Saturday, 30 June 2012

Practical Thoughts from 2 Timothy

In his second letter to Timothy, Paul gives practical life applications in order to be a good Christian and a good leader. As I was going through, I made note of several points, useful for our day to day life.
Here are they:

1. Your faith impacts your children’s faith
Timothy’s faith is supposed to be impacted by the faith that dwelt first in his grandmother Lois and then his mother Eunice. Your children constantly note the practical demonstration of your faith in your day to day affairs. If you express faith in little things and small problems, your children learn to do the same.

2. Stir up the gift of God given to you
Each of us has some gift received from God. But our gifts are still wrapped and covered with dust. First we must recognize what gift we have. Only if you unwrap the wrapper, you would know what gift is inside. This is done with prayer and God’s wisdom. And then we are to use our gifts for the glory of God.

3. Commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others (2:2)
This is one important aspect necessary for leadership. Timothy though young exhibited strong leadership potentials. Look at his spiritual responsibilities. He was a pastor of a local church at Ephesus. He performs ministry in at least five New Testament churches: Thessalonica (I Thes 3:2,6);  Corinth (I Cor 4:17; 16:10; II Cor 1:19); Philippi (Phil 2:19-23);    Berea (Acts 17:14);  Ephesus (I Tim 1:3).

An important aspect of ministry is being able to commit what we have learnt and experienced to faithful men who will be able to teach others. Committing one’s ministry in unfaithful hands will result in downfall. At the same time, committing to men who are faithful but do not have the capability to pass on to others will also be futile for the expansion of ministry.

4.  Endure hardship as a good soldier of Christ
A good soldier will not go back in the face of hardships. He will be courageous enough to fight the battle and please his master. As a good soldier of Christ, you must endure hardship with courage and faith. Your aim must be to please your Master.

5. Compete according to the rules
An athlete can win the race only if he or she competes according to the rules. If they are found to disregard the rules, they are not awarded even though they may come first in the race. In the same way, we must follow the rules – rules of God in the Bible for our life so that we will be eligible to receive the reward.

6. Cleanse yourselves from dishonourable things
Only if you cleanse yourself from dishonourable things, can God use you as a vessel of honor sanctified and useful for the Master for every good work.

7. Avoid disputes
Disputes arise in families, among friends and relatives. But as children of God, Paul advises us to avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, because they are sure to produce strife. Isn’t it true that we can avoid so much of trouble just by avoiding disputes?

8.  Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season.
Often, this is neglected by believers thinking this is a job of an evangelist. Not so! This is a common mission for all. In Great Commission of Jesus Christ, He says, “Go and preach the gospel to all nation, baptizing them....” This was a ministry entrusted to all. Again in 2 Tim 4:5, Paul says, ‘Do the work of an evangelist.’

If we are careful to do all these things, then we can join Paul and say ‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith’

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Knowing God’s Will

What is God’s will for me? What should I do in order to be in accordance with God’s will? How can I be certain I am not moving against the will of God for me?
These are the questions that we often hear in the Christian circles. But you need not complicate a simple truth. When Paul writes to the church at Thessalonica, he gives a powerful truth that we must all know.
‘Rejoice always,’
‘Pray without ceasing,’
‘In everything give thanks‘
And then he continues ‘for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.’ [1 Thess 5:18]

1. Rejoice always
Normally, our joy depends on our situation. And it’s human nature. As human beings, we tend to be joyous when something good happens to us. Marriage, birthdays, promotions, functions, recognition, etc. make us happy. We rejoice in God to a great extent. But my question to you is do we rejoice the same way when circumstances do not favour us. It is practically difficult. When I have lost a job, when I can’t afford to pay my child’s school fees, when unpleasant events happen in my family, I definitely cannot rejoice. May be I can sit for hours and cry at Lord’s feet, but definitely not rejoice. But Paul says we must ‘Rejoice always.’ Even in Philippians 4:4, we read the same thing. ‘Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!’

2. Pray without ceasing
To have a consistent walk with the Lord, that is a regular prayer life, is not easy. There are times we have a good relationship with God, but there are times when our spiritual life is dry. We might not opt that, but situations push us that far. Busy schedules and hectic life – and the thing we often choose to miss out is our prayer time. But that is not God’s will for us. Paul warns the church believers in Thessalonica to pray without ceasing.

3. In everything give thanks
Do we? Since our childhood, our parents teach us to give thanks when something is given to us. Someone offers a chocolate, we are asked to thank that person. Does any parent teach his or her child to give thanks when someone takes a piece of chocolate or cake from his hand? No! That would be for us a wrong use of the word ‘thank you’. Thereby we tend to follow the same principle with God. But Bible teaches us something different. We are asked to give thanks in everything. When we receive something, we must give thanks. When we lose something, we must give thanks. That’s what Job did. He gave praise to God in his abundance and he also gave praise to God in distress – when he lost everything, including his ten children.
And rightly summed up by Paul, ‘for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.’

Now that we know God’s will for our lives, shall we pledge to rejoice always, pray without ceasing and give thanks to God in everything?

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