1 & 2 Timothy and Titus: Day 12

An Approved Worker

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Today's Text: 2 Timothy 2:14-26, Galatians 5:22-25, 1 Peter 3:14-16

Scripture Reading: 2 Timothy 2:14-26, Galatians 5:22-25, 1 Peter 3:14-16

Words have the power to heal or destroy. “Sharper than a knife,” we say. When a simple turn of phrase has cut you, you know what I’m talking about.

I’m not prone to physical violence. If anything, I avoid it at all costs. But if I’m truthful, which is the whole point here, I can’t begin to count the times I’ve wounded another with careless syllables, intentionally and unintentionally. I imagine I’m not alone in this.

When Paul urges Timothy in his second letter to warn believers to “avoid irreverent and empty speech” (2 Timothy 2:16) he is talking about more than petty gossip. This letter, written shortly before Paul’s death, focuses on the importance of teaching God’s inspired Word correctly. If all words hold incredible life-giving and death-bringing power, imagine how the divine Word of God can alter a life. Sadly, Christians have been known to twist and abuse the Word of God far too often. This was a problem Paul addressed around AD 67, and it’s a problem that still plagues our communities today.

I’m sure we can all call to mind a person in our day and age we might consider a heretic or false teacher. While it’s natural to want to defend the faith, and guard the hearts and minds of others, Paul’s teaching directs us to check our own mouths first.

Paul cautions Christians not to fight about words or get caught up in quarrels over small matters of interpretation. Now, I’ve known many people who enjoy arguing about theology. While there can be productive debate among believers and instances when we must call out false teachings, often these squabbles turn into a hypocritical and discouraging witness.

The trouble comes when we start preaching about things we don’t understand, or building walls around beliefs that Christ never promoted. Traveling down that road, we can become a hindrance to the faith of others. As Paul put it, you can actually lead to the “ruin of those who listen” (v. 14). Yikes! Now that is something I definitely don’t want to be guilty of!

As women in the Word, God will hold us accountable for our stewardship of this precious gift of faith. It’s a great responsibility to wield the most potent Word in all of humankind; as the Gospel of Luke says, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be required” (12:48).

When we stand before our Lord, we will want to stand “as one approved, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). In order to do that, we must be careful how we speak about holy things. We need not be afraid to share our faith, but we should do so “with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience” (1 Peter 3:16).

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Kaitie Stoddard is a professional counselor who recently relocated from Chicago to Colorado with her husband. She has her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and is passionate about helping couples and families find healing in their relationships. On any given weekend you’re likely to find Kaitie snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains, checking out new restaurants with friends, or catching up on her favorite Netflix and podcast series.

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  • Betsy Gibson

    He is very adamant in his beliefs I just pray that someday we can both be like minded in this and pursue Jesus together.

  • Betsy Gibson

    My husband and I got into a discussion the other night about Big Bang theory. and the fact that the Bible is the living, breathing word of God. He thinks the Bible is mainly stories made up by men and not inspired by God. He claims to be a believer but his words and actions do not line up. This has been very difficult for me because I want to be a light to Him but

  • Melanie

    I’m in a season where I’m having a difficult time moving past some very hurtful words said against my family. Trying to press into God and praying for Him to lift my eyes, heart, and mind. it’s so hard to get past for some reason.

    • She Reads Truth

      We’re praying for you during this time Melanie -for encouragement and comfort. We’re grateful for you! -Margot, The SRT Team

    • Sarah S

      Praying for you to truly forgive and brush that dirt off your shoulder! I tend to be a grudge holder and know how hard it is to let something hurtful go. Remember “I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me”.

  • Sherry Sparks

    I really needed this!

  • Jamie Oleka

    Lord I pray that through my actions and character that I can be an example to my students and coworkers as your disciple. I will speak encouragement and life to my students.

  • Monica Davis

    Avoid positions and “careless syllables”

  • Kathy Valentine

    Dear Sisters, I am asking for prayer as I must confront a co-worker about our strained relationship. This is the fourth time I have tried to work things out with this person and meet resistance every time. This person is able to talk circles around me and I can easily not know what to say or say the wrong thing when flustered. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will help me to speak the right words of truth with love, gentleness, kindness, and clarity, and that I will be an active listener. Also that this co-worker will soften her heart toward me. Thank you so much.

    • Susan

      Praying for you! I know how this is when met in conversation with someone who knows what to say before I even have a thought formed and then flusters even the thought that was forming… more frustration, and all we are trying to do is repair not destroy. Is seems at these times I throw love and gentleness out the window and the destructive cycle keeps going. I pray for both of us as I too have a co-worker/boss. I pray that these two individuals soften their hearts toward us, that God allow His Spirit to flow through the situation in a mighty way and healing and restoration take place. May peace meet you in your place this weekend.

    • Katie Morrison

      Praying that God will give you the words to speak the truth in love. I have been through this recently and during the conversation, I tried to follow what the other person said, point out the false comments they made by redirecting it with the truth of the situation, and I found habits and patterns in how they talked. I tried to stay one step ahead of them—not to “bring them down” but to help stay on track mentally with their strategy of talking in circles. Sometimes, confronting a “fool” who loves quarreling is difficult. Standing up for yourself sets a precedent for yourself. Ultimately what I learned is, if by our actions and words we show Christ, our character speaks for us and others see the person we are. When someone mistreats us, it makes them look bad. I’m sorry you are going through this and support you in speaking up!

    • Denise Powers Fabian

      Kathy : I am holding you up in prayer today. I work in a very toxic environment at work but the work I do is a privilege and honor to help families and their children. But I know God uses the difficulties among my coworkers to look at myself and cling more to my Savior. I know that of which you speak and will pray for you.

  • Katelyn

    Hello everyone! Will you please keep my cousin in your prayers? She was recently diagnosed with a very rare autoimmune disease and isn’t responding well to treatment. Please pray that her throat will be cleared and that she’ll be able to breathe normally, her organs will heal and continue to work well, and that the antiautobodies will stop attacking her body’s systems. And that she’ll heal from arthritis so she can dance without pain. She’s 18 and will have to juggle college and doctors appointments next year. Thanks!

    • truthseeker

      Praying for your cousin. Please keep us updated as to her condition. Praying for you as well.

  • Brittany

    Wow! This is what I needed to hear. My sister and I argue alot, and I’m having trouble trying to stop. But wow this will help!

  • Lindsey Dent

    Father, please help me be more aware and in tune with Your Spirit inside me so that others may know You. Our behavior matters in a person’s journey with the Lord. Guard my mouth and help me represent You well when I speak.

  • Susan Flores

    Y E S! Words are so powerful, and I’m glad SRT is a space that acknowledges and promotes this. Loved this piece.

  • Lizzieb85

    19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, bearing this inscription: The Lord knows those who are his, and let everyone who calls on the name of the Lord turn away from wickedness.

    I really appreciated this verse today. Right after saying that there are 2 men who are teaching false things & ruining the faith of some, Paul confirms that our faith cannot be taken away. A true believer in Christ as their savior from sin, is always God’s child, regardless of what false teachings they might follow/believe after that. Hymenaeus & Philetus were ruining a Believer’s faith in that they were muddling truth & perhaps how to live, but they were NOT muddling the person’s salvation. However, as the devotion gets into, if we teach false things, we can ruin a person’s salvation if they have not yet put their trust in Christ’s salvation.

    So while Paul warns Timothy (& us) to take what we teach seriously, there is comfort in that God knows those who are His. And NO ONE can take that away. We might get distracted by false teaching, but our salvation is not in jeopardy.

  • Janet Caldwell

    Loved this today especially about words and the encouragement or abuse that can occur. I am currently reading a book by Jeff Vanvonderen. He coined the term spiritual abuse and the book is basically how to break free from trying to measure up. He talks a lot about what I would call legalism and misuse of Gods word in the church and how many people suffer from being under a heavy yoke of performance and not faith. How we are shamed into being who we think God wants us to be. The book is tired of trying to measure up. Really good for those who struggle with false teaching even from well meaning people

  • So encouraged by reading this today. I attend a church where God’s Word is said to be upheld and revered but it’s constantly being twisted to support personal opinions. I’ve been an angry opposer to what’s being taught as truth. I will remember that my words need to be gracious and kind and check my words. I want to avoid irreverent and empty words. God help me!

  • Mayzie Lawrence

    This hit close to home today!! In a surface and deep manner. Surface wise there’s been so much gossip at work and it’s hard to get caught up in and hurt by but this is a reminder it’s not what matters. Have a great day ❤️

  • Kailee BouldinTidball

    Just wanted to say thank you to all who prayed for me yesterday. You prayers, encouragement and reminders that I am not alone was balm to my soul as I read them yesterday. So grateful for everyone’s words and love.

    • Jamie Butler

      ♥️♥️♥️

    • Jane Andrews

      Kailee, you have been in my prayers since your post yesterday. Know that you are not alone and hold tight to Gods hand. ❤️

    • Natasha Reyes

      Hi Kailee, we hold you in our hearts and continue to pray for you and your family!

    • Katie Morrison

      You are not alone! I read 21 Days to Beat Depression on the Bible App—amazing! Carol McLeod wrote it. And also Dr. Caroline Leaf helps with this struggle in the mind. These resources helped me. Her book Switch on Your Brain is great. There is also a website, 21daybraindetox.com love to you Sister!

  • Kelly Chataine

    Since January, I have been studying, reflecting on, praying about, and trying to apply what God’s Word says about our tongues and words. I am so thankful to serve a thorough and detailed God.
    Also, if the Spirit of God lives in me, all believers, then the fruit of the Spirit is also in me, all believers. I have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control within me. I need only to listen to the Spirit’s whispers and put into action what is within me. WOW! Praise God!

  • I’m still stuck on ‘who taught you to love like that’? It keeps resonating in my mind.
    My hope and prayer is that I may love others like that. This world needs a whole lot of loving on and I want to be a lover, not an arguer. We have enough of that.

    There is a time and place to discuss theology and I think it is important, but I believe that most people won’t hear you if they don’t feel loved.

    May the love of God flow through us as we start this new day.

    • Kim

      I had the same connection to those words and have prayed over my family with them. They are powerful and the legacy I hope to leave behind.

    • Pam

      It’s a great concept to be stuck on! In John 15:1-17 Jesus challenges us to love like He loves which is by giving ourselves to others- I believe that means we should give our time, possessions, money, efforts, and gifts everyday so other people experience that love. Then we show ourselves to be His disciples and have answered prayer and BEAR FRUIT. That concept has changed my life as I am challenged to love people sacrificially everyday.

  • “Remind them…not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers…”
    I had to smile at this verse because I’ve experienced the effect of “ruining the hearers”. Growing up, my siblings and I would get into arguments about very nit-picky things, quarreling over words, and i am certain it did no one any good and ruined those of us arguing as well as whoever was just listening…but family patterns are hard to break! As adults we don’t do that anymore with others, but we can still get pulled into it with each other.

    It makes sense that Paul is writing this, if you think of the church as a family, and how often, in a family, we have dysfunctional communication. In remembering that Christ is the head of this family, let us draw near to him with confidence, and love others boldly.

  • Jessica McCreary

    Thanks for the recommendations!! I will look into them! Also, this is a great reminder of our responsibility while we are here.

  • Penny McAuley

    As Paul was in his final days, what wisdom he left us in these letters to Timothy. Verse 2 Timothy 2:24 resonates with me this morning as it is so easy to be pulled into dissent. As Christians we have a tremendous responsibility to lead the lost to Christ. For those that have not seen the recent movie Paul The Apostle, I highly recommend. It shows the terrible time the followers of Christ had to deal with during this time period. How fortunate we are to be able to share our faith.

  • Churchmouse

    I admire those who say “I don’t know.” There is such wonderful honesty in those three words, especially when reading the more challenging verses of Scripture. I can’t possibly explain and understand the mysteries of God. I am content to understand and apply what is clear. That is challenge enough!

  • So good! Checkout Organic Outreach by Kevin Harney.

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