The Weight of the Word

2 Timothy 3:16-17

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Doctrine = A statement of principals or policy.

Reproof = disapproval; to criticize or to admonish.

Correction = the process of making right; an amount adjusted.

Instruct = to educate or edify, to order or direct firmly; to discharge the duties of an instructor; guidance, the imparting of knowledge, or a direct order.

Not to just throw definitions at you, but these words and explanations shined a new light on these verses for me.

The word of the Lord is profitable to (doctrine) base your life off of, (reproof) receive stern correction with confidence, (correction) adjust your compass off of, and (instruction) teach yourself and others the truth.

These definitions really challanged me ask if the word of God is having the affect in my life that it should? Am I reading the bible with the purpose of 1) being moved by it and 2) moving myself based off of what the spirit shows me Or, am I reading it to read it and just hoping something sticks. Am I expecting to be corrected and re-directed (Habakkuk 2:1) or is my heart hard and proud as I begin.

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Headstrong Against God

2 Timothy 3:2-5

For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

In the last days this is what men will be like — how does it contrast with me? I know I read this list and can remember times, if not multiple ones, where I’ve fallen. Some were before I started walking with the Lord, and some are still struggles now. So, what sets me apart from them?

Verse 7 says these men are “always learning but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” They have a godliness but deny its power. What does that mean? They haven’t come to accept the truth about themselves, then let the truth of the gospel change them. The only power strong enough to change us is the one that renews us day by day, and it only works in the hearts that have humbled themselves before the Lord in recognition of just how sinful they are.

In a lot of ways this list is just the ways I don’t humble myself before the Lord. The ways I walk away from the knowledge of truth. In reality you only see the truth if you look down at your sin first. And daily I choose to be stiffnecked and still walk in these sins. One of the biggest ones for me is headstrong. I very well my be one of the most stubborn people you’re ever going to meet. I was raised in a family where if your opinion wasn’t heard, it was because you weren’t yelling loud enough, and the “winner” of an argument wasn’t the one with the right opinion, but the one who gave up first.

I was raised to be headstrong, but that is no excuse because the Lord has the power to work in and change me. And, If I chose to remain in and walk in that, I have a form of godliness but I’m denying its power just like these perilous men.

The holy spirit doesn’t just have the power to transform lives, it is the power to transform lives. Once you choose to let Him in your heart, and have a personal encounter with Him, there’s no way to walk away the same. So, for the one whose never had that encounter, know that the only way to change and be free from sin is by first looking down at your sin, in humility, and seek the Lord. For the believer, are you pushing the spirit out of control of your heart slowly? Desiring godliness but not the power of real change? The change from the spirit is hard and hurts sometimes, but it’s also gentle and filled with love — it’s the only change that reaches the heart.

Vessel For Honor

God’s original design for me was to be a vessel of honor and glory for His name. I was hand carved and painted to reflect the beauty of the Lord. But, I decided to seek my own glory instead, because I wanted a different design for myself. I put clay over top of myself to try and cover the design and reshape myself into what I want, but it just turned ugly as it dried. As my clay hardened I realized I was just coated with sin, and no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t scrape it off myself. Only the blood of Christ can wash me and bring me back the things I was meant to be before.

“But in a great house, there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, He will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the master for every good work.” 2nd Timothy 2:20-21

These are vessels in a great house. This isn’t a contrast of the people within and without the church, but those that are a part of it. There are those who are saved and cleansed, and there are those who are saved, cleansed, then scrubbed to be used for Honor. Not everyone is willing to be scrubbed. They aren’t a vessel of honor, but a vessel for honor to be used by the master.

Will I subject myself to be scrubbed clean enough to be filled with the spirit, or will I stay living a life filled with myself?

No Chains Holding Him Back

[The gospel] “For which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ with eternal glory.” – 2nd Timothy 1:9-10

What are my chains? In what ways am I held back, maybe in ways I don’t have the power to fix. My health is a chain for me, my finances, student loans, my anxiety and fears – all of these things are chains that hold me back from the Lord and what He has for me to do. Or, at least, they try. The wonderful thing is that I am living by the power of faith in Jesus Christ (Galatians 2:20) which means that the work I do for the Lord, no matter my chains, will never be chained! The power of the gospel is working through what I do for the lord, so that nothing can hold it back or make it useless.

One of the things that blows my mind is that the power of God to work through me, isn’t just at work in my labor for His glory, but also in my mistakes. Because God is also redeemer, He takes my failures and my shame and makes it a tool for eternal glory. And because of this, “therefore I endure all things.” What a better hope for me to endure than the Lord taking everything I do, good or bad, and using it in power to bring salvation to people. Using my wise choices and my failures for eternal glory – what a motive to press on.

Open Hands

“For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that day.” – 2nd Tim 1:12

Recently we talked about holding on to the things in our life with open hands – meaning not grasping on to them tightly and letting God do His will with them, even if that means taking them. We were going over Deut. 6:5 – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” – and we were challenged to examine whether or not we do that. In some ways and on some days I can say I love the Lord with all my strength, but in the same moment I am clenching that strength with white knuckles.

I don’t have a lot of strength left, and if I’m honest I know my ability to do things could change at any moment. Losing my strength is my worst nightmare. But, the point is, I may be serving the Lord with all the strength I have, but I’m not trusting Him with all the strength I have – and that would bring Him so much more joy and glory. Choosing to give of my resources is easy – allowing the Lord to take it all and have His will in it is another story.

Last night I prayed for the Lord to help me release my grip. This morning I woke up tired, hurting, and comforted in the way only His sweet spirit can do. My open hand was His open invitation to do mighty things in my life – and He took that invitation (even though it looks different than I expected.)

I don’t know what He is doing – maybe He is just asking me yet again if this is going to move me – but I do know who I have believed in. I know, like Paul, the character of God who I labor and strive for (1 Timothy 4:10), and I know that He is good.

I am persuaded – I am completely confident that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him. He is able to keep it all, use it all, and do something perfect in it all. He won’t let anything slip – won’t accidentally forget to renew my strength every day – He will keep it all until the day when I can see the big picture.

I can’t wait to see Him face to face one day and hear Him say “this is how much I love you.” He will point to my life and show me the eternal weight of everything I struggled so much with and none of it will be anything compared to the Glory of Him revealed (Romans 8:28).

My Identity; O Man of God

“But you, O man of God, flee from these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.”

Maybe I’m hard headed, maybe I’m just forgetful, but I forget so much of the truths the Lord gives me in is word. But praise the Lord He knows my frame (Ps 103:14), and He is faithful to remind me.

This verse reminds me of the order I need to live my life based off of. So many times I think I need to be righteous, godly, faithful, loving, patient, or gentle to be a man or woman of God – But that’s not what God says in His word. It says “But you, O man of God, pursue righteousness.” I am a man of God first, and from that I can run after what pleases God.

What do I call myself? A sinner? A failure? Someone who isn’t worthy of how far the Lord has brought me? Chances are I’m judging that based on what I have done, not what I have been called.

I have been called O Man of God.

My First Faith and Love

“But refuse the younger widows; for when they have begun to grow wanton against Christ, they desire to marry, having condemnation because they have cast off their first faith.” – 1st Timothy 5:11-12

Do my desires condemn me, or do they draw me close to Christ? The ESV says when “their passions draw them away from Christ.” It’s not a bad thing to desire to be married, or have a family – it is another thing in my life I can use to glorify the Lord. But the question is, am I leaving my first faith for the sake of something the Lord will bring into my life in His perfect timing?

What is moving me – my passions, or the Lord? What I focus on is what I strive after, so what are the desires in my heart that I’m not giving to the Lord. Those are what hold me back from focusing on him fully. Is it wanting a relationship, wanting a job in ministry, wanting to see my team knit together? It is when good things become God things that I am condemned for casting off my first faith.

The term “first faith” reminds me of the Ephesus church in Revelations who left their first love in the midst of serving the Lord. The Lord is my first love and if my eyes stay fixed on Him that love will cultivate into something stronger than all my desires.