Virtual Reality | Day 23
Christian leaders love people enough to supplement telling the truth with showing them the truth and the way (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
We’ve said that devotion is not an action but an attitude of the heart that leads a person to act devoutly. The challenge of being devoted in such a hostile environment is simple: how do we not get burned and weary? What shapes a person’s heart to make endurance and following, these expressions of personal devotion, possible for us?
2 Timothy 3:14-15 helps us out here. In these verses Paul talks about the importance of continuing in what has been learned.
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
These verses allow us to catch a glimpse of an important ingredient of heart-shaping: consistent exposure. If devotion is not an action but an attitude of the heart, here we see that the heart is shaped through a message of truth and/or persons of influence who have consistently reinforced that which is truly important. The heart is shaped through consistent exposure to the truth as it’s lived out through those we know.
The importance of consistent exposure to what one believes to be true is obvious to parents. We know we must consistently expose our children to what is important. We know that the type of people we allow them to mix with will determine who they become. We follow through on it because we know their actions will form habits and it is these habits (conduct) that will determine their destiny.
Timothy was blessed. Unlike many children in our country, even in our city, he can draw on a rich childhood (cf. 1:5) of faith in Christ and the Holy Scriptures. He has been blessed with godly influence from childhood.
In 2 Timothy 1:5, Paul says:
I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.
Many children are less fortunate than that. The chief reasons Timothy has been inspired to devotedly follow Christ comes from three sources: his grandmother and his mother, who taught him in childhood, and Paul.
Common to each of these people was a commitment to consistently teach the Scriptures upon which Timothy must Himself now rely. There is no doubt that Timothy’s convictions about the truth of the Scriptures were strengthened by his close friendship with Paul and his childhood experiences.
How is the heart shaped to endure? The heart is shaped through:
A. Consistent exposure to the power of God in the Scriptures (read verses 16-17).
We are prepared for expressions of devotion as our hearts are shaped by the Scriptures.
B. A commitment to follow in the footsteps and learn from the Christ-followers God has placed in our lives (verse 15).
Timothy was blessed to have had a godly influence from childhood. Even though many today are not blessed that way there is no excuse for any of us not to have Paul’s or Barnabas’ to learn from. Who is your Paul? Who is your Timothy? Who is your Lois? Who is your Eunice?
C. The passing of time … (2 Timothy 1:5 and 3:15)
It takes time for habits to form. It takes time for content to change thoughts and trigger godly conduct. Its takes time to become fully-devoted followers of Christ…. We live in a world where things need to happen quickly. But the shaping of a heart takes time….
Tomorrow, I will summarize the antithesis to living a life devoted to the cause of Christ, namely, living for self.