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Run to Win

Read This Week: 2 Timothy 2

Anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this. – 2 Timothy 2

The 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea was the first time I realized being a great athlete didn’t make you a great person. Up until that point, like any kid that loves sports, I thought to be a star athlete meant you had to be a star individual.

That all changed after I found out that Ben Johnson, the fastest man on the planet who just broke the world record in the 100 meters in one of the most spectacular moments in Olympic history, was, in fact, a cheater. Someone who had been taking steroids and breaking the rules of the sport to gain an advantage and win. He was stripped of his title days later and suffered humiliation and a greater loss than any victory he experienced on the track.

An athlete who breaks the rules of competition doesn’t win. Even if he or she is the best and devotes years to training. If they don’t follow the guidelines of the game, they lose. The same is true for us in society. We have guidelines, principles, and laws to keep us safe, vital and functioning in a healthy way. If the last couple of years have taught us anything its that it doesn’t matter how rich or talented or powerful you are if you don’t follow the rules, you lose big time.

God gave us his truth and guidelines so we can be successful and ultimately leave a legacy of winning. His rules are not there to kill our fun, hinder our enjoyment or make us miserable. They are for our ultimate good and teach us how to be moral, love, serve, seek justice, apply mercy and thrive in every area.

If we follow God’s rules of competition, we will make better decisions, resist the temptation that can derail our whole world, work with truer diligence, treat our partner with deeper love and lead with greater integrity. God’s truth can even change our outlook and attitude from one of negativity and despair to hopeful joy.

May we go with God, the creator of the universe who always knows what’s best and has laid out perfect guidelines for us to win at life.

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20 Comments

  1. Ken Allison on February 18, 2019 at 11:09 pm

    God is talking to us about being strong in Him, that inward strength that comes from Him, His peace, His blessings in your life. As a good soldier, knowing who you serve, competing as an athlete and playing by the rules, as a farmer, working hard and partaking of the fruits of your labor with God. These are all not only admirable, but are some of the keys to truly winning at life, victorious, fulfilled and full of God’s peace. God is saying to me, “Be strong and courageous, live a life of significance and success with Me.”

    • reachchurch on February 19, 2019 at 5:03 pm

      Ken, that is such a needed encouragement for people every day. We need strength and courage to face our struggles, trials and even the mundane of life sometimes. But as you reminded, God is with us and promises to be there for us. Knowing this truth, we can win and approach life with confidence as good soldiers, disciplined athletes, and diligent farmers.

  2. Ken Allison on February 20, 2019 at 4:48 pm

    Last night in our meeting, God drew my attention to 2 Timothy 2:25-26 and He spoke with me about the Truth. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life and you can gently instruct others, encourage and mentor them to trust in the Lord with their lives, escape from the worlds traps and know God, His ways and His perfect plans for them

    My hope and prayer is that God’s lost sheep will find their way home and you can be a big part of that journey. That your life would be empowered by God, knowing Him and His ways.

  3. Sam Centers on February 20, 2019 at 9:12 pm

    As I have been reading in 2 Timothy 2, God has drawn my attention to 2:2-4, “No soldier when in service gets entangled in the enterprises of civilian life; his aim is to satisfy and please the one who enlisted him.”
    And God is saying to me that you are my soldier and I have given you my words and lessons so do not get entangled in petty skirmishes on your way to spread my word with others. But know that I have enlisted you for a greater purpose and if you don’t get wrapped up in all the negative things going on around, then you will better serve the one who enlisted you.

    • reachchurch on February 21, 2019 at 10:16 pm

      That’s a great point, Sam. Sometimes focus is a big part of success in living the Christian life. I once heard someone say that the enemy (sticking with the military theme) “doesn’t have to destroy us, he just has to distract us.” If he distracts us long enough then he can go about destroying us. We have to stay focused on God, his truth and his purposes for our lives. Good word out of 2 Timothy 2.

  4. Jeri Centers on February 20, 2019 at 10:32 pm

    As I have been reading in 2 Timothy 2, God drew my attention to verse 21. God has been saying to me to come to Him and allow the worldliness to be burned off and leave a vessel of honor. Gold and silver become purer as the heat is applied to them but wood simply burns up as heat is applied. What that means to me is that the trials (heat) remove the worldliness. This is called being tried in the fire that can purify and make us holy. When God gets through refining us, we are set aside for his purpose and we can do good work that He has for us to do in the way that He would have us do it.

    • reachchurch on February 21, 2019 at 10:31 pm

      Refinement is a beautiful but difficult word picture. As you said, it may hurt and be difficult while going through it, but the outcome that God has is for our good and for His glory. He takes us through the fire so we can know him more.

  5. Ken Allison on February 20, 2019 at 10:53 pm

    Today, at our men’s lunch meeting, we read 2 Timothy 2 and verse 2 stood out to me, where God talks about being qualified to teach others. This is for all Christians, that we get equipped to do good work with God, reaching out and training others. How are you supposed to learn all of the benefits of being a son or daughter of God, if you aren’t schooled by others in the family of God. Sure, we learn from God directly, by studying the bible, experiential knowledge as you venture in your life with God. Really, leaning on each other, and training one another in the ways of the Lord is paramount for success in life as a Christian. Thank you, God, for my mentors, the pastors, mothers and fathers in the church, who cared enough about me, to invest their time to disciple me, and to share God’s love, wisdom, guidance and direction.

    • Sam Centers on February 22, 2019 at 9:45 pm

      Very true pastor. We must live the lessons. Before we can share and teach others

  6. Alma Schmidt on February 20, 2019 at 11:49 pm

    This week in 2 Timothy 2 verse 9, God gave me a song:

    When I live life powerless
    Feeling like I’m suffering and being dragged down
    Walking with chains feeling like I’m in prison
    But then I see a bright light and it’s Jesus
    Jesus is breaking my chains
    Breaking my chains and setting me free
    Setting me free.

    Thank you, Jesus!

    • reachchurch on February 21, 2019 at 10:36 pm

      Alma, I love the words of your song about the power of Jesus breaking chains and setting us free from the things that so easily hold us down and imprison us in this life. We are free in Him and it reminded me of the lyrics to another song:

      There is power in the name of Jesus
      There is power in the name of Jesus
      To break every chain, break every chain, break every chain
      To break every chain, break every chain, break every chain

      Thank you, Jesus indeed!

  7. Trina Barnhardt on February 21, 2019 at 1:27 am

    Today at Ladies At Lunch, 2 Timothy Chapter 2 was discussed. God placed upon my heart the simplicity of faith the size of a mustard seed that was planted in my childhood church. Verse 15 states to “study and be eager to please God as a workman or minister, with no cause to be ashamed, correctly and accurately with rightful handling and skillful teaching the Word of Truth.” I was also led to 2 Timothy 3:15 earlier today, which discusses “from your childhood you have had a knowledge of and been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to instruct you and give you the understanding for salvation which comes through faith in Christ Jesus.”

    Being raised in the church as a child, I received the planting of the scriptures which provided the seed to help me as I grew as God’s child. Though going through much of my adult life knowing the truth of God’s word, I did not water the seed planted in childhood to accurately, correctly and skillfully minister God’s word as instructed. Even being baptized 2 times, the truth was covered by worldly organizations that didn’t provide specific instructions on believing in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Instead, the guidelines were subject to my own interpretation of God.

    Timothy’s letter specifically instructs God’s children to read, study and understand that through salvation which comes through faith in Christ Jesus, leaning not upon our own rules, steps or beliefs, only then can His children handle and skillfully teach, minister, and share the Word of Truth. The truth shall set you free! Without question, moving to a new town, meeting people that love God, Jesus and speak the truth from the Word by the Holy Spirit, has helped me put down roots and begin to finally grow! Today I felt freed from the bonds of heavy burdens as I begin another chapter in my life. Thank you, God, for the eye-opening discernment!

    • reachchurch on February 22, 2019 at 5:15 pm

      I love your story Trina about your upbringing and how the word was planted in you years ago. That’s so important and helpful to sustain us throughout our lives even when we go through seasons where we stray or get connected to the wrong people. It’s exciting to hear how you are connected to the right people now and feel like you are growing in your faith. Keep going!

    • Ken A. on February 23, 2019 at 5:52 pm

      So proud of you Trina. God is doing great things in your life and we are so honored to be on the journey with you.

  8. Heidi on February 22, 2019 at 1:09 pm

    At ladies’ lunch, in 2 Timothy chapter 2, God shared with us that we are always in training, we’re in God’s school as His children. We’re always learning to be better servants, helpers, and ministers in the family of God. Paul is training Timothy and everyone who reads the bible to do your best for God; be eager to please Him through studying, instruction, and becoming skilled at doing God’s work. As you are learning and growing in the Lord, you can teach and help others to grow and share the Word.

    In The Message in 2 Timothy 2:20-21 it says, “In a well-furnished kitchen there are not only crystal goblets and silver platters, but waste cans and compost buckets—some containers used to serve fine meals, others to take out the garbage. Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing.” What this means to me is to be a good container, a servant that fills yourself every day with the Bible and continue to hear God’s voice so you can let Him flow through you with His love and teachings as you encourage others to do the same.

    • reachchurch on February 22, 2019 at 6:02 pm

      That is a great word picture of being “containers” and making sure we fill ourselves with the right things every day. The old adage of garbage in, garbage out is so true in life as what we put into our minds and lives always determines what flows out of it. Thank you for this reminder to guard what we fill ourselves with, Heidi.

  9. Ken A. on February 22, 2019 at 4:28 pm

    Romans 8:28 says, “And we know with great confidence that God who is deeply concerned about us causes all things to work together as a plan for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.” It’s so good to know that God has your back, that He works all things together for your good if you love Him and follow His directions.

  10. Sam Centers on February 22, 2019 at 9:52 pm

    Today, as my wife Jeri and I were running our weekly errands, I noticed all the flooding and rain. As I thought about that, God drew my attention to the trees and flowers. He was saying to me that although it looks wet and nasty to you, I also created the water to give life to the flowers and trees. And just like that, I flow through you to others as the river flows to the flowers and trees.

  11. Sam Centers on February 25, 2019 at 11:53 pm

    On Sunday as we were reading 2 Timothy 2, God drew me to 2:25 and he was saying to me that as I go through life, I will encounter people that will not agree with me in my faith. I must not cast them aside but instead, be graceful and understanding with them. Slowly and patiently show them the truth and as they see and feel the light, rejoice in it with them. Sometimes as Christians, we don’t understand why others don’t believe as we do but we are not supposed to just throw our beliefs at them and expect them to accept it. We must be good teachers in his way and slowly bring them to God and his ways.

    • reachchurch on February 26, 2019 at 3:37 pm

      Sam, this is a needed encouragement for us all as we seek to tell people about Jesus and his gospel. We can’t allow our passion for them to know God to override our compassion and the way we speak to and treat them. At the end of the day, it is about them discovering the real Jesus and being changed by his love, not winning an argument.

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