Sound Bites: 2 Timothy
Famous last words. That’s the book of 2 Timothy in a nutshell. The apostle Paul is on his way to a Roman execution. His days were numbered and were quickly coming to an end. And so, he writes one last letter to his young disciple, Timothy. Words of encouragement. Words of exhortation. Words of hope and life. Words that would serve as guidance and direction in Paul’s absence. 2 Timothy is packed full of words of wisdom and challenge. In my mind I like to imagine that I am that young man, Timothy. I make the message personal. And therein, it becomes extremely practical. To be honest, it’s one of my favorite NT books. And so, it seems fitting that it becomes the final selection in this most recent series.
1:16, “The Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains;”… Paul was languishing in a Roman prison. Onesiphorus searched for him, found him, and refreshed him (lit. breathed life into him). That is my prayer for my life during this season. There was a time when I was “Paul.” I carried the banner. Now I am looking for those who lie forgotten, wasting away in a prison of sin and shame. May the Lord use me to breathe life into them.
2:4, “No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.”… So much here. Where do I even begin? So many questions arise as I read this verse. Am I still active in His service? Or have I allowed past “tours of duty” to lead me to seek an early retirement? To what degree have I become entangled in the affairs of everyday life? Have I allowed the “net” of complacency, comfort, and security to halt and frustrate both my growth and my fruitfulness? Interesting when you consider the nature of the verb. It is reflexive. The entanglement is something that I do to myself. Is my life truly pleasing to Him? Yes, I know I am loved. Yes, I am both confident and secure in His grace. But beyond that knowledge… am I currently living a life that pleases Him? Finally, as I consider my past (honestly, as I consider my present too) I am still amazed that He enlisted me. The God who needs nothing, the One who is sufficient in Himself, chose me to be a part of His kingdom, to share His life. Amazing grace of God!
3:16-17, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”… As I consider the many areas of my life that need to be corrected I am reminded of the power of His Word. For 20 years I have taught others that it is one of the crucial elements to change. His Word catalyzes the renewal of mind that brings about change in behavior. Continuing in His Word brings about freedom from bondage. Meditating on His Word insures success and prosperity. His words are spirit. His words are life. I am praying that God will create in me an even greater hunger for His Word. Far too often I am content to feed upon the husks of this life. True satisfaction comes from His Word.
4:18, “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.“… So glad that my salvation is not dependant upon me. I am secure in His grace. I am saved by His blood. In the course of this life I will stumble. I will fall. Even on my best days there is no good thing that dwells in me apart from Him. After 20 years I still miss the mark. I still fall short of His glory. I still sin. But, when it is all said and done, in His hands I am secure. His love and grace will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom. Thank You, Jesus!!!