“not given to much wine, teachers of good things;”
There are so many forms of addictions today that sometimes I think we are immune to what it really means to be an addict. The word translated here as ‘given’ means to place yourself in bondage to something or to be dependent on something, which is what an addict is; a slave to their addiction. In Matthew, Jesus says that no man can serve two masters, one he will love, the other he will hate. (Matthew 6:24) We cannot be serving the Lord and something else, anything else. The verse says wine but think for a moment of all the things that we put ourselves in bondage too. Anything that we are dependent on, outside of God, is bondage. Now, am I saying that by staying at home and letting your husband provide for you, that you are in bondage? Ask yourself this question; why do I stay home and serve my husband? Is it because you are lazy and this is an easy way to get what you want? If so, then maybe you are serving something other than God. But if you are staying home because God’s plan for women is to care for our husbands and children, and that by doing those things, we are acting out our service to God so that it is not lip service but practical service, then we are not in bondage to any but Christ. The root word that ‘given’ comes from is the same word that Paul used to describe himself as he relates to Christ. (ex. Titus 1:1) We are servants of Christ; let us not be named as a servant of anyone or anything else.
The word for ‘teacher of good things’ is a composite of two words, one meaning good things and the other meaning teacher, I know, I know, seems so easy. To be a teacher of good things means teaching the things of the Lord. Not worldly-wise things or whatever fad is hip today, but the time-honored and tested wisdom from God’s word. Here is short list of what good things look like; “good, excellent in its nature and characteristics, and therefore well adapted to its ends, genuine, approved, precious, competent, able, such as one ought to be, praiseworthy, noble, beautiful by reason of purity of heart and life, and hence praiseworthy, morally good, noble, honorable, conferring honor, affecting the mind agreeably, comforting and confirming.” This is quite a list of what good things one can teach. And this is teaching is not just by words. These are things that we must show by our actions daily. Most of the times that the word teacher used here appears, it is referring to Jesus. Jesus did not say one thing and live something else. For three years, He daily practiced what He was preaching so we could see just what it looked like practically. And just as He is our example of all things good, so we need to strive to exemplify His goodness to others. We cannot teach goodness and live anything else.
So as you head out today, wherever you go, teach, in word and in deed, what is good and keep yourself from needless bondage. We are set free to serve the Lord and His yoke is easy and His burden light. Because He has freed us, we can now deny ourselves and pick up our crosses daily and follow Him wholeheartedly! Amen!