"The Progression of Faith" - Saturday, August 20th

"The Progression of Faith" - Saturday, August 20th

 For this reason, I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you. 2 Timothy 1:12-14

Today's thoughts from today's verses:

It is very difficult for us to see ourselves as we really are. This is particularly true when it comes to how we are doing at being a “person of faith.” How do you think it would affect you right now at this very moment if you found out that tomorrow you were going to be put in prison for an undetermined period of time because of your “faith” in Jesus Christ? Really, how would you be affected by the prospect of being uprooted from everything your world consists of today and being transplanted tomorrow into everything the world of a prison would consist of? What would your “faith” look like tomorrow as you sat in prison after the uprooting and transplanting took place? Don’t you think your reactions to the anticipation of prison and the actuality of prison would be pretty good indicators of how you are doing at being a “person of faith?” Talk about a “faith” reality check.

Today’s Scripture begins with these words, “I also suffer these things.” What is it the Apostle Paul is referring to? In 2 Timothy 2:9 the Apostle Paul says, “I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal.” Paul is in prison for his “faith” and he is clear that being in prison is most certainly a hardship he is suffering. However, in regard to where the Apostle Paul is as a “person of faith,” prison shows him to be in good shape. Notice in our passage above what the Apostle Paul says next about being in prison: “I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.”

Let’s add to this the full statement in 2 Timothy 2 regarding the Apostle Paul’s imprisonment: “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel, for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned. For this reason, I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory.” These two statements from the Apostle Paul regarding his being in prison, portray the Apostle Paul as an amazing example of what a “person of faith” truly looks like. 1 Timothy is the first of two letters the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy. Paul is Timothy’s mentor. Writing about his imprisonment is a part of how the Apostle Paul encourages Timothy to go forward in following his example so that he experiences the same “progression of faith” he has.

We see this in today’s Scripture, where the Apostle turns from talking about prison to talking directly to Timothy with these words, “Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.” We need to follow the example of the Apostle Paul as well, so that we too can go forward in a genuine “progression of faith.” Have you experienced a genuine “progression of faith” since you began your journey of faith. Would being imprisoned like the Apostle Paul reveal that you were in good shape as a “person of faith?” Go back over the Scriptures we looked at today from 1 Timothy 1 & 2 and write down the portions you particularly connect with. Meditate on them and count on God to use them to establish you more fully as a “person of faith” who will go forward in a genuine “progression of faith” until the very end.

Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

Lord, you are the one in whom I have believed and I am convinced you are able guard what I have entrusted to you until that very end. Help me to be willing to endure all things for the sake of those who still need to obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus. I want to be a person of faith who truly progresses to this point so that if I were uprooted from the world I know to the world of prison, my “faith” would be found to be in good shape. Amen!

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