Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth.' -- 2 Tim.2:15
Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness; that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.' -- 2 Tim.3:16, 17
A workman that needeth not to be ashamed is one who is not afraid to have the master come and inspect his work. In hearty devotion to it, in thoroughness and skill, he presents himself approved to him who employs him. God's workers are to give diligence to present themselves approved to Him; to have their work worthy of Him unto all well-pleasing. They are to be as a workman that needeth not to be ashamed. A workman is one who knows his work, who gives himself wholly to it, who is known as a working man, who takes delight in doing his work well. Such every Christian minister, every Christian worker, is to be -- a workman that makes a study of it to invite and expect the Master's approval.
Handling aright the word of truth.' The word is a seed, a fire, a hammer, a sword, is bread, is light. Workmen in any of these spheres can be our example. In work for God everything depends upon handling the word aright. Therefore it is that, in the second text quoted above, the personal subjection to the word, and the experience of its power, is spoken of as the one means of our being completely furnished to every good work. God's workers must know that the Scripture is inspired of God, and has the life and life-giving power of God in it. Inspired is Spirit-breathed -- the life in a seed, God's Holy Spirit is in the word. The Spirit in the word and the Spirit in our heart is One. As by the power of the Spirit within us we take the Spirit-filled word we become spiritual men. This word is given for teaching, the revelation of the thoughts of God; for reproof, the discovery of our sins and mistakes; for correction, the removal of what is defective to be replaced by what is right and good; for instruction which is in righteousness, the communication of all the knowledge needed to walk before God in His ways. As one yields himself wholly and heartily to all this, and the true Spirit-filled word gets mastery of his whole being, he becomes a man of God, complete and furnished completely to every good work. He becomes a workman approved of God, who needs not to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of God. And so the man of God has the double mark -- his own life wholly moulded by the Spirit-breathed word -- and his whole work directed by his rightly handling that word.
That the man of God may be complete, thoroughly furnished unto every good work.' In our previous meditation we learnt bow in the cleansing and sanctification of the personal life the worker becomes a vessel meet for the Masters use, prepared unto every good work. Here we learn the same lesson -- it is the man of God who allows God's word to do its work of reproving and correcting and instructing in his own life who will be complete, completely furnished unto every good work. Complete equipment and readiness for every good work -- that is what every worker for God must aim at.
If any worker, conscious of how defective his preparation is, ask how this complete furnishing for every good work is to be attained, the analogy of an earthly workman, who needs not be ashamed, suggests the answer. He would tell us that he owes his success, first of all, to devotion to his work. He gave it his close attention. He left other things to concentrate his efforts on mastering one thing. He made it a life-study to do his work perfectly. They who would do Christ's work as a second thing, not as the first, and who are not willing to sacrifice all for it, will never be complete or completely furnished to every good work.
The second thing he will speak of will be patient training and exercise. Proficiency only comes through painstaking effort. You may feel as if you know not how or what to work aright. Fear not -- all learning begins with ignorance and mistakes. Be of good courage. He who has endowed human nature with the wonderful power that has filled the world with such skilled and cunning workmen, will He not much more give His children the grace they need to be His fellow-workers? Let the necessity that is laid upon you -- the necessity that you should glorify God, that you should bless the world, that you should through work ennoble and perfect your life and blessedness, urge you to give immediate and continual diligence to be a workman completely furnished unto every good work.
It is only in doing we learn to do aright. Begin working under Christ's training; He will perfect His work in you, and so fit you for your work for him.
1. The work God is doing, and seeking to have done in the world, is to win it back to Himself.
2. In this work every believer is expected to take part.
3. God wants us to be skilled workmen, who give our whole heart to His work, and delight in it.
4. God does His work by working in us, inspiring and strengthening us to do His work.
5. What God asks is a heart and life devoted to Him in surrender and faith.
6. As God's work is all love, love is the power that works in us, inspiring our efforts and conquering its object.