Attributes of the Faithful

ENGLISH

Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.—2 Timothy 2:3-6

There are three striking images in this text. Each focuses on a different occupation, and from each, Paul derives an attribute he hopes Timothy will pursue.

The first image is of a soldier. For those who have served, you know there is nothing worse than a soldier in a unit that is persistently out of line. Nothing creates more chaos. Therefore, Paul draws attention to the importance of a soldier's focused obedience. How their focus is aimed at pleasing their commanding officer's orders.

The second image is of an athlete. For those of you who are athletes, you understand that there are those on a team who push the limits of every rule. And these players are exhausting. So Paul draws attention to how an athlete competes. This is because great athletes know how to both play by the established rules and win the prize.

The third image is of a farmer. And for those of you who farm, you know you cannot cheat hard work if you want productive results. In fact, there is no such thing as a lazy farmer—it's almost oxymoronic. Therefore Paul draws attention to the continuous effort a farmer gives in preparation for every coming season.

Paul clarifies these images so that Timothy will make the connection between his role as a disciple and how it's comparable to the attributes of a great soldier, athlete, and farmer. He hopes he will pursue three occupational attributes—focused obedience, competing rightly, and give continuous effort for the kingdom.

So now we must ask ourselves today—to which attribute do you need to give attention? Focused obedience? Competing rightly? Giving continuous effort? Today choose one, develop it, and as Paul said, "share in the suffering" for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

ASK THIS: Which attribute do you need to pursue? (Share it in the comments below)

DO THIS: Pursue it by the grace of God and for the gospel.

PRAY THIS: God, align my heart and action with yours.

PLAY THIS: Chelsea Moon. Trust and Obey.

SPANISH
FRENCH
AFRIKAANS
DUTCH
CHINESE

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23 thoughts on “Attributes of the Faithful

  1. Dennis says:

    Focused obedience for sure! I’ve struggled in the past with being selfish and I mean selfish in sinful ways. My wife has been a stalwart in helping me break this cycle but I feel a need to do something now to make a difference. I’m retired and not sure which of these groups I would fit in so if someone could give me some help I’d appreciate it.

  2. Cory B says:

    I think it’s easy to say all 3 because we are men and want the quickest fix. In reality, when something is as broke as I feel at times, that just means I’ll simply glaze over 3 things and do them half a$$ at best. But the list is done then, right? Nope, just waiting to rear it’s ugly head until a later date.

    Today and this week I’m going to be focused on continuous effort. Not giving up when things get tough or what I usually do, pat myself on the back when things are good. Then before I know it… I’m not praying as much, not thanking God as much, angry easier. Then I have the nerve to ask God what went wrong. Not today!

  3. Gregory Kuhn says:

    Focused obedience for certain. I also like that all three occupations also require incredible current work, resulting in s future reward.

  4. Eddie Ackerman says:

    I need to give continuous effort to ensure I see things through to the end. My lazy streak has been built up for years and I need His help to break it, or I KNOW I will just fall back into my old, lazy, unproductive routines.

  5. John Krumm says:

    Today the circle of life has me lacking in continuous effort. Thank you Lord Jesus that You gave it all to fill my lacking heart.

  6. Jeff says:

    That’s a tough one.
    1. Obedience
    2. Staying the course
    Thanks be to God for being the best example to follow

  7. Ryan says:

    Focused obedience is where I struggle. I’m in a valley right now, so nowhere to turn but God and being obedient. The test for me is always when I head to the mountain top, may my obedience stay strong. Be the soldier.

  8. Tom MacLeod says:

    In this day there is a split belief in what to believe. As our times change some say we have to follow all the rules even if they go against our belief I have been told we need to submit to all government rules as long as they don’t tell us to stop praying or believing in Christ. Should we not stand against the destruction of life liberties and pursuit of happiness

    2
  9. Mark says:

    I need to make sure I stay focused on God’s obedience than getting caught up in all the political division.

  10. David L. Trima says:

    Being part of the Leadership Team at church, I NEED to be all 3. Somedays are harder than others, BUT I have to keep pursuing to be all 3.

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