2 Timothy 2

This devotional is written by Stephanie Beckford.

2 Timothy 2

The appeal renewed
2 You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. 3 Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. 5 Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. 7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.

8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

11 Here is a trustworthy saying:

If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
12 if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
13 if we are faithless,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.

Dealing with false teachers
14 Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarrelling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: ‘The Lord knows those who are his,’ and, ‘Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.’

20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

Reflection

Imagine imprisonment for preaching the gospel; not the first, but the second time. The first time was not bad because at least you were under house arrest but now a dungeon -- cold, musty, and dark. Time passes by slowly. You miss the outdoor freedom, your friends, sharing God’s word and mostly, your bestie.

This was Paul’s predicament in 2 Timothy 2. Rather than self-pity, he was enabled to encourage Timothy’s Christian life in this Pastoral letter. Paul tells his son-like friend and helper, to be strong -- not just with natural strength, but in the enabling grace and power that comes from a relationship in Jesus Christ.  

He (like us) must be a noble servant of Christ using God’s gracious gifts to share the good news of the gospel.

Paul compares following Jesus to three metaphors: (1) a soldier striving to impress his commanding officer. (2) an athlete training for competition (3) a hard-working, dedicated farmer.

These metaphors point to something bigger than us: a willingness to sacrifice much and endure personal challenges towards the highest goal. Jesus is our example - committing to the Father, He suffered shame, humiliation, and crucifixion. Hardships and suffering are all part of the Christian life, BUT dedicated effort will be rewarded. We are called to be workers in the kingdom of God. Let us prepare and commit to sharing the gospel knowing the foundation of our hope is Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice for our sins and faith-building resurrection.

What are the prisons we are locked in today? Fear, shame, guilt, feelings of unworthiness? Is time passing by slowly for us? “God’s word is not chained” (v9). It is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword.  In Jesus’, presence we don’t look like what we’ve been and can safely open our hearts to its restorative, healing, and freeing power to deliver and set free. Allow His words to break through the doors of our prisons today.

Reflection:

Write a Pastoral letter of encouragement to someone you have been praying for or, someone who has wronged you or someone who comes to mind now. Accept the freedom this brings.

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