Journal Entry ~ 09/23/17

1 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus,
2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.
3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.
5 An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.
6 It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.
7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. - 2 Timothy 2:1-7

While I have been finding great comfort in being strengthened by grace through His Word, through prayer, worship, teaching, and a community of believers, the beautiful gift of strength He gives us has a purpose. We are not simply meant to take the strength and pocket it for personal use. There is a second half of this verse - we are to use the strength given to us to teach others. Now, I will be the first to admit, when an overwhelming trial hits our lives, it can be all consuming. It takes work to get out of my own head and think about others. There are days when I just don’t want to hear about others trials, and I certainly don’t feel like strengthening others - my trial feels too big. I want to stay focused on me so I can hoard all the strength I find because I need it - my trial is too big to carry on my own. But God. He put the second half of that verse in there for a reason.  He knows us so well. We don’t get to just stay in the first part of the verse and continually receive the strength we need, we have to do something with it. 

So why do we need to be strengthened?  Because we have a job to do. We need to teach others. We are living, breathing carriers of the Word, and as disciples of Christ, we are to be bringing His Word to others. We are to be passing on what He is doing in our lives.  We are to be sharing the strength He has given us with others. That’s His plan for bringing His Kingdom to all of the world - it’s through us. When we hang on to all He has given us, failing to pass it on to others, we are not strengthened.  For our strength to continue to grow, we need to pass it on, we need to share it with others, we need to be shouting to the mountaintops how He is working in our lives. 

But it’s important to note that this verse isn’t talking about sharing our faith with unbelievers - though we should be living a life of testimony to the non-believers in our lives, grabbing every opportunity to share the Gospel that we can, this verse is talking specifically about teaching the faithful, those who can teach others. This is challenging those of us who are believers - who are you teaching right now?  If you’ve been a believer for any length of time, you should have created some sort of opportunity in your life to teach others - whether it’s small children at Awana or it’s leading a small group of women - you should be teaching others. It isn’t really talking about teaching our own children either - that’s a given. We are called to raise our children in the faith, and there are plenty of scriptural verses that tell us how to do that. This isn’t really referring to those quick moments you share a snippet of the weekend sermon with a co-worker or your sister either. This verse is calling us to be intentionally working on specific believers in our lives and growing them in the faith so that they will eventually be able to lead a group of believers themselves. The reality is if you’ve been a believer for any length of time and you’re not consistently teaching others about the grace of God, if you’re not intentionally leading and training other believers, you’re not honoring His command to you and you are forfeiting His strength. You are taking strength, but you are not giving it. Who are you teaching?

I realize that’s a hard-hitting truth for some of us - teaching is far outside of some people’s comfort zone. But when we step out in faith and trust the Spirit to lead our teaching, we are stepping out in obedience, so we will find all the strength we need. I know this to be true - while I am now comfortable in my role as teacher, I have not always been that way. When I began my role as teacher many years ago, I questioned my ability constantly, but over time, as I continually leaned and surrendered my teaching to Him, He strengthened my ability to teach. When we are obedient to His calling, we are strengthened with everything we need to complete that task. 

Some of you may be thinking that you don’t have the time to lead a group or to regularly be teaching or leading others - you just have too much on your plates. I can promise you that God would never create a schedule for you that does not allow time for you to carry out what He calls you to do. We create those busy schedules all the time for ourselves, we prioritize other things over Him because the world throws all sorts of responsibilities at us, convincing us every one of them are important. But those are not from Him. THIS is what He wants you to be doing - that’s why He wrote it down for you. 

I have been in teaching God’s Word to other believers for the past 20+ years in some capacity, and He has strengthen me in those roles greater than anywhere else in my life. It’s difficult to explain until you’ve stepped out as leader how He blesses your obedience to step up,  but it is beautifully overwhelming.  The first time He prompted me to start the blog about my walk through cancer, I was filled with anxiety about putting myself out there. I know how vulnerable I get in my journal entries - I just wasn’t sure I wanted the whole world to have access to the inner parts of my heart. But He didn’t let up, and because I listened and obeyed, He continues to strengthen me through this teaching. I have been so incredibly blessed by the community of believers touched by my blog. A day doesn’t go by without somebody reaching out to me and strengthening me with their words of encouragement of how God is working in their lives through my blog. His plan continues to blow me away. 

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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