What is your general approach to homework? Are you one who tends to plan it out in your schedule and work ahead, or do you tend to wait until the night before to tackle it.
I was trained as an educator and remember one of my teachers helping me because of his homework protocol. He argued that students needed assistance to develop healthy habits so he created homework outlines that included the actual assignment, deadline, length of the work, and a few tips on handling the work. I found his efforts paid off for me, even though I paid attention in class. When I got to the library on a study break, or home after sports practice, I could easily recall the type of homework facing me due to the outline.
That approach to homework benefitted many of us. If we had any questions, we merely refereed to the homework outline. With the expectations of the homework from that teacher’s class clearly written down, it greatly reduced potential panic and anxiety.
Read 1 Timothy 6:11-16.
An older man in leadership in the early church named Paul took a younger man named Timothy under his wing for life mentoring and character development. While Paul had been in church leadership for years and been battle-tested in doctrine, spiritual warfare, and conflict management, Timothy was just starting out. Paul had high hopes for his young protégé and provided a list of expectations for him. Paul knew the sorts of challenges Timothy would face and worked to prepare him for the road ahead.
When you read the list of character qualities in chapter six of Paul’s letter, it appears clear and simple, yet downright challenging: “Flee the love of money and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.”
Paul writes that the goal of following Jesus as a servant leader is not merely task fulfillment, but character development. Who we are becoming is as important to God as being able to preach, counsel, and pray for the sick. God is looking to develop Christ-likeness in us and as a result, the work of ministry will get done as a by-product.
Get a Bible dictionary and look up the qualities Paul wanted Timothy to grow in. Which one(s) do you need to work on? Ask God to help you in the process, and as verse 12 says, “fight the good fight of faith” as you follow Christ and lean on His power to grow.
All of us have been given homework, but the assignment Paul gave to Timothy is tricky. Becoming godly is not a one-time assignment that you complete and hand in. To become like Jesus will require a daily effort that is due every day we are alive. God expects us to display those godly qualities more and more. With the Holy Spirit’s help, it can happen.
Grow devotionally. Regardless of your academic standing and year in school, followers of Jesus are also in the school of the knowledge of God. Realize how much God believes in you to give you such a tough assignment. Will you trust Him that in His provision of Scripture and the power of the Holy Spirit, you will be empowered to get a passing grade on your work? Spiritual growth is a lifetime homework assignment. Use His outline.
Love is a verb,
©2016 by Mike Olejarz