Connecting the Dots

I've been reading Housewife Theologian all year, carefully pondering each chapter and how it applies to life. Despite the amount of time I've given to this project, I never saw the overarching theme and importance of the book until last week when I read a devotion based on 1 Timothy 4.

This short chapter of Scripture packs a powerful punch. Paul's words give me much to mull over. He is exhorting Timothy to godliness, to live as he has been "trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed" (v. 6). He encourages the young pastor to "set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity" (v. 12), to "[p]ractice these things, immerse yourself in them" (v. 15).

These words have become especially clear to me as I've been reading The Hiding Place while studying the Housewife Theologian chapter on hospitality. Corrie ten Boom's family opened their homes and lives to the very least of these. Her sister Betsie created a welcoming and peaceful environment even in a concentration camp. The ten Boom family immersed themselves in showing their love and faith to others. They risked - and some sacrificed - their lives to set the example of Christ's love.
...godliness is not to be a side-business, but a main-business. God is our chief good and portion. Godliness is worshipping in the heart and life according to his revealed will. We must give him our love, highest joy, deepest sorrow, strongest faith, and greatest fear...Godliness is the worshipping of God in the inner workings of the heart and the outward actions of the life. Heart-godliness pleases God best, and life-godliness honours him most. - George Swinnock (source)
When I began reading Housewife Theologian, I thought I already knew how to put the Gospel into practice. I looked at the first five chapters as a refresher course on how to live my faith. Yet it wasn't until I read 1 Timothy 4 and these words by Swinnock that I fully understood. Suddenly the pieces of the puzzle fit together and I saw the full picture.

It's not enough to know what pleases God. As Paul tells Timothy, it is crucial to be trained in good doctrine. Doctrine and theology inform how we live. We cannot set an example for others, we cannot make godliness our main business, without rightly knowing God.  In 1 Corinthians 10:31, Paul urges us, So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. How can we do this if our theology isn't sound?
We must shake off sloth and gird up the loins of our mind, to pursue godliness with industry against all opposition, to persevere in it with constancy, and make it our main and principal work. - Swinnock (emphasis mine)
When offered the opportunity to leave prison because of his age, Casper ten Boom told Nazi officials that if someone in need came to his door, he'd let them in. Was it some heroic grandstand? Not at all. Did he give this response in order to please God? I would say no, even though it surely did. I believe he opened his home and stood up to the Nazis, not because it was what God expected, but because he knew and worshiped God. He was a living sacrifice (Romans 12: 1). Godliness was his main business.

The way I practice hospitality, exhibit my femininity, how I dress, and how I think...these are acts of worship that demonstrate what I know about God and set the example Paul mentions to Timothy.  I cannot worship Him well without knowing Him well.

May it be so, Lord Jesus! May it be so!


  1. Melissa...this is a thoughtful post and the book you have mentioned sounds like a good read. Books that take a year to get through are the best kind, don't you think? Thank you for sharing some of what you have been learning here. Hugs to you! Camille


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