Work Hard and Represent God’s Truth By Ed McDowell
Have you ever made the connection between working hard and representing God’s truth?
The Apostle Paul does this with a young and upcoming leader. His name is Timothy. Let’s look at the second letter Paul writes to Timothy, specifically part of the second chapter. The readings are from the New Living Translation.
Paul’s Letter to Timothy
Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 2:1
By God’s grace, we are strengthened. Let’s live in this strength God gives.
You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.
2 Timothy 2:3
Paul is confirming the reliability of his teaching to Timothy. Paul also views Timothy as trustworthy to receive his teaching. Paul encourages Timothy to do the same. May we be encouraged to do the same.
Endure suffering along with me as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor. Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you understand all these things.
2 Timothy 2:4
Paul wants us to understand that we are set apart and focused on living the life Jesus brought us into, following the ways He has established for us, and enjoying the rewards or harvest of living in this way.
Always remember that Jesus Christ, a descendant of King David, was raised from the dead. This is the Good News I preach.
2 Timothy 2:8
This is at the heart of the truth Paul represents. It is at the heart of the truth we are to represent today.
And because I preach this Good News, I am suffering and have been chained like a criminal. But the word of God cannot be chained. So I am willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen.
2 Timothy 2:9
Paul makes it clear that His suffering is because the powers of the world are seeking to harm him because of his clear message about Jesus Christ. He has understood that this will be the experience of everyone who follows and shares Jesus Christ. From Paul’s perspective, it is all worth it to draw others into the glory of life with Jesus Christ.
This is a trustworthy saying: If we die with him, we will also live with him. If we endure hardship, we will reign with him. If we deny him, he will deny us. If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is.
2 Timothy 2:11-13
Paul reminds us of our relationship to God and His faithfulness to us, even when we fail him.
Remind everyone about these things, and command them in God’s presence to stop fighting over words. Such arguments are useless, and they can ruin those who hear them.
2 Timothy 2:11
Paul instructs us to focus on what God does say. Don’t spend time modifying and revising His word to our own set of preferences. Changing God’s word to our liking will ruin us and those who hear it from us.
Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2;15
Work hard. Represent God’s truth clearly and with integrity.
Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior. This kind of talk spreads like cancer, as in the case of Hymenaeus and Philetus. They have left the path of truth, claiming that the resurrection of the dead has already occurred; in this way, they have turned some people away from the faith.
2 Timothy 2:16-18
Don’t play loose with God’s truth. Don’t teach things that God and His word do not represent. It is destructive and deceptive.
But God’s truth stands firm like a foundation stone with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and “All who belong to the Lord must turn away from evil.”
2 Timothy 2:19
God’s word is solid. He knows who is following His word through His son, Jesus Christ. Paul reminds us that following God does require us to step away from evil in our lives.
Reflection and Encouragement
As a follower of Jesus Christ, working hard and representing God’s truth are meant to travel together. It is hard to represent God if we do not know what He is saying. It takes diligent effort to know God’s word and to share it clearly with others.
We are not credible if we speak God’s truth but do not live it out. Obedience to Christ does mean growing to follow Him and His ways. This requires us to step away from patterns, behaviors, and habits that are simply evil.
Suffering does become part of the journey of representing God. So does enjoying the results or harvest of God’s Kingdom.
Thank You for this letter from the Apostle Paul to Timothy.
Thank You for reminding us to work hard as we represent Your truth in this world. Thank You for being honest with us about the suffering that comes with being clear about who You are while living in a world that seeks to work against You.
Help us to do the diligent work of knowing You and Your word. Help us to step away from every form of evil that draws us away from Your word.
May we be credible, with growing alignment between our words and actions, as we invite people to follow You.
In Your name, Jesus, we pray,
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