Patterns and Healthy Habits
2 Timothy 1 English Standard Version (ESV)
Guard the Deposit Entrusted to You
3 I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 4 As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. 6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us to[a] a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,[b] 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, 12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.[c] 13 Follow the pattern of the sound[d] words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you
I have been very blessed this past several weeks as I get to be intentional in mentoring and walking in accountability with some of my dear brothers in Men of Faith. One brother of mine and I have been sharpening and challenging each other to grow spiritually. He is older than me, but asked if I would mentor him. I accepted on what condition, that he would mentor me as well, that this would be a give and take relationship. This has been very rewarding and yet humbling for me. Over the past two weeks we have been challenging each other to pour into the book of 2nd Timothy. There is such wealth in the Bible and in this first chapter alone that we could spend months on end unwrapping this in our men’s ministry. Three things that I have underlined above are paramount in our discipleship:
What is holding us back?
- Unconfessed Sin?
We are not doing this alone. For those of us that profess Jesus Christ as Savior we know that Jesus promised us that we would not be left alone to tend to his business while he sits at the right hand of God until his time has come. He has left us His Spirit, our counselor. We are given His Spirit in us – This very Spirit was from the very beginning of our creation. This Spirit is part of the triune God. This Spirit is in us. This Spirit leads us in ways that we do not always know where we are going, but God does. This Spirit is of Power and Love and Self Control.
We need to embrace this Power:
- Let Go and Let God
- Let Go and Listen to His Spirit
- When in doubt, pray
- When in confidence, lean not on our own understanding
- When we are sure, praise God
- Do not be afraid! Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight (Hallelujah!)
The second thing that we learn from this text (amongst many other things) is that we need to have biblical patterns (also hobbies and habits) in our life. We need margin, that is, stewardship (of our time, our talents and our treasures). The purpose of biblical pattern in our life is that we hear from God through His living word. We lean on His word and not on our own understanding. We form healthy patterns to the wants and desires from God for our life. We read that He has plans for us that will not harm us and that will bless us by what He calls the abundant life. Does this mean that we will always be prosperous – yes (BUT NOT IN WORLDLY TERMS). Don’t listen to individuals who teach prosperity gospel. God says for us to test him in giving, but he doesn’t promise prosperous gains of fortune, rather he promises blessing. What is that blessing? It is different for each one of us. To some are given 10 talents, to others 5 talents and to others 1 talent. To some is given the gift of teaching and preaching, to others the gift of mercy and still to others the gift of giving. In this life, when we profess the name of Jesus, we are sure of two things: 1) Our salvation and 2) that trials and tribulations will come because of this name – Jesus.
By putting pattern and habits and hobbies of biblical application in our life, we can see spiritual growth because it is no longer on our understanding and accord. Instead, we yield in prayer and meditation to the will of God. We can avoid pitfalls and temptations from the evil one and spiritual warfare is no longer having its way with us, instead, the true disciple is praying the prayer for Armor (Galatians 6) and leaning on God’s ways and not our ways.
Some of these ways are:
- Praying daily
- Reading the word daily
- Meditating daily
- Attending a bible study, a small group (church) and regularly attending a church body (becoming part of that body instead of being a spectator)
We are to guard this knowledge with our life. I am a movie guy and the one movie that really drives this point home is The Book of Eli (starring Denzel Washington). The movie is violent and not for impressionable minds, however, the movie has an unbelievable message about guarding this knowledge – an incredible message. If you haven’t seen this movie – tell me what you think. If you are not a violent type of moviegoers than email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will respond to you via email about the symbolism of this message in the movie.
In all that you do, seek first the Kingdom of God. Love your neighbor as yourself and bear witness to His Gospel. Blessings,