Tuesday – October 15, 2019 – Coverup
2 Timothy 3:10-15 (NIV) You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
A second challenge in bridging the generation gap is a lack of transparency; feeling a need to cover up much of your life and your life’s work. Paul didn’t do that. He lived his life transparently. Timothy not only witnessed Paul’s suffering for the gospel and the price he paid, he also heard directly from Paul about his sinful heart (Read 1Timothy 1:15-16). Paul was not using hyperbole when he referred to himself as the worst of sinners; he was being genuine. He was grateful that God showed mercy to him and he wanted Timothy to experience that same mercy.
If you’ve been raised in church with an emphasis on living morally or following a prescribed set of standards, you can base your identity on being good, even to the point that you think morality is what saves you. Paul knew that was not true and he wanted Timothy to emphatically know that too. He greeted Timothy with an exhortation to experience grace, mercy and peace. We all need them. Grace enables us to experience God’s favor, mercy allows us to escape his wrath and they both bring about peace into our existence. No matter who is against us, we are confident that God will not harm us, that He is for us, forgiving us when we need it. He forgives us because ultimately all sin is against Him and He is the only one who can save us.
Grace, mercy and peace all bring positive reinforcement. It is God’s kindness that saves us, and each generation needs that truth for themselves. His wrath does not save us; it is something to be avoided. Many psychological studies have been done that show positive reinforcement produces better results than punishment. While it is true that God is just and sin must be judged, Paul opined again and again that sin has already been paid for when Jesus went to the cross to bear the wrath that was due to you. There is no need to pay a bill that has already been satisfied.
How transparently do you live your life? Are you willing to be vulnerable to those who may be caught in a sin that you were able to overcome?
Prayer: Lord, being transparent and vulnerable is not easy because it may cast a bad reflection on me. Help my testimony to cast a good reflection on you.