2 Timothy 4:1-5 – In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. (NIV)
Often I am reminded that we are living in an age of relativity. In this age, we do not seem to hold God's laws as absolute nor look to Him for direction and guidance. How often are we bombarded by people telling us to call the "psychic hotline" for direction for our lives? How often do shows on television present life without respect to morals, telling us to live our lives so that we are "happy" regardless of the hardships and pain that may result for our families and others? It is as if the Ten Commandments are only relevant to some past time, far removed from our modern-day world of instant information and gratification. This is no more evident than in the western world where people have great affluence, time to enjoy, and constantly hear a call to "do your own thing." God calls us all to proclaim His word (the laws written within our hearts and the laws He graciously provided for us through Moses), whether it is convenient or not, and to adopt it as our standard. We are to be the bearers of integrity, righteousness and truth, and always to do so with love. Love is ever giving, ever forgiving and ever responsive to other's needs. Loves opens us up many times to be hurt by those we love and care about, for the sake of building up God's kingdom.
This past year, I have struggled to seek the Lord's guidance in how to deal with my now ex-husband, as I recover from the shock of his adultery, his rejection, and the dissolution of our marriage of 24 years, through a no-fault divorce which he successfully pursued. I ask, "How can this have happened to me?" I tried to live a godly life, and at least three times I sought reconciliation. Twice, I know I tried to reach out to him to point out his shortcomings as a Christian man and husband, only to be told by him to "stop hitting me over the head with your Bible." I now know that my part, my ministry, calls me to be a woman of integrity, godliness, forgiveness and love. I am to be kind, compassionate, considerate, patient, gentle and encouraging, not so much in what I say, but in how I live these truths. Living and doing what Jesus asks is not easy, but we are to do it nevertheless. God places us in situations where we must grow and develop His God-given gifts to us. However, we must not forget that we cannot do this without first going to Him daily to be nourished, fed, equipped, and refreshed for our ministry. One of my friends often tells me that God wants us to grow where He has planted us. Through prayer, fasting and humbling ourselves each day before the Lord, we will be able to hear His voice and know how and when to reach out to others to evangelize. But for now, I am ever mindful that, in my life at least, I am to be but one example of God's standard. Will we endeavour to provide that example to others? St. Francis of Assisi once said, "Tell everyone around you of the great love of God. When all else fails, use words."
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to listen and to seek you daily, so that we can be examples or standard-bearers of integrity, love, righteousness, truth, godliness and forgiveness. Feed us daily for our unique ministry to others, and help us to reach out to others, preaching and living Your Word. Amen.