Many of you are still going strong on your new year’s resolutions, while some of you have failed miserably already. The hard part about those resolutions is building a new routine after doing something one way for so long. In many ways the Christian walk that we are living is a routine that doesn’t align with our human nature. The principles and values God teaches differ from what the world teaches and it makes the walk with Jesus quite a challenge because it is quite the change.
In my classroom, I place high expectations on my students because as teachers we are taught high expectations effect behaviors. For our students, if they expect to get distinguished on KPREP then they are going to use the strategies we covered to ensure that happens. If you expect to lose 20 pounds then your behavior of what you eat and how you exercise will change. In the same way if we expect our relationship with God to change, our hearts will then become aligned with his, and our eyes will begin to see as his eyes see, and this brings the realization that our routines must change.
My point is, we know the importance of expectations, my fear is that our expectations of our walk with God are similar to our New Year’s resolutions. Non-existent, because we don’t expect them to happen, therefore nothing changes.
As we talk about the power of routines this month, let us look at how these simple routines can empower a spiritual change in your life that is far more noticeable then 20 pounds ever could be. These routines, these biblical teachings shouldn’t be something we try to do in our everyday walk, but routines we expect to do this coming year and on.
Today, lets start the discussion by diving into a letter of instruction from the apostle Paul to Timothy in Timothy 2:3:14-17.
4 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. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work
“As he lies in his cell, a prisoner of the Lord, Paul is still preoccupied with the future of the gospel. His mind dwells now on the evil of the times, now on the diffidence of Timothy. Timothy is so weak, and the opposition so strong.” (John Stott)
So imagine this, Paul is writing from his cell but his concern is on Timothy a disciple he has mentored, as he knows the dangers that surround him in the world. He first mentions evil doers and impostors who will try and deceive. Paul directs however, to Timothy in times of deceit, in times of trials, and doubt, continue in what you have learned and know to be true. Lean on your faith in Jesus and then my favorite part. “Then lean on the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through Jesus. “
There is power in God’s word, and there is wisdom as all scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. Paul is telling Timothy through his studying of God’s Holy word he is well equipped for the world.
Think of this way, if I asked you right now without any help to point to true north, many of you wouldn’t be able to do so correctly. In fact, many of the ones who did point the correct directions probably weren’t very confident in that answer. However, if you had a compass, you would be able to know exactly where true north was. A ship can start out in the right direction but inevitably gets tossed by the waves and wind, requiring regular checks with the compass in order to get to the final destination. Even with good intentions, we can lose sight of the ultimate goal and need to continually and regularly be reminded of what God’s Word says about him and about us in order to live the life God desires for us.
That is what Paul is telling Timothy, it’s not that Timothy doesn’t have good intentions and wont’ be able to stay the course. But Paul’s love for Timothy is shown in this instruction and letter to Timothy, to reassure him there is strength and guidance in God’s Holy Word.
I began this topic by saying expectation results in behavior. My prayer for you is if you truly are striving for a God directed life, a closer walk, and guidance, then expect him to transform you. Expect him to move, expect him to speak, expect him to guide because once you expect it, your behavior will follow suit, and your life will follow suit. So, my first challenge for you and I in this transformation that we all should be seeking is to start your day with the Lord and in your scripture. Think of your daily scripture reading as the compass to your life because that is exactly what it is.