If there is one thing I have never had any talent for, it would be cooking or baking. Growing up, my family would always watch the Food Network competition shows where chefs have what seems like forty-five minutes to cook a three-course meal without any sort of plan or recipe. To say the least, I am always amazed by what those chefs and cooks can make up and serve to the judges. Even close friends and family have, over time, been brave enough to experiment with baking or cooking with no sort of set recipe. I, on the other hand, have never been so brave. Give me the tools and ingredients needed to make a meal with no direction, and it will most likely be a complete disaster every time. However, with a recipe, the chances of the food being edible are significantly increased. Recipes are needed to help ensure what we are making will turn out as it should be. They are the rules and guidelines that can help us to be successful in what we set out to do. Though we might think recipes only apply to food that we make, did you know there is a recipe for godliness?
At the beginning of Paul’s first letter to Timothy, he writes concerning a lack of confidence that the young preacher was having. Trying to instill some courage and drive into Timothy to continue the work, Paul presents the simple recipe for living a godly lifestyle: “But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (1:5 NASB). While this may not seem like much of a recipe, looking at it a little closer can give some great insight for us today.
Just like a recipe, we are given the main goal we are trying to achieve: Godliness (“the goal of our instruction”)
The necessary ingredients are all included:
1) “Love from a pure heart” — A love that is seeking the best for others, putting others’ needs before your own (the same love that the Lord showed for all mankind)
2) “A good conscience” — A conscience that is morally good and guided by God’s truth (not corrupted by the world)
3) “A sincere faith” — the word here (anupokritos) means “present in the dark/being without pretense.” A faith that is not just for show, but actively lived out every day, everywhere.
The process of completing this recipe is included:
Throughout the rest of 1 Timothy, Paul discusses and demonstrates how the church needs these essential ingredients and what that looks like in Christians’ lives. (Godliness is a significant theme in this book that can always tie back to 1:5)
As we go through our lives, striving to live like God and show that to others, let us all remember this simple recipe. If we continually work to have the love from a pure heart that Christ had for us, a conscience that is molded and shaped by God’s Word, and a faith that is visible in how we live our daily lives, we will be reaching the exact goal we desire to have: godliness that is ready to share with everyone!