Think for a moment. If you could trade everything in your life for one thing—only one thing—what would it be?
In 2003, Finger Eleven released a song entitled “One Thing” to overwhelming success. The chorus of the song goes:
If I traded it all, if I gave it all away for one thing
Just for one thing
If I sorted it out if I knew all about this one thing
Wouldn’t that be something
Your answer to the question says a great deal about your heart. For some people, that “one thing” is a safe life. For others it’s a painless life. Still others, it’s riches and leisure.
But is that what we really want? Really?
Please join me as we discuss this in our daily Bible conversation.
1 Timothy 1:1-2:15
INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS
Jeremiah 28:1-31:26. God issues a message to the exiles: Settle down. Start your families. Stop waiting for deliverance and live as normal as possible. Then he offers this assurance:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ” Jeremiah 29:11
Even in your most dire situation, God hasn’t forgotten about you. He knows his plans for you—and they include hope and a future.
1 Timothy 1:1-2:15. After Paul and Barnabas’s acrimonious split regarding the involvement of John Mark in their travels, Paul brought another protégé under his care. Paul felt a deep affection for Timothy, his “true son in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2). In this first of two letters, Paul was giving instructions to young Timothy who is now pastoring the great church in Ephesus.
Paul’s initial instruction is important: stay in Ephesus and command “certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer” (1 Timothy 1:3). The doctrines we believe are important, regardless what critics inside and outside the church say. Throughout the Pastoral Epistles (1 Timothy through Philemon) you’ll find the word “doctrine” appear again and again.
Timothy is then given a trustworthy saying: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst” (1 Timothy 1:15). Pastors need to deal with their congregations as fellow sinners. Unfortunately, not all of them have taken Paul’s words to heart.
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THE WORD MADE FRESH
All of us were created for one thing. Like a square peg in a round hole, when we aspire for the wrong thing or for more than one thing, we experience a discontinuity in our lives.
David was described as a man after God’s heart (1 Samuel 13:14). In Psalm 86:11, he journaled his “one thing”:
“Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.”
Do you sense the innocence in this prayer? It begins with an attitude of humility that says, God, I don’t know you or your ways nor will I discover them on my own. “Teach me your way, O Lord.”
One of the most arrogant phrases in the English language is “I know.” How often does God speak to our hearts and we answer “I know!”—and then we do our own thing anyway.
David begins with the humble acknowledgement that he doesn’t know God. The only way we can walk in truth—to live in alignment with God’s desires—is to sit at the feet of our heavenly Father and glean from him by spending time in the Word and meditative prayer.
Then David prays, Give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name. A divided heart is a heart with multiple loyalties, affections, and desires. An undivided heart is singularly focused on one desire. It’s one thing versus multiple things. And David chose well because his one thing was knowing God’s ways which was rooted in knowing God. The fruit of the undivided, God-directed life is a life that that fears, reveres God and takes him seriously. But it’s also the life that enjoys God and revels in his pleasure.
Not coincidentally, God spoke through Jeremiah in today’s reading, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. ” (Jeremiah 29:13, NIV)
Quite often we desire one thing from God, but not God. We want his hope, his comfort, his provision, his protection…but we don’t desire him. Yet when we desire him apart from what he can do for us, we still get everything.
What divides your heart?
- What spoke to you in today’s reading?
- What is your “one thing”?
- What do you want your “one thing” to be?
What needs to change in your life in order to bring the two into alignment?
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Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church with Eugene Scott in Littleton, Colorado.