May 28 - Word Alive!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

May 28 - Word Alive! - 2 Timothy 3:10-17

Diane says:
Paul contrasts his own example with the false teachers in the previous verses. And he makes this letter so personal by reminding Timothy how well the young man knew the older one. Timothy had seen the persecutions Paul faced down and he intimately knew Paul's work. Timothy also knew exactly who was responsible for Paul's life. The warning that Paul gives to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:11 is not one to be taken lightly. If we think for a minute that we deserve to have an easy life because we know Christ, Paul wants us to realize what a fallacy that is.

Timothy has two witnesses to the things that he has learned: personal testimony and Scripture. We have these same two witnesses in our lives. The words of God found in our Scriptures and the testimony of the lives that have impacted ours throughout our lifetime. That is what we can offer to others as well.

This chapter ends with Paul's affirmation of God's power of the all scripture and the usefulness that it has in equipping all of us to do that for which we are called ... every good work.

Rebecca says:
Sponges freak me out. They are kind of weird, especially those all natural, straight from the ocean types. Every time I hold one and wash a dish I think to myself " this use to be a living being and now it is scrubbing tuna casserole from my pan." That is just strange. How something once alive is now an ordinary household tool used to clean up cars, dishes, bodies etc.

The thing with a sponge is that in order to go from a living being to household chore tool all that needed to happen was a little drying out. Isn’t that weird? It’s strange to think that something once living and breathing can so easily be turned into an ordinary object just like that.

The same holds true for the scriptures. I think we forget that the Word of God is living and breathing. Those verses held between two flaps of leather are filled with life, they ebb and flow and take on new shapes, grow and reproduce and are strong, powerful and moving. But often the day to day of life turns them into nothing more than dead sea sponges, a household tool that takes up space and is only dragged out to clean up a mess.

In this verse it says that all scripture is God breathed. I was really struck by that, it woke me up to realize that the same breath that filled our nostrils in Genesis and brought us to life is the same breath that fills the words that we touch every day in this book. How amazing!

If we keep it in that context, continually viewing it as a living entity, it has power and force that can mold and shape our world. But if we take God out of the equation, remove those words from His hand and begin to hold them in our ownm then we do to them the same thing sponge divers do off the coast of the Mediterranean. We take it out of its element and slowly it dies and becomes ordinary and used for our own purposes.

God’s breath is never ending. It is strong, enduring and stands the test of time. It is the only true air that breathes life into anything and the only reason anything really exists - including the Word of God. Without His involvement it is just lifeless, black and white ink on a page. I wonder how often I forget to include God in my scripture study. How often do I make His word as ordinary as the daily news.

It’s easy when you handle it every day and when you reference it with all you write to grow accustomed to its magnificence. Easy for it to become ordinary and average and something that I take for granted. It’s easy to dry up the glory in its pages under the heat of the day in and day out. But this verse in Timothy reminds me that it’s a gift, a really beautiful living gift that we get to handle every day.

We are so blessed to hold it in our hands and read through its pages and let it breathe in our lives. God is alive, Christ walks the earth through this book, and His truth is still a viable energy. He graciously gave us this wonderful set of scriptures to keep His presence active and living in our life, but like a sponge we must continue to keep it in its element. We must keep it connected to its life source and not try to take it into our own hands and make it a part of our world because when we do it dries up and looses vitality. It becomes hard and rough and abrasive instead of tender, loving, and constantly evolving.

After the horrific forecast of attributes that are sure to invade our world from the earlier verses, Paul was so wise to remind Timothy that he holds in his hand a living, breathing work of God. Wise to remind him that regardless of how horrible things might seem, the Bible is God breathed and living and powerful. He reminds him to keep his focus on the Word that has grown with Timothy from infancy. It is a powerful weapon in our arsenal for facing the world today. And it truly gives us all we need to be thoroughly equipped for the tasks, callings and challenges that lie ahead.

There are two ways to handle the Word - proactively and reactively. Proactive handling means we keep it a living breathing sea sponge, attached to its life source, living and breathing day after day and we use it to arm ourselves and equip ourselves for the journey.

Reactively means that we take it out of the sea into our own hands and remove the breath that was once placed into it. We dry it up and make it our own instrument for our own uses to clean up the mess of our life when convenient.

I’m definitely trying to become part of the proactive pack and this passage in Timothy makes me rethink my views on the Word and what I use it for. I pray that for all of us, those scriptures find more uses in our lives than just cleaning up a few messes every now and again!