine and lesser faith." Has it ever dawned on you that doctrinal faithfulness eventually crumbles when subjected to practical unfaithfulness in daily living? You may be true in doctrine, but if you are not panting after righteousness, you will eventually miss the mark in doctrine as well.

What are you thirsting for? Here are some common answers:

ATTENTION AND ADMIRATION Perhaps you see your vehicle less as a mode of transportation and more as a cup from which to satisfy this thirst. A vehicle lends itself well to for this purpose because it has so many ways to make it attention-getting--mags, mirror hangings, tires, mufflers, pinstriping, colors, and stereos just to start the discussion! Then we have the matter of personal appearance. Do you dress only to cover the shame of your nakedness or also to enhance your physical attractiveness? For a fellow, the answer may lie in the cut of the suit, the taper of the shirt, the label on the pants, or the most recent style in whatever "department." For a girl, the answer may be in the personality color code, the extra ruffle here, the becoming gather there, or just the right tightness right there. And how about your hair? Young man, maybe you style it like that model right up there on the barber's wall or perhaps you "zero in on" your sideburns--sawed off or extra long. Young lady, perhaps you arrange your hair to maximize appeal and minimize area covered or maybe it must be decorated with covering pins that match your dress.

Oh, did you answer "None of the above"? Well then, maybe speech is your tool of choice. You major in vocabulary. You choose to "make your mark" with ideas and concepts. The danger here is very subtle since everything may be sound except that hidden, motivating thirst.

THRILLS Music is the "Old Faithful" of thrills. From time immemorial it has been lifting spirits, charging emotions, and priming bodies. Contemporary "gospel" music is most adept at the last two and because of it, has trapped many a youth in search of a "kosher" thrill.

How important is it to you to be entertained? Your answer will determine the books and magazines you read, the radio programs you listen to, and the places to which you go. Talk shows, mystery, sports, novels, travel, games, cruising, computer programs--a myriad of entertainment opportunities!

The Devil has even perverted the sacred man-woman relationship with his "thrilling" alternatives. Let's just zero in on dating practices. The thrill-seekers are contact oriented--hands, shoulders, legs, noses, arms, lips. As thrilling as all these contacts are (at first quick and daring, then increasingly prolonged and confident), they must eventually give way to something more thrilling. Those who try getting away with the most, end up giving away the most--freedom, chastity, purity, virginity.

MONEY AND THINGS "Not of this world." "Strangers and pilgrims." "Heavenly citizens." We like to say such things of ourselves. Then why are our bank accounts so important, diverse, and over-loaded? Why are we status hunters? Why must we have the best and the latest? Why all the extras in our rooms and vehicles?

From food dryer to MixMaster to microwave to Kitchen Aid to Bosche; from graphic equalizer to $300 speakers to compact disk to component system to Bose Acoustic Wave; from electronic typewriter to dedicated word processor to computer to WordPerfect for Windows; from '71 Nova to '77 LUV to '85 Accord to '91 Park Avenue; from single-stitch to zig-zag to beats-me-what-I'm-a-man! You know, the list goes on and on. We don't just upgrade, we aim to upclass. We don't just want newer, we want the newest.

Maintain your thirst for righteousness uncontaminated and you will benefit from continued soundness in doctrine as well.

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