Do you remember Shauna talking to us about not falling into the trap of always being busy? Perhaps you are still trying to earn God's (and other's) favour by saying 'yes' to everything and constantly 'doing'. These words are a great reminder of the freedom we have in Christ, and what He has called us to...
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth 2 Timothy 2 verse 15 (NIV)
This verse follows hot on the heels of three pictures Paul gives to Timothy about living the Christian life. He writes to Timothy in a fatherly way “Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” and then writes about the soldier pleasing his commanding officer, the athlete who follows the rules so that he has a chance of winning the race and the hardworking farmer.
So it’s a little later that Paul then writes to Timothy ‘Do your best’ or in other translations, ‘concentrate’, ‘study and be eager’, ‘be diligent’. There is urgency in Paul’s writing as he encourages us to do our best for God. So what does it mean to do our best for God? Is there an implication that we may not reach the mark? Is our life supposed to be all about striving and hard work and earning God’s favour?
I can easily fall into the trap in my own life of activity and working hard and thinking that is how I will earn God’s favour and that I am doing my best for God. However I think this is not a call to relentless activity but a reminder to not let life drift by; to be thoughtful and to take our walk with God seriously. These words spur me on to do my best, knowing that I am a sinner loved and saved by God’s amazing grace. There is nothing I can do to make God love me anymore – wow! Paul’s words suggest that it might not be an easy task – concentrate, be diligent, so how can I do my best?
This for me might mean
- Being patient with someone in a difficult situation
- Going the extra mile for someone and showing kindness
- Exercising self control in what I eat
- Choosing peace in a busy day
- Bringing joy to others and taking someone up in their lift
Moving further into the verse Paul says to do our best so that we will be approved by God and not ashamed. What might I be ashamed of before God? Sometimes I think I let myself off the hook with God because I know He loves and forgives me! I can let myself receive too much grace! So it’s good to ask myself some questions? Am I doing some activity that is not pleasing to God? Do I have a spirit of pride in my life? Am I serving God wholeheartedly? Did I do that job in my own strength? Am I just lazy and lacking in compassion sometimes?
How are we to ‘correctly handle the word of truth’? We need to value the truth and the Gospel passed down to us, it is precious. We must be faithful in teaching and sharing the truth. We need to be careful not to manipulate God’s word for our own purposes or pick and choose what we believe and how we live our lives.
There is so much to think about in just one verse! Here are a couple of questions to reflect on
What does doing your best for God mean to you?
Is there anything in your life that you would be ashamed of before God?
Prayer: Thank you God for your word. Help us to love you with all our hearts, to worship you with our whole being and to serve you willingly and joyfully. Amen