When I think about reaching out to people who are not believers, not members of a church, people who have no specific faith in God, I remember my college room-mate. He had been raised in a church and was part of a very strict family. As soon as he was old enough not to go to church, he stopped going. I believe he had been presented with the wrong image of God, the wrong examples of what it means to be a Christian.
In this letter to Timothy, Paul encourages him to live a life of agathosune, to be an example and leader to others. Verse 14 refers to what Paul talks about in 2 Timothy 2:11-13. What is Timothy to do with this information? What will nit-picking and fighting do? How should Timothy present himself?
I have the song “What if I Stumble,” by DC Talk, on my MP3 player and I listen to it often. “What if I stumble? What if I fall? What if I lose my step and I make fools of us all?”
The words express the fear so many of us may have. What if I am a poor example of agathosune? What if my good intentions drive people away rather than bring people nearer to God?
We can all probably name someone, or several someones, who have preached and preached with such arrogance and self-righteousness that they have pushed people away from God. We don’t want to be a person like that. But how do we avoid it?
Be like Timothy and remind people of who Jesus really is. He gives life. He is faithful. He gives love.
But also heed the advice not to argue or get caught up in “quarreling about words.” As is pointed out “it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.”
Instead we should do our best to present ourselves as one approved, one who lives a life of agathosune, one who is truly righteous and not simply acting righteous. We need to correctly handle the word of truth.
And how do we do learn to do that? Pray. Study. Pray.
DAILY CHALLENGE: Find a Bible passage that speaks to you of hope, salvation, and God’s love. Learn it; study it; consult the commentaries. Pray about it, and then be prepared to talk about it if the opportunity to witness ever arises.