‘’God’s Word and our prayers make every item in creation holy.’’ The Message.
Paul must have had some specific false teachers in mind when he wrote these words; people who would be easily identifiable by the readers. The features mentioned were common among groups at the time which stressed the need for abstinence as a means of salvation.
We need to make sure that we hold on to what ‘’The Spirit clearly says…’’ (1). Above all this means sticking fast to the revealed truth in the Bible. It is tragically possible for a person to ‘’depart from the faith’’. So be careful about what you ‘devote’ yourself to (‘’devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons’’ ESV). The kind of teaching you take on board is not unimportant. Demonic powers lie behind false teaching, even though it may come via the lips of human beings (‘’Such teachings come through…’’) Jesus said about the devil, ‘’When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.’’ (John 8:44b). He and his ‘team’ are committed to spreading error, and bad believing leads to bad living. In particular the demons will challenge the central truths about Jesus we have just read in 3:16.
Some things Satan entices people into may look quite good on the surface. There are forms of teaching about spirituality that are super-super-spiritual. Superficially they may seem to offer something excessively godly, but in reality they are world-denying in a misguided way. They are an insult to the Creator God. We do not have to apologise for any of His good gifts. Everything from God’s Hand is to be ‘’received with thanksgiving’’ (3, 4). Where there are instructions in ‘’the word of God’’ (5) about how to handle a particular gift (such as marriage) let us follow them whole-heartedly. We will find that life works best when we observe ‘the Maker’s Instructions’’. And we can ‘pray’ about these gifts also. This is how we sanctify the ordinary.
‘’Praise in the common things of life, its goings out and in; praise in each duty and each deed however small and mean.’’
Prayer: Thank you for all that is good in the world. It comes from you. Help me to enjoy and employ your gifts in a way that is pleasing to your heart.