Tag Archives: 2 Timothy

Making Room for the Best

4 Mar

Last Wednesday signaled a beginning and an end. Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent, a 40 day period of preparation for Easter. It also provides an opportunity to end self-centeredness. The word Lent stems from an Anglo-Saxon word for spring. Perhaps we could think of it as spring-cleaning for the soul. The 40 days relate to Jesus Christ’s wilderness temptation (Matthew 4:1–2). Forty days to help us focus on Christ’s sacrifice and help transform us into His image.

For me it’s like a fresh start, getting rid of the adequate to make room for the best. How can I cooperate and collaborate with God as I prepare my heart for Resurrection Sunday?

Lent begins with repentance, a change of mind and attitude as we acknowledge our wrongdoing. We turn from sin and turn to God. Many churches place ashes on the forehead as a symbol of that repentance. Repentance is part of our spiritual spring-cleaning. What has to go? What should we keep? What should we add?

A month ago I started the process of discarding. I gave away 130+ books taken from my living room shelves, a difficult process because I love the written word. I haven’t even started on the books in my office and other nooks and crannies. I’m motivated by a desire for simplicity and to “Just Be, Just Do” (found here). It’s so easy to slip into our default mode of accomplishment and speed, of working in our own strength. That need to depend on God led me to wrestle with the following questions.

What takes my time, energy, and affection (possibly a good thing), but has become a substitute for God’s best?  What am I willing to give up, do without, or discontinue that hinders new life in others or in me?  What should I continue or add that will serve others and further God’s Kingdom?

Are there questions you need to ask? “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me (Psalm 139:23-24). Dig deep, but don’t be surprised if the answers aren’t monumental. Sometimes small things make the biggest difference.

Finally, my devotional reading (A Year with God—Day 60 by R. Foster & J. Roller) led me to Second Timothy 3:10. “Now you have observed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness” (NRSV). I accepted Foster’s admonition to “be cautious and humble about what we may be teaching with our words and deeds. Teaching is so much easier than learning. It is also more dangerous.”

So here I sit at my computer, attempting to share my heart and this 40-day journey. I’ve given up sugar for my health and Spider Solitaire for more time. I’m continuing to discard things and adding order in my days. I’m reaping time for writing this blog and one-on-one relationships. Small but difficult changes with joyful outcomes.

Who Am I Going to Believe?

13 Apr

Philippians 2:5 “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (NKJV).

I’ve been a Christian for many years and still fall short of what God intends for me, including my choices and thought-life. Maybe that’s not true of you, but I know many people who struggle to be Christ-like.

In spite of my failures, it’s my desire to handle God’s word accurately as it says in 2 Timothy 2:15. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (NKJV).

The word handling in the Greek means “to lay down a way,” “to build a road; also “to open a way.” That’s what I hope you’ll help me do on this blog—open a way of understanding, a way to live life with wisdom and joy.

The Bible says this about itself. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17 NIV).

So here’s my dilemma. Is it my place to choose which verses are believable and worthy of obedience? Am I going to set myself up as the authority over God’s word? Each person has to answer that question individually. But I look at it this way, if I can’t believe all Scripture, then I can’t believe any of it. Who wants a god who would deceive, mislead, or play tricks? Not me. Additionally, we have archeological proofs, personal testimonies, and historical evidence that the Bible is true. Therefore, I choose the inspired Word of God above personal experience or opinion.

Years ago, I decided my responsibility was to discover what it means to “have the mind of Christ.” That’s where we’ll start with the next blog.

How about you? Where are you in your belief of Scripture? How did you arrive at your conclusions? For additional study, you might want to read Josh McDowell’s Answers to Tough Questions or Know Why You Believe by Paul E. Little. If you would like to share your thoughts or other resources, click on the link below.