Friday, December 24, 2004

2 Timothy 1-2

I read this passage yesterday:

This you know, that all those in Asia have turned away from me, among whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain; but when he arrived in Rome, he sought me out very zealously and found me. The Lord grant to him that he may find mercy from the Lord in that Day--and you know very well how many ways he ministered to me at Ephesus.

You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.

The first part made me think of how disappointed Paul must have been to see people with whom he'd spent much time and to whom he'd grown close turning away from the truth. Relationships are a costly thing in which to invest, and for that relationship to fail is a difficult thing. However, God probably taught Paul important lessons through those failures. God uses our efforts to grow his kingdom, but according to his plan, not our idea of what his plan should be.

As for the second part, Paul compares the Christian life with that of a Soldier. We have one urgent purpose in life, and we should put aside all distractions, that we may please Him who enlisted us. Paul makes no claim that our task will be easy or enjoyable - war is neither. However, everything else pales in comparison to the task at hand, in fact, were we to see the whole picture, everything else would fade into oblivion.

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