1 & 2 Timothy and Titus: Day 15

Struggles in the Christian Life

by

Today's Text: 2 Timothy 3:1-17, Exodus 7:8-13, John 15:18-21

Scripture Reading: 2 Timothy 3:1-17, Exodus 7:8-13, John 15:18-21

Trials are the anvil on which our faith is formed, and yet it is within those trials that we need more faith. Often times, the thing we need most desperately in the midst of trial is the thing still yet unformed in some ways. How, then, is the Christian to prepare for difficulties? How do we prepare for the moments when “evil people and imposters go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13)? I know in those moments I’m most desperate for the lifeboat of a proven faith and not a thing that feels feeble, unfinished, or in process. I want bedrock and my faith feels like it rests on sinking sand.

Paul tells Timothy that the answer for how to “continue in what you have learned and firmly believed”—even though it is still being formed—is in “knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (vv. 14-15).

The answer to a robust faith in the midst of trials is meditation upon Scripture, shoring up our belief, our faith, and our certainty that God is both good Himself and doing good in all our situations. These words of life are able to make us “wise for salvation, through faith in Christ Jesus” (v. 15). This is an astounding promise and a perfect guarantee. Scripture never returns to us void. It always produces the fruit of righteousness: wisdom through faith in Jesus. Not wisdom in our own ability to get through trials or wisdom in proven methods of success. Wisdom through faith in Jesus.

When we believe Jesus is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do, our faith is bolstered and we are reminded of the hope within us. Apart from Christ Jesus, we can continue in nothing. Apart from faith centered in Him, we can continue in nothing. Apart from wisdom through faith in Him, we can continue in nothing. Apart from Scriptures from which wisdom is gained through faith in Him, we can continue in nothing. And so, in a beautiful full circle, apart from God giving us Scriptures from which wisdom is gained through faith in Him, we can continue in nothing. Everything begins and ends with Jesus, sweet Jesus.

How do we continue in what we have learned and firmly believe? Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Every day in every way. If trials are the anvil on which our faith is formed, Christ is the hammer and the fire and the blacksmith, and the finished thing is more perfect and beautiful for it all.

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Lore Ferguson Wilbert is a writer, thinker, and learner. She blogs at Sayable, and tweets and instagrams at @lorewilbert. She has a husband named Nate, a puppy named Harper Nelle, and too many books to read in one lifetime.

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  • Sarah Jalomo

    He is the Potter, the Artist, the Author and Finisher of our faith!!!

  • Lindsey Scoma

    Such a needed reminder for me today. ❤️

  • Maddie Bailey

    Becoming more and more grateful for this site. Just what I needed to read. Thank you, Lore, for sharing your wisdom. Sharing on fb

  • Amanda JonèJohnson

    I really needed to here these words today. I’m currently going through a health scare with my mom. We are waiting to see if she has cancer and it’s eating me up inside. The fear is overwhelming. Less than a year ago we were doing this with my dad and Praise God he came out okay, but it’s just to soon for my emotions. I feel as if I am being swallowed by fear right now and I need Jesus. My mind tells me to do the research, to look at all possibilities but my wonderful boyfriend keeps reminding me The Lord has this. That he is in control and that I need to be in prayer rather than google. This scripture was exactly what I needed to read. I need Jesus everyday, and right now I need more of him every second.

    • She Reads Truth

      Hi Amanda, thank you for sharing. We’re praying for you and your mom during this time. So grateful that you’re here. -Margot, The SRT Team

    • Victoria Warmuth

      Amanda, I’m praying for you and your mom! Listen to it is well over and over and over and truly believe that it is well with your soul because Jesus is the Prince of Peace

  • Jessica McCreary

    Just a great reminder!! ❤️

  • I just love this site and this wonderful group of women who are willing to share their faith & experiences. I too suffer from anxiety and it is the most lonely feeling in the world, but the more I open up about it, the more I find, I’m not alone, there are many people who feel just the same as me and that is so comforting. When I am suffering a period of anxiety, I remember a hymn I learned as a child, “God is always near me, hearing what I say, knowing all my thoughts and deeds at my work and play”. This reminds me I’m not alone.

    • She Reads Truth

      Thanks so much for sharing this Janice. We’re so grateful that you’re a part of our community. We’re praying for you! -Margot, The SRT Team

    • Kim Pullman

      Me too!! Anxiety is such a snare of the devil, God tells us over and over not to be afraid. But in my weakness I fall in again and again by backsliding and beginning to depend on my own strength instead of His. Lord, please be with me and everyone who struggles with anxiety, help me to rest in you and not depend on my own strength. Glory to you for all you do for me, and your everlasting patience for my weakness. Amen.

  • Being tested to have faith yet needing faith to survive the test is exactly–exactly–something I was experiencing this morning. Thanks so much for writing your shared struggle and giving words of hope and truth. Looking to Jesus today.

  • Megan Wood

    This was a much needed passage today. God is so good

  • Allison Joy

    I’m reminded of the Gaither chorus, “There’s Something About That Name.”
    Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
    There’s just something about that name
    Master, Savior, Jesus
    Like the fragrance after the rain
    Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
    Let all heaven and earth proclaim
    Kings and kingdoms will all pass away,
    But there’s something about that Name.

  • Monica Davis

    Oh boy, this was so timely. Jesus,Jesus, Jesus all day and every way.

  • Mindy Byerts

    I have a friend who doesn’t like doing Bible Studies…. she says that she just needs to read the Bible and it will tell her things. And according to 2 Timothy 3:16… she is right… but don’t you think God has placed people out there to study as their profession and to write about what they find… and that we should glean off their findings as well?

    • Kimberly Hartzler

      We all grow differently. Maybe share with her nuggets of truth you are learning from a study and how going through it with others has benefited you. Continue to invite her to do one with you.

      We, knowing the value of a bible study, can also put it over going to the Bible directly for ourselves. Glean from others hard work of seeking God for themselves. It is good to put in the work and get a now word directly from God himself; which your friend seems to be doing. The beauty of a bible study is we can share different facets of Jesus with each other because we each approach him with a different story and thus vantage point. She might be able to impart to others strengthening her gifts and ministering to others. That would be how I would approach such a friend. Maybe ask what about bible studies turn her off, maybe she hasn’t done a really good one. If she loves digging into the Bible Beth Moore is a powerhouse of getting the word into you.

      We all seek God differently and if she doesn’t “like participating in bible studies” there is usually a underlaying reason. Approach with redemption grace and not from a place of judgement.

      Praying for you to be a friend who uplifts and points to Jesus who loves to spend time with you and your friend.

  • Terrisa Stewart

    This one was definitely needed. I have been beating myself up lately for not being as connected to God and his Word over the past few months. I said something to my best friend about wanting to get my own space soon and my Aunt mentioned that her son would be moving back home soon. She asked if I had begun to look for somewhere to stay as yet. I told her yes while in reality I didn’t think I would be moving out for at least another year. While it is not ideal, I am confident this is God speaking to me. Despite my distance from Him, He was always near me. I believe God is telling me that there is no need for me to play small and hide in the home of my Aunt. While I would much rather save for a full year, I know God will provide for me.

  • Matthew 11:28-30. When I can not sleep due to anxiety or overthinking a situation, I always turn back to this verse that I first came across while flipping through the Bible aimlessly .

    • Brittany

      Wow! That’s a great verse! When I am anxious, I read all of Matthew 6, and by the time I get to the part where Jesus is telling us “do not be anxious.” I am usually calmed down.

  • My question for you amazing women of God is…

    How do you calm your anxiety/internal storm? Is there scripture you lean on? Is there some activity you do? What do you do?

    • Kit

      There are a few scriptures I do lean on. It depends on what speaks to me the most at the moment. The simple Psalms 23 has done me wonders during some of the most difficult times. The images of peace help drive out negative thoughts.

      As for activity, one of the best and easiest for me is to breathe deep. Every breath is a gift, and while I exercise inhaling and exhaling, I begin to remember how precious it is, and begin to start feeling grateful, and gratefulness helps push out fear.

      I’m still on a journey through anxieties myself, and I won’t proclaim to have conquered it completely, only day to day, by God’s grace. Hope this helps!

      • Anna

        I struggle with both medical and situational anxiety. Something that I learn over and over with each new day is that I am not in control of my brain chemistry — but God is. I am not in control of my external circumstances — but God is. I find that when I am not focusing on God’s will and His plan for me, I become obsessed with controlling my smaller, day-to-day life in an effort to control what I cannot. I focus my eyes on the waves, instead of on Him. That is a very quick and sure way to drown! As soon as I re-align myself with God through prayer and reading Scripture, the burden of my anxiety is lifted from my shoulders (literally, I can finally relax my shoulder muscles!) and am free to be a living sacrifice for Him. I am learning how to deal with the exhaustion of surrendering to Him again each morning, and I have hope that He will give me strength to do so. I hope that sharing my experience helps you!

        • PamC

          It did Anna. Thank you so much for sharing this. My diagnosis is masked depression so people think I’m doing so much better when I’m not. But your words, with these verses give me hope.

        • Shelby

          Anna, thank you for sharing your experience with me (all of us reading). I frequently have to realign myself with God’s eye.

      • Shelby

        Kit, thank you so much!

    • Kimberly

      Hi Shelby, I remind myself of Philippians 4:6-8.6 “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” And then I fix my thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. Sometimes I have to consciously do that several times a day. Sometimes we all can get quite an “internal storm” worked up, as you say, so as the Apostle Paul says, we need to change our thought pattern, thank the Lord that He is with us in the storm, and tell ourselves to trust in Him. Then peace will come. Verse 8 is key, I/WE must redirect MY/OUR thoughts. Blessings to you, Shelby.

      • Shelby

        Kimberly, thank you for your response. I do need to change my thought pattern and focus on scripture of redirecting my thoughts instead of becoming overwhelmed.

      • Shelby

        Kimberly, thank you for your response. I do need to change my thought pattern and focus on scripture of redirecting my thoughts instead of becoming overwhelmed

    • Lonna

      About 2 days before my dad passed away, he left me with nuggets of profound wisdom in what I call now a mini deathbed counseling session. He was a psychologist. He told me to speak out loud what is true. Thoughts jumble and tumble around in our brain and things get even more chaotic when we are anxious. For some of us things are always anxious and chaotic. But there is power in speaking out loud. The spoken word is louder than our thoughts. Speak –out loud–truth to your anxious thoughts. Speak Psalm 23. Say out loud “Lord, you ARE my Shepherd…” Speak Phillipians 4:6-8…honestly; ” Lord, I know you said not to be anxious, but I am anxious! So I come to you in my anxiousness and declare Your word! I make my request, my anxiety known to You, and trust in Your promise of peace”, etc. Also, your anxiety is rooted in fear as all of our anxiousness is. So there are many scriptures addressing fear you can declare out loud. I get frustrated sometimes because I’m not sure how this fear that led to this anxiousness even began! I want perfect emotional healing! But there is a beautiful relationship building process between you and your Abba that happens as you declare who He is in the face of what you are afraid of. Your trust begins to grow, your faith in His word gets stronger, your out-loud declarations become more sure and your anxieties begin to lose their grip on you. You will always vacillate between fear and faith because this flesh will never be redeemed, but it does weaken as your faith gets stronger and you’ll find the needle of your spiritual compass finding true faith and peace much quicker in those times of fear and anxiousness.

      • Shelby

        Lonna, how moving your response is. Thank you so much for sharing! I shall give this a go.

    • KimN

      Psalm 139 has always been deeply comforting for me. God may not have necessarily sent my circumstances but He’s not surprised by them either. He knows me, He knows what’s going on, He knows the outcome and He’s working to put things in place in His timing.
      Prov 3:5,6 is also a favourite. Just because I don’t understand doesn’t mean that He isn’t at work!
      I often get very up in my head when the internal storm rages so I have found writing things out help to get them off my brain. Sometimes it comes out in prayer form, sometimes I’m just writing my feelings honestly without a filter. But once I’ve “vented” I always try to come back to focus on scripture (either favourites, something I’ve read that day or just open the Bible somewhere and start reading) and focus on God’s goodness.
      It’s hard to lift our eyes from what’s in front of us but God is with you sister!! Sending love and hugs to you today! xo

    • Amanda

      Shelby, I read your comment on yesterday’s devotional and I was so hoping you would read this one too, as the title immediately made me think of you. I struggle with anxiety that at one point in my life was totally crippling. Every time you feel anxious, worried, defeated, or overwhelmed, turn it to prayer. Take every thought captive and don’t allow your mind to run wild with your anxious and fearful thoughts. Scripture provides a peace that passes all understanding, so spend as much time as you possibly can in the Word. When you begin to feel anxious, open up your Bible to a random spot and read what God has to tell you. Memorize Scriptures and repeat them to yourself as a mantra. My favorite verse when I’m dealing with anxiety is “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart cried out for help and I am healed.” Psalm 28:7. I would repeat this to myself over and over and over when I was struggling because I love the promise God makes to us in this Scripture. I also love the lyric from the song “Praise You in This Storm” by Casting Crowns: “I will praise You in this storm; I will lift my hands; You are who You are, no matter where I am.” Praise God even in the harships and remember that he isn’t done with you yet! Every struggle you face is something he is working “for the good of those who love God.” He hasn’t forgotten you and he knows every detail of what you face today and always!

      • Shelby

        Amanda, thank you for your response! I appreciate it so much. I’ll start using that verse when I’m overwhelming myself and listen to that song. If you need a friend when you are anxiety-ridden, you can email me at [email protected]. Thanks again!

    • Lizzieb85

      I had an older friend who struggled with some mental issues & she told me that sometimes all she could do was repeat Jesus’ name out loud. When she was too overwhelmed & couldn’t remember verses or hymns, just “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus”.

    • Katelyn

      Psalm 23 and 1 Corinthians 13 calm me. I often try to do a physical activity while repeating them or before reading them to help me focus. I’m a dancer so stretching/ warming up during stressful situations i.e. before performances is muscle memory to me. Listening to music helps too. Find something that is comforting that you can take with you anywhere.

    • Katelyn

      Psalm 23 and 1 Corinthians 13 calm me. I often try to do a physical activity while repeating them or before reading them to help me focus. I’m a dancer so stretching/ warming up during stressful situations i.e. before performances is muscle memory to me. Listening to music helps too. Find something that is comforting that you can take with you anywhere. Maybe try listening to some Christian artists (I love bethel music, hillsong, elevation music, and Morgan Harper Nichols) and have those good lyrics running through your head during the night shift.

    • Jena

      Hi Shelby,

      One amazing activity I do that God literally spoke to me a few years ago was to write down all the thoughts or lies I was believing or having worry over. Next to them I was to search the scripture for His truth about whatever worry I had. And last, because faith comes by hearing – I was to speak them out loud over myself multiple times so I could hear the word and believe it. This has constantly helped me in times of anxiety and stress. I often found His truth outweighs whatever I am worried about. And then I have scriptures I can meditate on.

      • Shelby

        Jena! AMEN! That is amazing! Thank you so much, I’ll start trying this out. <3

  • When I think of the one from whom I know Truth, I often forget that the One that calls me to know His goodness also calls me to know his suffering. Jesus suffered. Yes he was blameless and good and the son of God who had been faithful to His people from the beginning. But as a follower of Jesus, I am called to look upon his goodness and the scars in his body. As I experience trials and hardship, I remember that the seemingly evil aspects of my hardships have already been transformed into glory with God through Jesus. I am called to look upon and not minimize Jesus’ sufferings just because suffering is hard to look at. But if I don’t look at the suffering of jesus, I do not find God’s glory. And if I do not look at my own hardships, I do not find God’s glory.

    • Dawn

      I have found meditating on God’s word of Truth and speaking it out loud combats anxiety and fear. Something struggled with from early childhood. I went through a. Of time where I literally said over and over each day that I have the mind of Christ power love and a sound mind. This is truth and the more ice bucket and the more I believed it in faith the more it happened for me. He set me free and so many areas. Also I find that’s soaking in his presence and just exalting him through worship is the best weapon! The enemy of our soul absolutely hate it when we speak the word of God and when we worship. He has to flee. And sense fear and anxiety are not part of a natural characteristic of a child of God it can’t stay. I just believed it until I saw it. I just finished reading you are free to be who you already are by Rebekah Lyons. I highly suggest it.

  • My eyes filled with tears when I read the first line of the devotion. Beginning today and throughout this week I am appearing in court and although the plaintiff, the opposing side will be trying to win the jury by lies, false accusations, and deception. I have never felt such a weight of anxiety and am praying for strength and for the Lord to speak truth through me and give the jurors ears to hear the truth. I feel buried under anxiety. They will be picking the jury today…please pray that these people are heavenly selected and that they have a spirit of discernment. Please pray for strength and courage for me to stand before this opposing side and not let them twist my story and words into something it’s not…let the truth shine brightly! Please pray for the Lord to guide my words as I speak. Thank you sweet sisters and I pray for all of you as well!! Blessings on this Monday and throughout the week!

    • Alexis

      Raegan I am praying for you that above all, truth wins.

    • Kimberly

      Praying for you, Reagan!

    • Lonna

      Raegan, I agree with you in prayer. The suffocating anxiety that comes with something so very out of your control can threaten to literally make you crazy. But hold fast to the very basic truth of Hebrews 13:5 “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you”. It is a promise repeated often throughout scripture. You are never alone. There is nothing changeable about Gods promises or His character. What He has always done, He won’t suddenly stop doing just now. I pray that as you rest in the promise of His presence , that you will be given just the right words to say, knowing that God is wiser than the most cunning, word twisting prosecutor. Most of all, I pray for justice for the situation and that you would let His peace overwhelm your heart and mind.

      • Raegan

        Oh Lonna, your words are so encouraging and comforting….thank you so much for your precious words, prayers, and wonderful scripture. I will repeating it constantly throughout the week and when I take the stand. Thank you again sweet sister!!!

    • DebRN

      It is wonderful that you are praying for wisdom and sharing with this community of faith. My experience being in a courtroom and listening to lies about my husband makes me very empathetic to your trial. Truth does not have to be shouted; just stated. I am praying for calmness in your spirit during court today. It took us five times in court over many years. We do not know your outcome but absolutely trust the living Jesus. He does not lie. He keeps all His promises. You are greatly loved. He has all authority.

      • Raegan

        Deb thank you for such precious words of encouragement, TRUTH, and for your prayers!!! It means SO very much!!! Thank you for sharing your story of walking a similar road. ❤️ Blessings to you sweet sister!!

  • “Often times, the thing we need most desperately in the midst of trial is the thing still yet unformed in some ways.” She hit the nail on the head. I needed all the reminders in this today.

  • Elizabeth Alyse

    I needed this one today. Thank you!

  • Loved today’s devotional..continue in what you have learned and firmly believe. I feel like I have a selfish request but I just ask for prayers..I am 39.5 weeks pregnant and I am sure many of you know..exhausted. I am praying she comes this week, I am working up until she comes and spending an hour in the car to and from work on no sleep is really exhausting me. I have a doctor’s appointment weds and praying they can work their magic(; . I know it is all in God’s timing so I pray for that as well that if she doesn’t come this week I trust in that. I am just exhausted and ready to meet my sweet girl.

    • She Reads Truth

      Hi Courtney, thanks so much for sharing. We’re praying for you during this time and are so grateful that you’re here! -Margot, The SRT Team

  • Kelly Chataine

    Continue in what you have learned and firmly believe.

  • Tanis Stewart

    What I love about scripture is how it is ALWAYS true. The beginning of chapter 3 could be seen as discouraging, but actually it gives me greater faith and hope in that God knows all and has known all from the beginning. He knew what our world would be like and yet He is not worried or anxious. He says, remember me, remember I sent my Son, to cover all of this…..choose you this day whom you will serve. I am equipped today for every good work. Thank you Jesus. I adore You!

  • What a beautiful analogy! One of the hotels my husband worked in, sometime ago in North Carolina was a castle like home turned boutique hotel. The small family of four that built the home spared no expense and when I walked through it was hard not to touch the mother of pearl inlays, the hand blown glass windows or the walls that were part of a temple in Damascus that they purchased and had shipped and affixed to a dining room but of all the decorative art in the building the thing that intrigued me most was a large gate like structure that separated a recreational space. The iron work was beautifully intricate and told a story of a clipper ship traveling across the sea, it was breathtaking and even more so because it had been forged by a young master of fourteen, if I recall correctly. The iron was twisted and turned beautifully to tell the story and clearly required hours of patience in the creation. I felt small in front of it but in a wonderful way, so I can’t help but think to our time on the anvil. If man can create something so profoundly elegant and moving what can God create in me through trials and my forging? If I can be moved to awe by a structure, what can be moved by the work God is doing in me? Time on the anvil is never easy, this I know all too well, but our loving Father’s hands are on us and with each hammering out of our rough spots, with each part that melts away, something beautiful takes form. If we allow Him, He will tell a story through US. He, the Master Creator will allow us to become an extravagant creation!

    • Tanis Stewart

      I love this. Thank you for sharing!❤️

    • Stephanie

      this is beautiful and such a great picture thank u for sharing

    • Churchmouse

      Amen. Good stuff here, B

    • Heather N (MNmomma)

      oh my goodness B….truly beautiful mental picture…..clinging to it right now :) This time on the anvil has been extended….just think of the masterpiece He is working on!! <3

  • Charissa Sharp

    I thoroughly enjoyed this message this morning! I pray to be more bold in my faith. Oh, how I love Jesus… this message makes me long to be closer to him. I pray for the guidance and opportunity to help me share this oh, so precious gift of hope and love (& so much more) He continually gives us! Thank you SRT for all you do in aiding your readers to grow in their faith in Him.

  • Churchmouse

    So often I’ve said “I just want to be a part of….” Fill in the blank. Pick any good thing. What I do not want to be apart from is God. I want to be a part of what He’s doing but apart from Him I can do nothing. I must be fully committed to, first and foremost, abiding in Him.

  • Practicing prayer throughout the day, my prayer was frequently “help me Lord!” Over the last several weeks, instead of praying this, I’ve begun to pray “Yes, Lord,” when I feel like praying “help.” Praying “Yes” to God is like a surrender and acceptance to whatever he has for me in that moment. Praying “Yes” releases joy in my circumstances, brings me closer to Jesus’ heart.

    • Shelby

      Abby, I’m going to try to meditate in the saying “yes Lord” today. I need to calm my internal storm. Thank you!

    • PamC

      Thank you Abby. I too will try this.

  • Shannon Oros

    So good!! ❤ The words of one of my favorite hymns came to mind after I finished reading…”Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus, oh for grace to trust him more.” How reassuring it is to know that our faith begins, is strengthened, and is completed by our faithful Savior.

  • Thanks You, Jesus that You make us beautiful even though trials. Please God give us a heart for the lost in these trying days and break our hearts for what breaks Yours. You can be trusted in all things. Let us have the joy of the Lord as our strength and let us share it with others. In Jesus’ Powerful Name Amen

  • Does anyone know anything about Jannes and Jambres? 2Timothy 3:9. They are not in the list of people named in 2Timothy on page 76.

    • Tricia Cavanaugh

      In my NLT commentary it says, “According to tradition, Jannes and Jambres were two of the magicians who had counterfeited Moses’ miracles before Pharoah.”
      That probably would be why we got the verses in Exodus for our reading also.

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