Journal 2 Tim 2 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus…and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Tim 2:1-2)
Observation: What are my directives, sir?
Application: I am reading a war novel on the side.
This statement has the flavor of being final orders before the big battle. Paul goes on, instructing and reminding Timothy,
- “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
- No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.
- An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.
- It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.
Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.
Remember Jesus Christ. Risen from the dead. The offspring of David…as I preached in my gospel (for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal). BUT THE WORD OF GOD IS NOT BOUND! Therefore, I endure EVERYTHING for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” (2 Tim 2:3-10)
Being on a war footing is a common theme in the Bible, certainly in the New Testament. Being an athlete is another. So is being a farmer.
What do these discipleship themes have in common? They all have a singular objective that calls for discipline, sacrifice, and planning. It is an attitude of determination to be developed.
Isaiah prophesied of Jesus, saying,
“I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting.
But the Lord God helps me; therefore, I have not been disgraced; therefore, I HAVE SET MY FACE LIKE A FLINT, and I know that I shall not be put to shame.” (Is 50:6-7)
Luke described Jesus in this way,
“When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he (Jesus) set his face to go to Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:51). “Set his face…” in this context could be translated “…was resolute…” or “…firm…”
That is the kind of determination disciples are encouraged to develop. Candidly, this is tougher than it reads, for there are obstacles in the way every day, mainly the cares of this life.
“But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife [as an example—my note], and his interests are divided.” (1 Cor 7:33)
It is the “divided interests” that trip me up, maybe others as well.
How, then, am I to pursue growing as a disciple?
Prayer: Father, you see my heart, and the hearts of those who may be reading this posting.
Ignite a passion to grow as a disciple. Help me pray for faithful men for my life that I may grow to be formed in the image of you, according to your word.