In 2 Timothy, the Apostle Paul writes to Timothy, “There will be carnal reasoning among believers, backsliding, laziness, self-centered living and self-seeking. But for you, Timothy, be different! Be bold as a lion; don’t be afraid. Be authentic and genuine. Be unselfish. Don’t follow the crowd. If need be, Timothy, stand alone. But for you, be faithful until the end. There is a crown waiting for you.” (2 Timothy 2:1; 3:10, 14; 4:5, paraphrased)
This call to live by godly character is the same message, we in this world of compromise and casual Christianity, need to hear today. That is why I bring Paul’s words to remembrance and say: My brothers and sisters, but for you, be different. It is only the one “who overcomes and does [His] will to the end” (Revelation 2:26) who will receive the reward.
Full-time Christian workers all around us may grow cold and their love for Christ may fade. Many will pursue money, honor from men, position and power, and will seek their own. But for you, stay on the narrow road. Walk alone if need be. Always remember there is a higher call.
Narrow Road Living
Some years ago, I heard of one brother who remembered this higher call and pursued the narrow road. By the grace of God, the ministry thrived through the faithful service of this one brother. When asked how this was happening, he replied, “I pray as much as I work and work as much as I pray.” This small statement gave a glimpse into the solid, godly character within this man.
It was not merely his actions that made me remember him or that made the difference in his ministry. Most anyone can discipline themselves to perform all the right actions. What matters is where these actions flow from.
And for this man, it was a heart that was committed to Jesus. Like St. Paul, he sought to be well-pleasing to God and run strong the race He had set before him on the narrow road.
It is this kind of life and character that makes the difference. If you were to ask this brother, “How much does your church pay you for working five hours and praying five more? How much do they pay you for being like your Master, who stayed up all night to pray?” He would surely reply, “What did you say? What do you mean, ‘How much do I get paid for praying during the night?’ ”
You see, this question has no meaning for him. His life is hidden in Christ, and he lives for Him alone. Not for recognition. Not for a salary. Not for personal gain.
He serves and lives by godly character, knowing that it was God who called him, and it is God alone whom he must please.
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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon