July 3, 2013
II Timothy 2:15
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
I have been reading through the Saint Joseph Edition of the New American Bible, published by the Catholic Book Publishing Company. I read through different translations or paraphrases of the Bible once every six month – a discipline I have been practicing for years. No, I am not of the Catholic faith. I have been a Baptist for the last 45 years. But it is interesting and informative to read the seven apocryphal books accepted by Catholics in the canon of scripture, but not by Protestants. You will find some good history there as well as some excellent wisdom literature.
In Sirach, chapter 6, I read this concerning wisdom in verses 18 & 19 and 24 through 32:
My son, from your youth embrace discipline; thus you will find wisdom with
graying hair. As though plowing and sowing, draw close to her; then await
her bountiful crops….Listen , my son, and heed my advice; refuse not my
counsel. Put your feet into her fetters, and your neck under her yoke. Stoop
your shoulders and carry her and be not irked at her bonds. With all your
soul draw close to her; search her out, discover her; seek her and you will
find her. Then when you have her, do not let her go; thus will you afterward
find rest in her, and she will become your joy. Her fetters will be your throne
of majesty; her bonds, your purple cord. You will wear her as your robe of
glory, bear her as your splendid crown. My son, if you wish, you can be
taught; if you apply yourself, you will be shrewd. If you are willing to listen,
you will learn.
In other words, to become wise, submit to the discipline of whatever it takes to acquire wisdom! Do It Anyway! It is not necessarily easy to develop the disciplines that result in living a wise life, but it is well worth it!
In Proverbs 9:10 it is written: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” “Fear” or awesome respect of God “is the beginning of wisdom.” And “knowledge” produces “understanding.” What would you do to live your life with applicable knowledge and understanding? And what kind of a life do you think would result from such knowledge and understanding? Most people would say it would be worth it to produce such a life. But, tragically, far too many are not willing to pay the price to acquire knowledge and understanding – or to Do It Anyway!
In II Timothy 2:15, Paul writes this admonition to young Timothy who is under the apostle’s training to become a strong Christian who is also overseeing a church (or group of churches).
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need
to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
This is vital and basic, because the Bible addresses every situation, and gives advice on how to handle every problem, that life can throw at you! If you want to know how to live life to the fullest – with the best eternal results – then master the Word of God! And Do It Anyway!… no matter what the inconvenience, no matter what the price!
I mentioned this before in an earlier blog, and I lift it up again, not to glorify myself, but to provide an appropriate example. Almost 45 years ago I decided to read through the Bible once a year for every year of my life. But since I was already 23, I needed to make up 23 readings to reach the ‘once a year’ goal. So I planned out a schedule to read through the Bible once every six months – and I found that such a discipline only took me about half an hour a day to accomplish. Yes, it has been a decision that has caused me a bit of inconvenience from time to time – but I Do It Anyway! And I have gained an understanding of the Word that I would not otherwise have had! And I have also gained wisdom to live my life according to God’s direction – a life that is much fuller than if I had not followed that plan! Currently, I am reading through the Bible for the 93rd time!
In addition to the discipline of reading and studying the Word of God, I have found that other Christian disciplines have developed in my life also – regular worship and fellowship with others of like faith, regular times of prayer, consistent giving of time and resources for the furtherance of God’s kingdom, sharing the gospel with others, and so on. And the life I have experienced and am now living, I would not trade for anything. The discipline of Doing It Anyway! has yielded such rich dividends that the price paid seems like nothing compared to what is returned.
So Do It Anyway! The benefits you will harvest in your life will far outweigh the cost of the effort you give!