January 18, 2011: 2 Timothy 3:10-4:5 Devotional Sharing

Submitted by Daniel Kim, Gracepoint Berkeley

What about human nature and the nature of faith is revealed from the fact that Apostle Paul urges Timothy to “continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of …”?  i.e., if Timothy was convinced of it, why would it be necessary for him to be urged to continue in it?

It reveals the fact that our minds are frail.. The truth that we have come to see somehow fades.  C.S. Lewis said that faith is continuing to hold onto what you were convinced of as true.  Just coming back down from the retreat where I realized many truths, I know that I would be a fool if I thought that the fact that I’ve realized the truth once will somehow sustain me.  I have seen too many times when such realizations, as convinced as I was, fade away into irrelevance once I step away from the retreat.  I can come face-to-face with undeniable truths about my own sinfulness, about my own mortality and the fact that I need forgiveness from Jesus.  I can be convinced to the core of the truth regarding the gospel of forgiveness, how that is truly the only hope for a sinner like me.

But all of that, if I don’t continue in it, simply fades.  And it’s not because I was confronted with some awesome intellectual counterargument against the truths that I’ve learned.  It’s not because I experienced some hardship that caused a crisis of faith.   I would just wake up, get started on my work, get a little stressed fighting traffic, deal with a slight headache, talk to my professor or boss about some project, and before I know it, God doesn’t seem so real.  The gospel doesn’t seem to be so relevant.  What changed about my sinfulness?  What changed so that God doesn’t seem so real?  Nothing much, really.  It’s the mundane things in life that strips away the truth.  If I don’t intentionally “continue in what I have learned and have become convinced of”, I am setting myself out to forget the truth that I’ve come to see.  Concretely, that means I need to make sure to take a time-out from the mundaneness of the world to focus my attention on the truth again.  It seems that the main way the mundane activities of the world takes away the truth from me is through spending time — spending time to go from one place to another, spending time taking care of errands, etc.  So that means I need to be mindful to break the monotony of the day with focused reminders of the truth.  I need to treat my DT’s and prayers as those times of breaking the monotony of mundaneness, an insertion of reality into my days.

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Submitted by Sarah Song, Gracepoint Austin

Timothy 3:13-14

What about human nature and the nature of faith is reveald from the fact that Apostle Paul urges Timothy to “continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of …”? i.e., if Timothy was convinced of it, why would it be necessary for him to be urged to continue in it? Human nature is prone to forget the truths that I’ve learned and become convinced of. There’s something about us that is attracted to the opposite, in going away from God’s truths and believing in lies generated by this world, by our own feelings, by Satan. It somehow degenerates if I don’t continue doing it, affirming it with my life and actions. My commitments, feelings towards God and the life he’s called me to, the urgency of the gospel…these things which I’ve learned and become convinced of intellectually, experientially, even emotionally can be easily lost because there are so many competing voices and lies that are espoused as truths in this world that competes with God’s truth. I have that sinful nature still a part of me that needs to be fought and struggled with, and I’m reminded that the spiritual battle is very real…it’s real within my own heart, real within the hearts of my students who I’m trying to help God’s truths get planted and grow and change their lives. I can’t be naive and think that just teaching it to them once or having them listen to a message once will be enough, but knowing how our old nature fights against our new nature and all the lies that this world hands out as truth to me and this generation, I need to really up the ante in my personal convictions and go back to the truths that I became convinced of and continue in them.

2 Timothy 3:15-17

What are the Scriptures able to do, and what is the Scripture useful for?

The Scriptures are able to to give us wisdom for salvation through Jesus Christ. It is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.

Reflect on the times in which I experienced some of the above aspects of Scripture. As I think on times in which God’s word came to me, many times it’s been to teach and correct and rebuke me. These aren’t words that I get excited over. However, more often than not has God’s word comes to me to reveal the wrong and sinful patterns, thoughts, words, actions that I’ve done. Some have been easy to recognize, such as my stinginess and greed over money. Sometimes God’s word has had to come to me again and again before I really registered that there’s an issue within my heart, and those times have been regarding my view of myself or my little ol’ me attitude. Even this past TFN’s message on Luke 13, the 4 soils, that although I’ve heard of this parable many, many times and I know the applications for each type of soil, yet through it God’s word corrected my thinking and revealed to me the greater urgency to pray for people and for myself as I was struck by the fact at how there are so many obstacles, distractions, and so many things in everyday life that could block God’s word from becoming fruitful. I had forgotten how God wants to partner with me in helping people’s hearts become like the good soil, to dig up those rocks and thorns in people’s lives and to help soften the path-like hearts through loving acts and prayer. It caused me to evaluate my heart, especially as the Austin Winter retreat is coming up, and not to think that because I’m staff that my heart is all ready to hear God’s word. God revealed to me that my busy schedule, children, work, even the duties that I’m given within ministry has crowded my own heart and kept God’s word from really entering in deeper and that I haven’t been doing the hard work of reflecting as much on God’s word. I’m reminded how again, God’s word has power to correct my thoughts and feelings, to rebuke me out of my complacency, to teach me once again aspects of human nature and God’s heart.

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