If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For … godliness has value for all things. (verses 6-8)
This is a message for our times. Conspiracy theories are the godless myths and old wives tales of our day, so easily circulating even among believers, distracting from a clear-sighted focus on Jesus.
Timothy had been grounded in scriptural teaching from his youth, under the influence of his grandmother Lois and mother Eunice (2 Timothy 1:5). He’d been further instructed in “good teaching”through his connection with the Apostle Paul, who calls Timothy “my true son in the faith” (1Timothy 1:2).
Stay grounded in these truths, Timothy. That’s what Paul says. Be aware that “some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons” (verse 1). Don’t go there. Stay focused in Jesus. Hold to his teaching. Place your trust in him alone, no other external saviour. Fill your mind with all that is good and pure.
The false, distracting teachings of Timothy’s day led to clearly ungodly conclusions, such as forbidding marriage and commanding abstinence from certain foods. Undoubtedly there was a certain distorted sense of logic that gave credence to such perspectives, but a true understanding of scripture would have clearly revealed the error, “for everything God created is good” (verse 4) – certainly marriage and food fall into that category.
Beyond being anchored in “good teaching,” the antidote to these false conclusions and “godless myths” is to “train yourself to be godly.” Stay focused on Jesus. Hold to his attitude. Let the main thing be the main thing. Don’t allow additional requirements (“do not marry”, “don’t eat this”) pull you off centre, distracting you from simple, pure faith in Christ.
How easy for “myths” of our own day to produce such distraction. But there is hope. The antidote, still, is “godliness” – Christ-like character and attitude, evidenced by the fruit of the Spirit. If we find ourselves instead being drawn into excessive anger, skepticism, distrust, slander, and gossip we should examine more closely the narratives we are believing. Are they “godless myths”? Though they may seem to have an internal logic, are they actually drawing us away from a Christ-like attitude?
So, return to the foundation of teaching. Spend more time in the scriptures than you spend on the internet. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Allow his attitude to fill your mind and heart, loving those around you even if by every other standard they would count as foes. For Christ himself laid down his life for us while we were still his enemies.
That’s the kind of godliness that makes all the difference.
Dear Lord, let my sights be fully shaped by truth – your truth. Let my feet stand firmly in good teaching – teaching from your word. Make me wise – not distracted by myths and ‘tales’. Fill me with the knowledge of your will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. To the glory of Jesus. Amen.
Reflect: Is there any source in your life at the moment that is controlling your perspective more strongly than is God’s Word? If so, what step will you take to right the balance?