Cause the Jesus in me to be seen today more than the me in me, Lord.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
You lay out several qualities here for a leader within Your Church, Lord; yet the portion that has grasped my attention in this passage is “He must HOLD FIRMLY TO the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can ENCOURAGE OTHERS by sound doctrine and REFUTE those who oppose it” (v 9 NIV). In The Message, paraphrased by Eugene Peterson, this is worded as “have a good grip on the Message, knowing how to use the truth to either spur people on in knowledge or stop them in their tracks if they oppose it.”
HOLD FIRMLY TO
Your Word is completely reliable. No matter how many human hands had a part in putting together this Bible I’ve been reading/studying for years … no matter how many centuries have passed or original manuscripts have been lost or found … no matter how many voices have tried to malign its credibility, Your Truth is still all together true and trustworthy. No matter what false teachings have infiltrated the minds of people in this world today, YOU are still God. You are El Shaddai, God Almighty. You are Adonai, my Lord! You are I Am!
As I sit here and breathe in the oxygen around me, by mouth, nose and trachea take it into my lungs and this necessary element is absorbed into my body. I must have this air to survive, to move, to live. Cause Your Word to be as vital to my mind, heart, and spirit as oxygen is to my body. May my eyes breathe in the letters on the pages of Your Word as my mind absorbs and assimilates the concepts, principles, promises, commands, and thoughts of Your Word.
As I am transformed by inhaling Your Truth, may my life exhale an example of obedience and a reflection of Jesus. The passage points out two ways in which You desire for Your Word to go forth from me, once I have a firm hold upon it:
“Encourage others by sound doctrine” is Your first direction for me. Use me, Lord, to appeal to others through all means of teaching them to cling to Your Word and to grow in their knowledge of, obedience to, and sharing of that Truth that sets them free. Keep me grounded in Your Word so that what I convey is sound and in line with Your will. Use me to spur others on in applying Your Word to life.
Not every person I encounter will be a believer who needs a bit of encouragement to keep going and remain focused on You. You’ve warned me and reality has shown me that there will be people who cross my path who will indeed oppose Your Word.
In other parts of Your Word You have conveyed how to point others to Your truth: “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that You may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:6) NIV). “…in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15 NIV).
By Your grace, You have acquainted me with Your Word, Father. It’s by that same grace that I go forth each day, dependent on You, infused with Your Word, and focused on Your Son. It’s not the “I” but the “You” in me that must go forth. No matter how many times I fall down or blunder in my efforts to remain faithful, YOU are the One who pours Your Word into this humble vessel, so that other lives can be encouraged and guided toward Your Son, as You keep making me just like Jesus. Amen.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“As you share God’s grace through a life lived in love… you become HIS hands, HIS feet, HIS voice.” — Shelley Breen in Steady On by Point of Grace, p. 100.