10.11.13 "Don't give up"

Today’s Scripture is:  2 Timothy 4: 1-4      NIRV

 I give you a command in the sight of God and Christ Jesus. Christ will judge the living and the dead. Because he and his kingdom are coming, here is the command I give you. Preach the word. Be ready to serve God in good times and bad. Correct people’s mistakes. Warn them. Cheer them up with words of hope. Be very patient as you do these things. Teach them carefully.

The time will come when people won’t put up with true teaching. Instead, they will try to satisfy their own longings. They will gather a large number of teachers around them. The teachers will say what the people want to hear. The people will turn their ears away from the truth. They will turn to stories that aren’t completely true.

On Sunday, Mike’s message was on the reliability of the Bible. I don’t do well in remembering manuscript evidence or which century things were discovered, etc., so defending the Bible is definitely a weakness of mine.  Mike’s message was great though, in that it gave me information and tools to use if someone is actually questioning me or challenging me on the validity and reliability of the Bible. 

Paul is telling Timothy though, that no matter how well we defend the Word or teach the Truth, many people will be stubborn and will refuse to listen.  They will only hear what satisfies their own longings and will turn away from truth, will be rebellious, and will be incredibly hard to reach!   That’s why the encouragement is needed in verses 1 & 2.   Encouragement to not give up! Encouragement to be ready, preach, serve, correct, warn, cheer, teach, and be patient!  If we give up because it get’s hard, then we might as well give up now, because people far from God are just stinking hard to teach, to correct, to serve, to cheer up, to be patient with…and often times to LOVE! 

I’m mentoring a young girl now that has a very new faith and a very hard past.  Even though she wants to do things right, she’s fighting against the tide of her past constantly.  She’s rarely fully honest with me, she handles situations opposite of how Jesus would want her to, her language still reflects the environment that she grew up in, and she constantly frustrates me with her temper, indecisiveness and decision making skills.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to throw up my hands and say forget it… I don’t have the energy for this…I want out.  So I do that… then God draws me back in and won’t let me give up on her.  It’s by far the hardest relationship and situation I’ve ever had to deal with and my words of wisdom to her have fallen on deaf ears more times than I can count. However, God has encouraged me by His Spirit to hang in there, because the only other option is to let her go…and since he doesn’t let me go when He gets frustrated with me, I can do no less with her.   Encouragement from friends has been important for me too though.  Sometimes when I’m struggling with mentoring this young girl, I need people around me to say, “keep it up!....we’ll pray for you…we’ll support you…we’re with you…God is leading!”, just like Paul did with Timothy.

I’m still in the middle of this mentoring relationship and I have no idea what’s going to happen tomorrow or the next day, but I’m trusting God every day that what I’m doing with this young lady is  making a difference.   I’m trusting that by being patient with her, teaching her, correcting her and cheering her on, that HIS KINGDOM is coming into her life every day, even when it’s hard on me or when I can’t see it.  I’m praying that by doing what Paul commanded Timothy to do… and me to do…there will be a relationship developed that goes deeper than her ears – so even when I don’t think she’s listening to me or to the truth – her heart IS.

Thanks for letting me share my thoughts.  What are your thoughts on today’s reading?