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’

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