“This item was checked and approved by….” On more than a few occasions a small slip of paper has accompanied my purchase of some household object. Some tool or product manufactured in an assembly line (preferably in Canada) assigned a group of people to maintain ‘quality control.’ A visual inspection, a practical test, a trial use was conducted and then the ‘approver’ provided evidence of a clear standard.
God has His approval standards. All workers deployed by the great Master should seek His approval. Paul, in his ongoing mentoring of younger Timothy, challenges this next generation leader to seek God’s approval. Paul’s approval may be encouraging, God’s approval matters! Notice what he writes in 2 Timothy 2:15
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
Do your best – Study, engage with all your heart, give yourself to the process of learning how to handle the word of truth. Jesus is ‘the truth,’ and God provides the ultimate standard for truth when it comes to teaching. As Ravi Zacharias said yesterday, “There is only one way to stand upright. There are an infinite number of ways to alter the truth.”
Most lies are a ‘slight variation’ on the truth. What happens if a space shuttle alters its flight by 1 degree? Do some research, and you’ll realize how far away the crew will be from their intended target? How about spiritual truth? Misquote a verse, yank it out of context and you’ll end up with a distorted theology.
Pastor Rick Baker, our pastor at Calvary, reminded us in an excellent exposition on Sunday, that King Ahaz was seeking to teach God theology. Read Isaiah 7 and head to Calvary Baptist, Oshawa website for a listen to it. In the coming weeks, he announced his plan to lead us through chapters 8 and 9 as well, amazing chapters depicting the truth of the birth of Immanuel – God with us.
Would you join me in praying for those who handle the word of God as part of their God-given calling? Pray for pastors, missionaries, seminary professors, small group leaders, disciples and others who seek God’s approval, who long to be unashamed before their Master and who seek, with God’s help to correctly handle the word of truth. The process does not rest on mental ability or training, but on a God-assisted, God-directed, God-honoring process of handling one of God’s greatest gifts to us, the written word of God. All of us, like Timothy, should prayerfully study and apply 2 Timothy 2:15!