18,19 "Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith."
1 Timothy 1:18,19 (NIV)
"Mark my words, you'll be glad!" – That's a line I bet you've heard before. And it means a ton when it comes from someone wise and caring!
The apostle Paul lays such a line on his young disciple, Timothy. Like a great coach, Paul longs to build greater capacity into his player and keep him moving forward. The same applies to us. Let's follow the trail:
GIVEN INSTRUCTION: Face facts. God gives great instruction for life. And so much has already been declared (Deuteronomy 32:47). He doesn't just throw us out onto the court or playing field of life, clueless.
He doesn't intend for us to figure everything out on our own. Experience is not our only teacher. God gives us a written Word, the Bible. And He sends His Spirit and other “messengers” our way to bear witness too. Be glad!
GOOD FIGHT: We fight a good fight when we fight smart, when we use His Word as our field manual. That book plays to win. It's filled with super sound instruction. Be glad! Note Matthew 4:1-11 and Psalm 19:7-11 for starters, if you don't believe me.
FIRM GRIP: Heeding God's instructions gives us a firm grip on two crucial understandings: faith and conscience. Our faith wavers way less when we know what God says. And we wobble far less in who we are and what's right when we firmly grip His Word.
The Word destroys insecurities and establishes strong, true identity. It clears the conscience. Putting a great grip on the Word puts a right grip on us. Be glad!
FREE SAILING: When we relax our grip on God's Word and think that anything goes, we're bound to shipwreck. Get out the yellow caution tape because both our faith and identity will take a hit. But by hearing and heeding the Word, we're bound to sail on free and clear of the rocks. Be glad!
Are you taking full advantage of what you've been given? Are you reading the Bible for all it's worth? What instruction have you noted lately and are glad about?
Are you fighting a good fight, or a senseless one? Or are you not fighting at all? How's your faith, conscience and core identity? Are they being built supremely upon God's Word?
A prayer to consider: Father, thank You for giving me much instruction. Help me to follow and rejoice in it. I want to fight the good fight, ever operate with good faith and clear conscience, and avoid shipwreck to my soul. Your Word makes me GLAD!