Todays readings.. Esther 1, Amos 6, 2 Timothy 3&4
“YOU … HAVE FOLLOWED MY … ”
Today we read the conclusion of Paul’s final letter, his second letter to Timothy. A couple of verses especially caught our eyes: these listed 8 things which describe the way in which Paul had set an example to Timothy.
They provide for us a challenging summary of the way a genuine community of believers should dedicate their lives: and set examples for the next generation. Paul writes, “You however (in contrast to the bad examples he has just listed), “have followed my teaching, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings” [3 v.10,11].
These are all major aspects of a godly character manifesting itself in reaction to the challenges life in the world around them. and that of faithless followers (v.5-8). It is beneficial to meditate on each one. Then we noted Paul’s comment, “from them all the Lord rescued me” [v.11] and while this applies particularly to the persecutions he endured, we specially appreciate how the Lord was intimately with him from the moment he met him on the road to Damascus.
Tragically there are those, says Paul, who, while “having the appearance of godliness” [v.5] are “lovers of self” [v.2] Our world is full of such, let us make sure their attitudes do not ‘rub off’ on us.
The climax to his thoughts is, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness …” [4 v.7,8]
Earlier he had written of his commitment that “by any means possible, I may attain the resurrection of the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” [Philippians 3 v.11,12] How well are we ‘pressing on’?
Paul’s final message of encouragement to Timothy is invaluable advice to us, “as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed … how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is breathed out by God … “ [3 v.14-16] – and should be breathed in by us and used – so that a crown of righteousness “is laid up” for us.