Have you ever ended up somewhere and wondered when you got there, “How? How did I end up here?” Or when you went to get something out of a cabinet or pantry you just stopped and stared and asked the question, “Why did I open this cabinet?” Sometimes when we get caught going through the motions we are left aimless and confused. How do we keep from allowing our faith walk to become aimless and confused?
Usually when I feel myself stalling out in how I live out my faith, I need to pause and look at how my time with God is going. Often when we stall out or start to move aimlessly from one decision to the next, we begin to grasp at feelings or experiences rather than purposely following who it is that never leads us astray. 2 Timothy 3:14-16 challenges Jesus’ followers to continue in what they have learned, to remain acquainted with God’s Word, and to apply what God’s Word says. If we do these things we are less likely to get off track, but prior to Paul’s instruction, he gives one other helpful bit of advice.
2 Timothy 3:10-13, in essence, calls for those who wish to remain true to God and focused on what it is that matters, to have someone in their life who they can follow. “You, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness,…” Paul was willing to lead others because he was being led by God. Paul was not wandering aimlessly through life. He didn’t get caught up in distractions. His teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, and steadfastness were worthy of being followed because he followed Jesus, who was even more worthy of being followed.
Paul didn’t want anyone to get caught unprepared, aimless, or with the inability to live with the type of intentionality that was required for those who claim to follow Jesus. Paul understood there would be times of persecution and suffering, and the way that he prepared himself and those who he influenced mattered. When life gets challenging, how we respond indicates who it is that is leading us. If we are leaderless, it is easy to feel stuck, confused, angry, listless, discouraged, but if we are actively pursuing the influence and leadership of God’s Word, we can be reminded of our Hope and purpose we have in Jesus regardless of our circumstances.
Even if you don’t have a Paul in your life who can remind you and encourage you along the way, don’t forget that you have God’s Word, which is “living and active” (Hebrews 4:12) and is “profitable… that [you] may be complete, equipped for every good work.”