Look At Me
I praise You, giver of life and truth and grace. I am so thankful for Your faithfulness.
2 Timothy 3:10-17
Consider: "To know God in the Scriptures always went beyond information to intimacy" (Erwin Raphael McManus). Intimacy with God leads to holy living (14-17).
With great boldness, Paul holds himself up as an example of someone with his integrity intact (10-11). Unlike some politician forced to resign in disgrace when his or her secret __________ (lover, false expense claim, connection to crime, etc.) is unmasked, Paul is happy for full disclosure. No skeletons here. Feel free to examine every aspect of my life and ministry, he says. Many of us would be very reluctant to make such a statement--but should that be the case? Modeling integrity surely ought to be high on every Christian's agenda.
Paul trains a lens especially on his suffering (11-12), specifically the triad of experiences in Antioch (expelled), Iconium (plot to stone him), and Lystra (stoned and left for dead; cf. Acts 13:13-14:20). Paul was not in this for the glamour or the kudos. In his suffering, he portrays himself as being in the line of God's people throughout history and everywhere. In a stunning statement, he goes so far as to make suffering a test of true discipleship (12). No persecution, no true godliness. Blandness in Christian witness lacks integrity.
For Timothy there is a "not rocket science"-type message: Stay true to what you have learned. Trust the Scriptures, confirmed by the integrity of those who taught you (14). Allow the Scriptures to do their positive (teaching, training in righteousness) and negative (rebuking, correcting) work. Paul's reference to "those from whom you learned it" (14) challenges all of us who teach to adopt a "Do as I do" approach. His focus on Scripture is a reminder that we will think like the surrounding culture with which we are bombarded (3:1-5) unless we have something critiquing our lives and providing an alternative.
Apply: In what ways are you persecuted, either as an individual or as part of the Christian community?
Lord, I know at times that I go along to get along. Grant me fortitude so that I will be faithful to You, my Lord and my God.
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