Call to GIVE UP in a world
that pursues GO UP
“Up and up and up and on and on and on” has been the pursuit of people and institutions these days. Image building with boastful and proud pronouncements is often glorified. It is tough to remain truthful in this world of boasting. The spiritual world is no exception- here too image building and boastful of SELF have crept in.
As we shape the future leaders in UESI, let us be aware that the world (in these last days) is traveling far away from God. Paul reminds Timothy that ”In the last days people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power . . . always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth” (2 Tim. 3:1-7).
Further, in Chapter 3, it is noteworthy how Paul is mentoring Timothy as a servant leader. Probably this is Paul’s last letter and we can assume an association of over 15 years between them (since Acts 16, when Timothy joined Paul). In I & II Timothy, Paul still addresses Timothy as a young man. So as a part of mentoring him as a servant leader, Paul exhorts him in the following ways:
1. Call to follow Personal Example as a Servant of Christ (II Tim 3: 10-13)
His Life as an example: Paul’s teaching, his way of life, his purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings that happened to him in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, and enduring that how the Lord rescued him from all of them.
Reality of persecution/ struggles in the life of a Godly Person: Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
To be aware of the enemy’s strategies- a world with evil men and deceivers: They will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
2. Call to continue/follow the same path (II Ti. 3:14-15)
Paul reminded Timothy to continue in what he learnt and became convinced of and from whom he learnt it, and how from infancy he knew the holy Scriptures, which are able to make him wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
Even in other epistles. Paul courageously calledpeople to imitate him/ follow him as he followed Jesus Christ. (I Thess: 1:6)
3. Call to Continual learning – Equipping a leader through Scripture (II Ti. 3: 16-17)
The word of God : An Equipping Tool
Paul reminds Timothy that the Scripture is an exhaustive equipping tool, providing doctrines, reproof, correction and instruction, so that everyone may be equipped for every good work. Paul says that using Scriptures, a leader is to lay the foundation, provide direction for further growth, confront others when they stumble, correct their behaviour and help them progress again.
In Paul’s time, the ministry grew, new churches were founded and a number of people came to know the Lord. It was not through the kind of modern day management techniques of self-protection, but giving up of self, and thus a life of character, conviction and commitment. It will be an exhaustive list, if we can make it, what Paul gave up in life for the Lord Jesus Christ. The summary is found in II Tim 4:6-8 “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing”. (II Timothy 4: 6-8). . . Giving up – to be poured out (not self-building as the modern management techniques teach, but emptying up and pouring out). Can we be such “poured out lives” for the sake of Christ in our generation?
May the Lord help us as Individuals and as a movement to follow this kind of a strategy, calling people to look at our example of a poured out life, courageously encouraging them to continue and equip themselves in the Word of God deeply to give up to go up. And thus our lives and those whom we mentor will be living sacrifies, holy and pleasing to God as a spiritual act of worship.
With you, in Lord’s work