25th October 2018
During difficult times, holding on to the Word will keep us grounded
Sam Fowler reflects on 2 Timothy 3
Read 2 Timothy 3
I often think back to when I first embraced the good news of Jesus and gave my life to God at 14. It’s great to remind myself what life was like and recognise afresh what God has saved me from. But I suppose my one gripe would be that I don’t remember being told that the Christian life would be full of challenges and difficulties – which is interesting because just reading the New Testament I get a clear picture that there will always be challenges ahead. When I first encountered difficult times I saw them as punishment rather than just a reality of life,and particularly the reality of the spiritual battle happening all around us.
Difficult times don’t define us, what we do in those times does.
Dr Alicia Britt Chloe observes that spiritual pain (aka difficult times) is a door; an opportunity to grow, to learn, to be refined, to build greater trust, to put God back in His place as Sovereign Lord. And one of her key points to getting through difficult times, particularly spiritual pain and confusion, is anchoring yourself in the Bible. Dr Alicia paints the beautiful picture of us as the kite, the strong being the Word of God which provides tension and connection to the loving hand of the Father. Without it we are lost with no connection or reference point in difficult times.
Having had a very challenging summer I can certainly attest to this. In the midst of pain, confusion and loss there has been a renewed intimacy with God as I chose to connect with God through the Bible, prayer and fellowship with other Christians. It’s strange that these are often the first things we throw out in difficult times when actually they are the life-giving touch points we need to remain firm in faith.
Right here in 2 Timothy 3 we see Paul saying the same thing to Timothy (v 14-17). After Paul warns Timothy that there will be difficult times ahead, that there will be people within the church that are acting religious but not godly (v 5)
Paul is speaking of those within the christian community who are causing difficulty and getting side-tracked by new teachings. Paul is well aware that difficult times come from all angles. It is after all of this warning that Paul says 'no matter what anyone else is doing, no matter the new teachings, thoughts and ideologies that others are following, no matter the state of society or the actions/beliefs of those within the church, hold fast to the teaching you have received – keep holding on to the Word of God' (paraphrased from v 14-17).
Paul is encouraging Timothy to remain rooted in God, and Paul had a lot of experience of difficult times, yet he remained firm and constant in faith. This is my task and my challenge in sharing the good news of Jesus.There will be difficult times ahead in ministry and in my personal life. There will be confusion, questions, pain, discouragement, distractions and disappointments.
But my task in difficult times is to be faithful; to remain grounded in the Word of God and continue on the path set out before me knowing others have trod this narrow path and have overcame many trials too.
SU Development Worker (Church and Community)
There's nothing better than seeing children and young people get to know Jesus. With a background in youth and schools work, I hope to see churches, and our other partners, meet children and young people in their local community.