by David Brenneman
Last night was watching a video on something definitely Biblical...and it took me back many years to the few times I actually preached a sermon in the church of my younger days. Was told to follow 2 Timothy 4:1-5 NASB "I solemnly exhort you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, and they will turn their ears away from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But as for you, use self-restraint in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry."
That bit of advice, I now see, wasn't to be a one-time thing for that time in my life to stand before a congregation. It was meant to be for life, for all who believe. We're not to candy coat sins, we're not to keep referring to them as mistakes which is what the world prefers to call what God says are sins. We're not to be those who enable others by providing elaborate excuses for why we do what we do that isn't pleasing to God.
We're not to run from our calling in Christ but to embrace it, to run the race set before us as Paul wrote. I don't think it's a Biblical statement but certainly when the going gets tough the tough should get going in Christ. Timothy was commanded by Paul. We, as being part of the Church of Jesus Christ are commanded as well. Was also watching an old black and white video of Billy Graham. He didn't shrink away from preaching the word. Paul never did. Peter didn't. I would be safe to say that Timothy didn't either. He did as he was told.
Our lives aren't to be about our own desires. We often do more harm than good by watering down what sin is in our lives than by calling a spade a spade. By referring to it as God's Word says something is we will go much farther than we will by placating people. By using fancy words to make them feel better isn't always going to be helpful in their growth in Christ Jesus.
How grown up in Christ are you? Are you considering your daily actions in light of eternity? Are you shrinking away from the calling with which you were called in Christ Jesus because it got hard? I ask because once upon a time I did. I was afraid of what God, that is Jesus, might call me to do. I was afraid of where it might go. I was afraid of much of my past and was afraid to give up my future...until I realized that growing in Christ comes with painful moments at times.
A very hard time for me was after an accident involving a semi truck. Some might not see it that way but I spent 6 to 8 weeks wrestling with God. Crying out to Him about what I was going through. The opportunity came to preach...and for once I didn't shrink away from doing so and was given that passage to think about.
Our work does not define us. Our jobs do not. Our home life does not. Our world does not. At least not in Christ Jesus. We are aliens in this physical world who long for being where 'home' really is. We have work to be done in Christ Jesus that's way more important than physical labor.
Preaching the Word in season and out of season, when people want to hear it and when they don't.....goes for everyone.
Literally from the Preacher on down. Timothy was a Pastor...and was getting taught and told what we read.
We are not to define ourselves by our jobs, buy our status on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube. We are not to define ourselves by our popularity. Remember what the Bible also says...friendship with the world means emnity towards God. Love not the world nor the things of the world.
Telling people what they need to hear rather than what they want to hear is often what the work of the Spirit does in the lives of people.
I've been barked at and actually found myself apologizing for things that were out of my control by people who ought to have known better in Christ.
Those of this world who are in Christ are on a journey set by the Spirit...a life of growth in Christ...as we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that we might walk in them. That the man of God would be adequate, equipped for every good work.
Take a serious look at your life today...are you setting your mind on things above or are you more concerned about the things of this world? Are you in Christ yet running from your calling in Christ Jesus? Have you decided what your calling is or have you sought out what the Spirit says that you are in Christ? Paul taught that it's the Spirit that places each of us in the body as HE sees fit. Our personal happiness isn't paramount to the fulfillment of the Word of God.
As we look ahead at the reminder of the birth of Jesus...take a good look to see if you're living a life that honors what He did to give you that life in Him...wholeheartedly...not when it's convenient, not half-hearted. As the video that started this train of thought mentioned...no we won't go to Hell for the things we do...but are we honoring the sacrifice of Jesus by continuing down a road we shouldn't even be on? Are we running from our calling in Christ? All who are in Christ Jesus HAVE an irrevocable calling in Christ...that's in the book of Romans.
Consider the things that possibly a brother or sister in Christ has told you that you dismissed, that you ignored.
Consider what the Spirit is wanting to really do in your life. Don't accumulate people who tell you what you want to hear, find those who tell you what you need to hear. What we do in the body for Christ is what matters in eternity.
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