By Katie Pearson
"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15
The phrase, “Do your best”, has become almost cliche' in modern times. We remind our kids that this is enough to please us and walk away from any given circumstance with their head held high. It implies that as long as they tried hard, then the outcome is irrelevant. Based on who Paul was as a servant of the gospel and his body of teaching, that’s not God’s best for those who are called to kingdom leadership. Why? Because when it comes to guiding souls, the outcome is everything. Salvation is at stake, as well as the sanctification that leads to maturity.
What is Paul really asking? Be your best and give your best is more accurate, which goes well beyond using our skills to teach, preach or write about scripture. Being and giving our best requires devoting every moment of our lives to pleasing God first and walking with Jesus as our constant companion. Then, when opportunities arise to share God’s Word, we are surrendered to God so we reflect and communicate from the power of the Holy Spirit within us, rather than our own need to please or be right. In other words, we become conduits of his ministry, not the cornerstone of our own ministries. The only one who can fulfill that role is Jesus.
When we tell our kids, our coworkers, or staff to “do their best” we typically intend to help them avoid any shame that results from how others perceive their performance. Paul only cares how God sees and knows us. He wants Timothy, and all of us who devote our lives to the gospel, to experience the holy confidence that comes from the Holy Spirit within and is unaffected by outside influences and opinions. Of course, this is only possible when we rely completely on the grace of God and the Word of God to shape our own hearts and lives through the Holy Spirit. But it is possible. Paul is our shining example, and he wouldn’t proclaim it so boldly if he didn’t believe we can stand before the throne without shame too, faces lifted to the One who created us, leads us, and defines us.
Reflection: There is a significant difference between doing our best and giving our best. Where in your personal life is the Spirit leading you to walk closer with Jesus? Perhaps it’s an issue of stepping out in faith, being more careful with your choice of words, or putting on the mind of Christ versus a worldly mindset. Ask the Lord for help and guidance and commit your effort to God that He might use you more readily to share the gospel with those who desperately need to hear the whole truth as God intended. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Let's face it, the Christian life is hard. Relationships take work. Christians forget. Sometimes it is tempting to go back to the days when God was not the center of our lives - to backslide. We are all faced with tremendous pressures to drift away from intimacy with Jesus and the community of the Church. However, the Lord invites us to pay attention, to move forward, to draw near, and to live lives of worship. Draw Near: Hebrews on Christian Worship is a small group Bible study on the Book of Hebrews intended to lead participants into a deeper intimacy with the living God in the context of New Testament worship. Draw nearer to God in authentic worship today!
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