Staying to the Task

20160630_151356-1The highlight of my day was having two of my aunts come for a visit. My father’s sisters, Paula Baer from Aurora and Annalee Cogar from Columbus, Georgia. We enjoyed a visit, went out to lunch and then reconnected at the house after I conducted a funeral service while they connected with a friend for a visit. We even searched for some strawberries in my picked over patch. Pastor Steve Harris came by and dropped off some of Sherri’s strawberry jam and became a willing photographer.

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “…all those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.  Evil people and impostors will become worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed.” 2 Timothy 3:12-14 HCSB

As you read through Paul’s letters to Timothy you can tell Paul’s concern for this “son in the faith.” Paul’s words time and again challenge Timothy as to his focus and his responsibilities. As I read these chapters, I get the sense that Paul is saying, “If no one else stays true, Timothy, I want you to stay true to the faith.”

As Paul is at the end of his life he is aware of the troubles and persecution that he had endured. He is aware of those who once voiced faith and were among those who listened to his words, but “fell by the way side” for a number of reasons. He was aware that the gospel he preached was one that would face opposition.

Take note of four powerful words, “but-as-for-you.” These are words that draw a line in the sand. They are words that are intended to arrest  Timothy’s attention. They are words that warn and challenge him  to a higher commitment, a deeper faith.

Paul called Timothy to live a life as an example to believers in faith and godliness. (1 Timothy 4:12) Now,  he warns him that commitment will result in persecution. Persecution will come to him and all others who demonstrate unwavering faith and loyalty to the cause of Christ. Jesus warned His disciples to be prepared for persecution, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. (John 15:8 NIV)

Paul warns Timothy that “evil men and imposters will become worse.” He was to be on guard against those who were openly against him and those who tried to look like they were with him, but were really against him. Often the later is far more dangerous and discouraging.

In light of all this Paul gives Timothy his, “marching orders,” “continue in what you have learned and firmly believed.” (2 Timothy 3:14 HCSB) It seems that the word, “continue” is a key word and theme of Paul’s letters to Timothy. He is saying, “Timothy, don’t be thrown off by what happens, by what others do, keep your focus, guard your own heart and commitment to Christ.”

The bedrock foundation for his life of faith was to be in the scriptures. What Timothy had learned as a child was good for him to remember as an adult. Why? All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”  (2 Timothy 3:16,17 HCSB)

Paul wanted Timothy to know that God’s Word would continue to help him grow, to keep him on the right path and to serve as his “training manual” for life and ministry.

That is why from the beginning Satan has tried to bring doubt and confusion about God’s Word. Remember the question to Eve? “Has God [really] said….?” The same temptation to doubt and question, can happen in hearts and minds of people today. When we keep to Word, the Word will help us keep to the task and empower us to live the life that Christ died for us to experience.

Prayer for Today…  “Lord, help me with spiritual “blinders” on, to keep to the life and work, You have called me to. Don’t let what happens to me or what I see happening in others, discourage or divert my attention from You. Thank You for Your Word, that guides my life, helps me grow and equips me to serve You.”