Posts from May 2020

Posts from May 2020

A Clear Mission

Congratulations if you have made it thus far in this series of devotions! Well done! God placed in my heart the need to prepare His people for His glorious return. That’s the main purpose for this devotional series. My prayer and plan was that these devotions will help to shape your priorities, get you started on a daily process of spending time with God and self-examination, and remind you of the great prize awaiting you when Jesus returns. However, I…

A Clear Prize

Paul asks in 1 Cor 9:7, “Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink the milk?” This expectation of reward is also weaved throughout 2 Tim 2:3–6 – the soldier is expecting his commanding officer’s praise, the athlete is expecting a winner’s crown, and the farmer is expecting to receive the first share of his crop. And so, while the previous…

A Clear Posture

Now, let us put all that we have meditated on the past few days and begin to put the pieces together. Re-looking at the imageries of soldier, athlete, and farmer again, do you recognize all three of them have adopted a posture of humble submission? The soldier submits to the orders from his commanding officer, the athlete submits to the rules of the race, while the farmer submits his crops to God’s gracious provision of rain. To be fully prepared…

A Clear Faith

After using the imageries of a dutiful soldier and a disciplined athlete, Paul now considers the imagery of a diligent farmer. 2 Tim 2:6 reads, “The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.” While all three imageries share common aspects of purpose, process, priority, posture, and prize, Paul introduces a dimension only peculiar to the farmer. The farmer must continually put his faith in God to provide rain at its proper time. While it…

A Clear Requirement

Thus far we have examined how an athlete must have a clear plan and undergo a rigorous training process. However, 2 Tim 2:5 reminds us that an athlete must also abide by the rules to receive the winner’s crown. What “rules” does God expect from us? Read Luke 12:35–48 at this juncture. These familiar parables teach us that God expects us to be consistently faithful in service. Faithfulness in service is that straight and narrow path we walk on after…

A Clear Process

Spiritual growth, like all kinds of growth, is not automatic. There is in fact a very specific Methodist process for spiritual growth. John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, crafted three simple guides for Christian discipleship and growth. In Methodism, they became known as The General Rules. The institution of the class meeting and the first two rules essentially echo Romans 12:9 “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” John Wesley instructed Methodists…

A Clear Plan

Moving from the imagery of a soldier, Paul now uses the imagery of an athlete. 2 Tim 2:5 says, “Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules.” If the imagery of a soldier seeking only to please his commanding officer teaches us the need to have a clear purpose, the imagery of an athlete teaches us the need to have a clear plan for training. Paul wrote in…

A Clear Demand

We return to 2 Tim 2:3 where Paul writes, “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” Being a Christian necessarily entails embracing suffering or persecution. In today’s world we have plenty of preachers and Christians alike who only embrace all the benefits Christ brings but reject God’s gracious invitation to participate in the sufferings of Christ. While it is true that Christ’s death and resurrection brings us a lot of benefits – and I would readily admit…

Clearing Distractions

In our previous devotions, we saw the need to cut away the entanglement of sin. What other things might we find ourselves easily entangled in? In Luke 22:34–36, Jesus warns, “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and…

Clearing Entanglements

Today we continue examining the call to be a dutiful soldier for Jesus Christ (in 2 Tim 2:4). Years ago, I used to clear rope entanglements in a ship’s propeller in my vocation as a naval diver. It was a very laborious process. All we had was a simple knife. My team and I would take on an average of 4-6 hours to painstakingly cut through the huge mess of rope which was wound around the propeller. If these entanglements…

A Clear Priority

Today we begin by examining the soldier imagery. Paul says in v.4, “No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.” To be prepared for Jesus’ return, the foremost need is to have a clear priority. Our priority must be to live our lives in such a way that pleases Jesus our Lord and commanding officer. If a commanding officer sends a soldier out to the battlefield, it would be…

A Clear Purpose

As I sought the Lord on how we can be prepared for His return, He impressed upon me 2 Timothy 2:1–7. We begin with v.7, where Paul tells his spiritual son Timothy: “Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this” (NIV). And so we pray, “Lord, graciously grant us insight to understand Your Word. Amen.” Paul uses three imageries to exhort every Christian to model after: a dutiful soldier, a disciplined athlete,…

Getting Prepared

This circuit breaker has forced many of us in a mandatory sabbath of sorts. For most of us, this period is probably needful as we are finally forced to deal with many issues we have probably neglected or brushed aside for years. For instance, my wife and I were confronted with the uncomfortable amount of accumulated dust on top and behind our shelves and cupboards. It was a laborious process of shifting out the cupboards to clean out the accumulated…