SEEK GOD’S APPROVAL  (2 Timothy – 9)

READ: 2 Timothy 2:15

Good parents expect their children to do their best.  They know the strengths and weaknesses of each child, their abilities and limits.  If the child is trying his hardest then a good parent is satisfied.  The same is true of our heavenly Father with His children.  He knows our capabilities and difficulties.  He doesn’t compare us to others.  He doesn’t expect us to be perfect, He “knows we are dust” (Psalm 104:13), but He doesn’t want us to be careless about sin, either.  The parable of the talents teaches that God doesn’t compare us with others but to use the gifts and resources He gives us the best we can (Matthew 25:14-30).

Paul expects the same from Timothy, as seen in 2 Timothy 2:15.  “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” God is the only One whose approval we want and need.  We aren’t trying to please or impress others, although that is often a temptation for pastors.  It’s natural to want people to like us and think well of us.  But we can’t compromise the truth for popularity.  In fact, if we are faithfully serving Jesus there always will be some who oppose us.  Jesus Himself was not liked by many people.  He warns us in Luke 6:26: “Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you.” He also said in Matthew 5:11: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.” Being a pastor is not a popularity contest.  God is the only one whose opinion we are to care about.

The example Paul gives is of someone working for someone else.  He wants to please the one he is working for and do a job he is pleased with.  If their work is not acceptable, the worker will be embarrassed of the work done.  It doesn’t matter if everyone else thinks he has done a great job, if the one employing them doesn’t think so he will be ashamed.  I want to hear God say “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:23) and I’m sure you do as well.  That means we must seek to please Him in all we do, if others agree or not.

The second illustration Paul uses is of a tentmaker who must cut his material correctly so the seams match perfectly.  “Correctly handles” means “to cut a straight line.”  The word is also used of a builder laying blocks in a straight row and of a road maker constructing a straight road.  It can also refer to a farmer plowing a straight furrow in his field.  Paul is applying this same truth to a pastor who accurately and truthfully handles God’s Word.  We can’t take shortcuts in our study and sermon preparation.  Everything must be done thoroughly and carefully.  We can’t be in a hurry or look for shortcuts, for God will not approve our ministry if we are not true to His Word in all we do or say.

“The Word of truth” is our tool.  All workmen have tools.  Doctors, farmers, soldiers, all have tools of their trade.  The Bible is the tool a pastor uses to change lives and bring glory to God.  The better we know our tool the better we will be able to pastor for Him.

The Bible is called “the sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17).  This refers to a sharp, double-edged sword, which is a very effective weapon in the hands of a skilled swordsman.  But if a person doesn’t know how to use it, he can cut himself.  Pastors need to become skillful in the knowledge and use of the Bible.  It is our only offensive weapon, our only means of victory.  God expects us to be proficient in its use.  If we are, we will receive His approval and won’t have to be ashamed.  Are you skilled with your Bible?  Does He approve of your knowledge and use of His word?

PAUL’S ADVICE:  Know and use God’s Word accurately to receive His approval of your ministry, for only His approval matters.

Matthew 25:22-23  “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

Are you growing in your knowledge and use of God’s Word?

Are you living and ministering according to the Bible?


Christian Training Organization

(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)

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