New routines, new seasons, new challenges. A dear friend’s words to her child reach out from the years to encourage me now–to keep focused on the goal.
5 “If racing against mere men makes you tired,
how will you race against horses?
If you stumble and fall on open ground,
what will you do in the thickets near the Jordan? (Jeremiah 12:5, NLT)
Remember the why.
3 Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. 5 And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. 6 And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor. 7 Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you understand all these things (2 Timothy 2:3-7, NLT).
Focus. Obedience. (Diligence, reward.)
15 Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth. 16 Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior. 17 This kind of talk spreads like cancer, as in the case of Hymenaeus and Philetus … 19 But God’s truth stands firm like a foundation stone with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,”[b] and “All who belong to the Lord must turn away from evil.”[c] (2 Timothy 2:15-17, 19, NLT)
I think long on purpose and Kingdom focus. Sideline skirmishes try to take my focus off the goal, words maim and discourage, and some obstacles seem like impenetrable blocks.
He reinforces, “Don’t give up.” Oh, if I stumble on the open ground, how will I ever traverse the thicket? He has spoken purpose in my heart and over my life.
21 If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work (2 Timothy 2:21, NLT).
He points the way, in the distraction and in the storm.
Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts. 23 Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. 26 Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants (2 Timothy 2: 22b-26, NLT).
Lord, I lean on you for understanding. You are loving and wise and generous. You gently turn my focus and remind me: don’t forget the why.