Friday, February 13, 2015

Life Off-Track (part 1)

Monday, February 16, 2015
You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times.  For people will love only themselves and their money.  They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful.  They will consider nothing sacred.  They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control.  They will be cruel and hate what is good.  They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God.  They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly.  Stay away from people like that!  2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NLT)

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives.  It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.  God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.   2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NLT)

The trouble with a life off-track is that it is obviously going nowhere!  God’s plan for our lives is to take us to a place of character much different than we see in our culture. 
If you notice the first part of Paul’s caution to Timothy, his characterization of the kind of lives people lead in the “last days” – those chaotic, harsh, and fearful days just before Christ returns – describe about as far from the “track” God has laid out for us as people created in His image.  Paul warns his protégé to stay away from people like that!
James Alexander said, "The study of God's Word for the purpose of discovering God's will is the secret discipline which has formed the greatest characters."  The scripture has the objective of building a man, woman, boy or girl into the kind of useable servant that is a blessing in God's kingdom.
         Do you have a desire to be a strong Christian? 
             Do you look at others with strong faith, and wish you could be like them? 
        Do you look at overcoming believers who are living the victorious, joy-filled Christian experience, and long for that in your life? 

The key is God's holy Word. 

That great preacher Phillips Brooks used the analogy of an old wooden sailing ship at sea, fighting a great storm.  The winds howl and the waves roll.  Will the ship hold together?  It seems like a terrible struggle. 

But really, the battle is not on the ocean today; it was fought in the forest long ago where the timber grew, and in the shipyard where the nails fastened the wooden planks to the hull, and the seams that were caulked.  The battle was fought in the care given to the ship through the years guarding against dry rot and loose fittings.  The storm today is only the test; the battle was fought long ago in preparation. 

Beloved, if you want to live the victorious Christian life, and be sound in your doctrine, able to refute the errors of false teaching, corrected and stood up straight, a servant well-instructed in the righteousness of God, it will be because you take the time NOW to prepare your life to meet difficult days ahead. 

That preparation begins with accepting God’s Holy Spirit as your teacher, and allowing God’s Word to operate in your life; that begins a process which moves you towards God’s objective in your life of making you His servant – mature, and ready to serve!

This week we will take an in-depth look at staying on track to Christian maturity.
If you have never committed your life to being formed by God’s Holy Scripture – that’s our target this week. 
If you have committed before, but have somehow gotten off-track, or just slowed down, there is no better day than today – right now – to begin again.

For You Today

All aboard!  Let’s get back on track!

[1] Title image:  By Louise Docker from Sydney, Australia, via Wikimedia Commons

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