This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe. 1 Timothy 4:9-10 (NIV)
What hope is there for you to live a godly life? Everyone is looking for the answer to that question.
Notice, Paul puts these two things together: we labor and strive and we put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior. So which one is it, Paul? Is the Christian life about laboring and striving? Or is it about putting our hope in God?
Many people are confused about how to live the Christian life. Here are two misunderstandings of Christianity that have caused much of this confusion.
- The “hard labor” version of Christianity: We labor and strive.
This version says, “The Christian life is one great effort to live a godly life.” Many people live here. There is no power or energy in them, and very little joy about them. They feel the Christian life is impossible. So they become discouraged.
- The “no labor” version of Christianity: We have put our hope in the living God.
This version says, “We have to let go and let God.” Many people live here. They become passive. They don’t fight sin. They say, “There’s nothing we can do to grow in holiness. It’s all up to God.” They sound spiritual, but they do not make progress.
The biblical version of Christianity is—the active pursuit of godliness through the power and presence of Jesus Christ in you.
Is your Christian life beginning to look like one or the other of these versions?