I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
2 Timothy 4:1-5
The world in which we live is losing its mind. Good is now evil and evil is good. (Isaiah 5:20) How can we keep our heads about us when all others are losing theirs? Paul reminds us in these verses about what we are to do in such times.
The immediate context of this passage is Paul instructing the young pastor Timothy. While the present teaching is to pastors, the lessons here are for all Christians. How can we stand strong while everyone else is falling? Let’s look at four commands from these verses.
1) Stay calm. Paul teaches us to be sober and calm in the midst of the upheaval of life. We can stay calm because of God’s promises, God’s peace, and the Holy Spirit who indwells us. Make the choice to stay calm and trust the Lord.
2) Stay courageous. Paul’s second imperative is to “endure hardship.” Living for Jesus will not always be easy and comfortable. Following Christ will be costly. Determine in your heart to endure even during the worst of times. May God gives us all the fortitude we need to serve Him no matter the cost.
3) Stay compassionate. In middle of everything that was happening, Timothy was to continue to fulfill the “work of an evangelist.” The young pastor’s focus was to be outward to those who needed salvation. We have been given the same precept to follow. We must look with compassion and love toward those who need Jesus. A lack of compassion and empathy is the reason we don’t often share the gospel. Let us pray that the Lord will give us hearts that are filled with sympathy and compunction for those who are far from God. And may that compassion spur us to tell them about Jesus.
4) Stay committed. “Fulfill your ministry” is the apostle’s final imploration to us. Stay the course and finish the task that God has given you no matter what it is. Finish strong, dear Christian. The best is yet to come!