Continuing on in pursuing faith, Paul uses the analogy of a soldier in the military to help Timothy remain on the path that leads to eternal life in Christ. From studying Paul’s first letter to his son (in the faith) and now in his second letter, you see how important it is to live out what you believe. How will those around you see Christ if you are not walking like Him? Read 2 Timothy 2 for today’s study time and learn how.
A believer is to be strong, Paul says in verse 1. Where does strength come from? Write this verse down explaining what grace has to do with being strong in Christ.
Because of Paul’s willingness to write down what he has been taught by God, you and I can trust his teachings, like Timothy can trust Paul. In verse 2, Paul says his teachings have been “confirmed by many reliable witnesses.” What does Paul tell Timothy to do with the truth that has been taught to him? This is how the name of Jesus gets spread throughout the world. You and I are to tell others what God is doing in our lives.
Verse 3 does not offer an easy road. You will endure suffering for Christ in some way or another. Think of yourself as a soldier for Christ. How does verse 4 reveal how a believer must live differently from people in the world?
A believer lives to please God in everything he does and says. He is disciplined in the ways of the Lord.
Paul gives an example of an athlete to show the importance of discipline in verse 5. How does an athlete win the prize? In verse 6, Paul speaks of a hardworking farmer. You and I are learning that being a believer in Christ is not a walk in the park, sitting on the beach with a margarita, or sitting in a rocking chair waiting for God to bless us. Spiritual success comes when your mind and heart are focused on one thing, and that is Jesus Christ.
You are reminded in verse 7 that you need the Lord’s help in understanding what Paul is trying to say. Read Johns 15:5 and Proverbs 3:5-6 and be reminded why you need God’s help.
Paul is faithful in his teachings to remind you of why you have faith in the living God, see verse 8. What makes Jesus the King of kings and the Lord of all lords? Because of this reality and audacious hope, Paul never stops talking about it! So much so, that he is willing to suffer and even sit in jail for his risen Savior, see verse 9.
What is the fuel behind Paul’s faith in verse 9? It should be the fuel for your faith also.
“The Word of God cannot be chained.”9
When you understand the Gospel, when you allow the Gospel to change your heart, you can say what Paul says in verse 10. What does he say? Are you as willing? If not, won’t you talk with God and ask Him to increase your thirst for Him? He will help you.
In verses 11-13, Paul encourages Timothy (and you and I) that no matter what, God is with us. Notice the condition Paul places in these verses, “if we die, if we endure, if we deny, if we are unfaithful…” This two letter word describes free will. God will not intervene in your life if you don’t want Him to. He lets you choose if you want to walk on the path that leads to eternal life with Christ or the road that leads to hell and death.
If you die with Christ, if you surrender your heart, mind, soul, rights, thoughts, your all, at His feet, you will live with Him. If you endure hardship, you will reign with Him. If you deny Him, He will deny you. What a sobering thought. Allow God to speak to you on this. If you are unfaithful, He remains faithful. This should cause quite a stirring in your heart.
“Christ cannot deny who He is.”13
You are to remind others of these glorious truths. You are also called to do what, see verse 14? What would society look like if everyone chose Christ and followed hard after Him like Paul did? I can tell you. We would be united in love.
You are to work hard at being a believer, Paul says in verse 15. Why are you to present yourself to God? What are you wanting to gain? Paul says there is no need to be ashamed of being a believer. It is human nature to shy away from God. Refresh your memory by looking at the first couple chapters of Genesis and see how Adam and Eve hid from God.
Paul also says to correctly explain the word of truth. A believer is a student of the Bible. How deep do you go in its rich truths?
Paul tells of what not to do as a believer. Look at verses 16, 17, 22, and 23. From what Paul has shared in these verses, how does acting like this affect Kingdom living? Do you live like this?
Amidst these verses that hinder Kingdom growth, Paul continues to equip Timothy with the truth that will make a difference in his faith, and it is the same for you and I.
“God’s truth stands firm like a foundation stone.”19
What do you learn about God from verse 19? What must you do? Verses 21-22 give you an example of why you must turn from evil and remain pure. What do you learn and why? What traits of pure living are given in verse 22?
Paul calls a believer a servant of the Lord in verse 24. What is a servant to do, see verses 24-26? You see behind the curtain of what goes on when a believer walks obediently with Christ, living out what he believes. When you follow Jesus, you are helping God to change the hearts of others. You are helping God in transforming lives. You are helping others to go from existing to thriving, from aimless wandering to purpose driven, from death into everlasting life.
God uses His children to build up His Kingdom here on earth. It is imperative that you follow Jesus and live out what you believe.