Running the RaceHow deliberate are you in your spiritual training?
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Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you (v.16).
Hey, Dad! It’s Micah. All that hard work finally paid off. I made gold defense (starting defense). I’m so happy. These are just baby steps to my days in the pros.”
My 12-year-old son sent me this text after his final football practice. As a first-year player, he had made it into games, but had not started all season. As a result of his diligence, however, the coaches allowed him to start their final game. My son’s effort is an example of what the Bible calls diligence—hard work and perseverance. Diligence is commended in Scripture, especially in regard to public ministry and private life.
Paul encouraged Timothy to diligently attend to his public ministry. He wanted Timothy to work hard in the practice of publicly reading the Scriptures. Prior to Paul’s time, God’s people had been committed to publicly reading Scripture (2 Kings 2:2). The apostle told Timothy to work hard at preaching, teaching, and using his spiritual gifts. This included the exposition and application of the passages that were read publicly.
Paul also encouraged Timothy to diligently attend to his private life. He charged the younger man to carefully watch over his behavior and his theology. He wanted Timothy to realize that his behavior revealed what he believed, and what he believed was revealed in the way he lived. The resulting rewards of diligence in these areas were that Timothy would continue to live out his salvation and help others live out their own (Philippians 2:12).
Your heavenly Father desires for you—by the power of the Holy Spirit—to work hard at having a consistent and powerful ministry both in public and in private. God can then use you as an agent in influencing believers to work out their salvation with fear and trembling.
Read Matthew 15:1 to see a group of people who were not diligent in guarding their public ministry and private life.
In what areas of your public ministry and private life do you need to ask the Holy Spirit to help you become more diligent? How will hard work help you to glorify God and influence others?
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