It is an innate desire that we want to be known as godly parents/teachers and role models. We want and earnestly pray for godly children to be our legacy. How then does it begin and where does it begin? Paul gives us a glimpse as he writes this third chapter of 2 Timothy.
More than once Paul has commended Timothy’s mother and grandmother either directly or indirectly. It was because of Timothy’s heritage that he became who he was. Our children’s heritage, just as Timothy’s, begins at the knee of every parent where they learn godly traits. It is there that the scriptures are instilled into their lives thus fulfilling Ps 78: “tell to the generation to come the praises of the Lord…” Why is this so important? It is the sacred writings/scripture that are able to give children wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. It is because scripture alone is “inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;” It is scripture that prepares children to be adequate and equipped for every good work and it is scripture that prepares them to be able to handle the word of truth with accuracy.
We live in a world that seems to have gone awry. but is no different than in the time of Paul. Just read through the list of ungodly traits he lists in this chapter. It reads like the list of the worst of the worst in men and we are seeing it in living color today all across our globe. These children, now adults, are revealing the traits taught them from early on. It is therefore imperative that parents, teachers, and other godly adults model and teach the scriptures which will help children to be able to discern good and evil. [Heb 5]. It is the scriptures that will help them to avoid people who hold to a form of godliness but deny its power, who are deceiving and being deceived. It will prepare them to stand strong should they face persecution such as the OT Hebrew children, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who when faced with certain death proclaimed that God could deliver but even if he did not they would refuse to bow down to Nebuchadnezzar’s idol god. It will prepare them to be like the children beheaded by ISIS just because they would not deny Jesus.
Luke wants us to follow his train of thought as he seeks to remind his reader of these principles: “The chief end of man is glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”
Herod was an example that lived by neither and in fact sought his own glory. Luke teaches us through the illustration of Paul and Barnabas in Lystra, where a lame man is healed, that it is God alone who deserves glory. Seeing a lame man healed, the entire town erupts and seeks to glorify them. But, unlike Herod who accepted what was due God, Paul and Barnabas shouted, tore their clothes and said: “Men, why are you doing these things? We too are men, with human natures just like you! We are proclaiming the good news to you, so that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything that is in them.”
When pagans (unbelievers) know not the living God and seek to glorify us we must do as Paul; present God as Creator and ourselves as the creation always seeking to give God his glory and the praise due to him alone. Paul wisely used God’s creation first for this reveals “God’s invisible attributes – his eternal power and divine nature.” Yet is not creation that points men to the Savior and their need of salvation; it is the very breathed inspired Word of God. Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, [2Ti 3:16] “so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”[Rom 15]
Peter continues his dialog about suffering to the persecuted believers. His focus herein reflects on the inner man because that is where our attitudes are shaped by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The failure of Peter to stay awake in a crucial moment in time led the Master to ask: “Couldn’t you stay awake with me for one hour? Stay awake and pray.” The Master asks us as well for He well knows our bent; our “want to” often gets distracted and gets lost in our worldly attitudes.
The world would have us define attitude by experience but the scripture defines it as that which is a product of the power of the Holy Spirit. When we allow Him to take control he will change us from the inside out and bestow upon us the attitude of sober mindedness resulting in the behavior of self-control. This is all for the distinguished purpose of prayer. “Prayer is the most noble and necessary ministry that God entrusts to His children, but it is also the most neglected ministry” [Dr. Constable]
If Peter could come and sit with us he would tell us that because we are in the end times we must be diligent, watchful, and serious about this business of prayer. Souls are being tossed and devoured by the enemy Satan. Rather start, end and make it a daily moment by moment practice: “Lord, in the morning you will hear me; in the morning I will present my case to you.”[Ps 5] Anna “worshiped with fasting and prayer night and day.” Paul: Pray without ceasing. [Th 5:17],
Beloved we must be armed and prepared to fight against this deadly d of distraction which seeks to disarm the believer and the posture of prayer and the attitude of loving service to others. No matter what time of day, what activity we are doing it should be bathed in prayer, love, and offering hospitality and service to others which the author of Hebrews also noted: Do not neglect hospitality, because through it some have entertained angels without knowing it. [Heb 13:2].
Have you spent time in prayer today? Are you being changed from the inside out? How can we pray for you?