I LOVE how God’s Word speaks to all situations—those things passed, present or to come. His Word is a “lamp unto my feet, a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105). God’s Word prepares us so we may remain faithful, loving, steady and empowered among those who are ungodly and those who prefer to chase mirages. 2 Timothy: I love this God-inspired letter written by Paul from prison to encourage his dear friend and apprentice, Timothy. Paul’s letter would equip Timothy to pick up the mantle and carry out the mission, long after Paul’s death. His letter instructed him to resist the foolishness of false teachers and stay the course.
Paul’s letter/God’s Word written more than 2,000 years ago, continues to guide my life, the lives of my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, and our respective callings/ministries—very much so here at Voices Against the Grain. From the Message Bible (love the “give it to us real” verbiage used), here’s 2 Timothy 3 and 2 Timothy 4: a prescription on how to stay the course in this life.
2 Timothy 3
The Message (MSG)
Difficult Times Ahead
3 1-5 Don’t be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals. Stay clear of these people.
6-9 These are the kind of people who smooth-talk themselves into the homes of unstable and needy women and take advantage of them; women who, depressed by their sinfulness, take up with every new religious fad that calls itself “truth.” They get exploited every time and never really learn. These men are like those old Egyptian frauds Jannes and Jambres, who challenged Moses. They were rejects from the faith, twisted in their thinking, defying truth itself. But nothing will come of these latest impostors. Everyone will see through them, just as people saw through that Egyptian hoax.
2 Timothy 4
The Message (MSG)
4 1-2 I can’t impress this on you too strongly. God is looking over your shoulder. Christ himself is the Judge, with the final say on everyone, living and dead. He is about to break into the open with his rule, so proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don’t ever quit. Just keep it simple.
3-5 You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food—catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They’ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages. But you—keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant.