[dropcap]We're [/dropcap]studying Acts ch 21-23 this week, but I jumped over to 2 Timothy. It's the true grit--grit from the Spirit. At the end of his life, here is Paul. Things are jumping off of the page because of where we've been in Acts. FROM WITHOUT-persecution against gospel. FROM WITHIN-men turning away from gospel, going astray from truth, opposing, deceiving and being deceived, & deserting the mission. The first, you expect. The second, really tough. Men who were on the same mission, turning away. People who were seemingly pulling the same rope in the same direction, actually now opposing. Deceivers, deceiving and being deceived. Their talk spreading like gangrene. When tough times come, deserting the mission for one reason or another. Meanwhile, Paul is in chains and people are bailing!
Yet, Paul's encouragement to Timothy -
Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you." 2 Timothy 2:13-14
[dropcap]You [/dropcap]see, Paul didn't just teach Timothy the sound words. Paul modeled the sound words. The sound words were to be guarded. Lest you think of a guard post or a troll guarding the bridge, the apostle is not telling Timothy to militantly guard the gospel in this way. No, not a troll or an angry Gandalf saying, "None shall pass!" The means of guarding is first and foremost through the Holy Spirit. The atmosphere of guarding is one of faith and love. Paul modeled this atmosphere, guarding the gospel in or with faith and love in Christ. This guarding and living faith and living love is only found in Jesus.
[dropcap]This [/dropcap]demands a couple of questions for us. In your retaining the standard of the sound words, are the attitudes and actions of faith and love clear? Or, is it more heavy on militant and lacking love? Are you facing opposition from the outside? Are you riled up? Are you living in the reality of people hijacking or deserting the mission from within? Opposition is real, especially when the gospel is on the line. Oh that we would retain the standard of the gospel, yes and Amen! Oh that we would, however, guard it in step with the Spirit in faith. That we would guard it in love.
Grit - retaining the standard and guarding the gospel in the midst of opposition from the outside and inside. True grit-retaining the standard and guarding the gospel in the midst of opposition from the outside and inside in faith and in love of Jesus By the Spirit