Virtual Reality | Day 6
The Christian leader’s lifestyle is based upon an inner character of the heart, enabled by the Holy Spirit, that causes them to behave in certain ways. This temperament is part of ‘a settled habit of mind,’ an inner trait that drives our outward conduct. This settled habit is how the heart, mind, and hands meet to fuel the task of reproducing leaders to fulfill the purpose of Christ in the world.
For the next few days, I am going to offer a simple fourfold framework through which we can begin to understand Timothy’s task and our own. The challenge of 2nd Timothy is that we allow our heads, hearts, and hands to be motivated by the holiness and love of God for the purpose of Christ in the world. Only then can we successfully battle the temptations of legalism, relativism, consumerism, and authoritarianism that derail many leaders.
This battle can be presented by cultivating four virtues or ‘habits of the mind’: knowing, being, living, and reproducing:
Knowing addresses the habits of the mind.
Being addresses the habits of the heart.
Living addresses the habits of the hands.
Reproducing addresses the habits of the missional task.
Two of these virtues address the discipleship challenge: knowing and being.
Two of these virtues address the missional challenge: living and reproducing.
I’m suggesting that much of 2nd Timothy can be organized under these four virtues. Through this simple organizing framework, we see how to best learn how to battle the aforementioned temptations.
The Settled Habit of Mind: Christian leaders know they belong to God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
I am reminded of your sincere faith (2 Timothy 1:5); Continue in what you have learned and firmly believed knowing from whom you learned it... (2 Timothy 3:14).
It is one thing to know about Jesus, but it is quite different to KNOW Him. Such knowledge is based on both a union and a fellowship with Christ. The Christian leader knows, trusts, and believes the gospel of Christ and imparts what they know to others by modeling and teaching with the help of the Holy Spirit. What you know and WHO you know is apparent to others. It was clear to Paul that Timothy knew Jesus Christ. Still, the Christian leader is in constant prayer and study to grow ever closer to Christ. They learn God’s word and seek God’s direction in order to lead others in the right spiritual direction. Knowing who has saved them naturally results in a wholehearted commitment to His Lordship.
The Settled Habit of Mind: Christian leaders have entered a new settled state and become more like the Christ they know, love, and serve.
Paul uses a strong negative example: Timothy is NOT TO BE as the world, “..People will BE lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness but denying its power. Avoid such people” (2 Timothy 3:2-5)
Being in a godly spiritual condition, an internal condition, exemplified by joy, peace, love, and all the other fruits of the Spirit. Being is an internal condition, reflects character, integrity, parallels what you say and how you live, what you believe and how you express it; it demonstrates that the leader’s attitudes, words and actions match their professed beliefs. Such beliefs are not personal conclusions but drawn from Scripture.
The Settled Habit of Mind: Christian leaders love people enough to supplement telling the truth with showing them the truth and the way.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, and equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
While BEING is internal, it is on display externally in how Christian leaders live every day. More than just directing people, living is about leading others. The chief characteristic is submission to Christ as your leader. Meditating and praying over His word results in positive life change to equip us to live as God desires. Once a leader understands God’s will, they must make every effort by persuasion and by example, sacrifice and hard work, to move followers from their own self-focused goals to God-centered purposes. Christian leaders show others where Christ, the ultimate Leader, is going. By the example of their life, the leader moves people from where they are to where God wants them to be.
The Settled Habit of Mind: Christian leaders lay themselves down in service of others in accordance with God’s plans to spread the good news.
“What you heard from me…entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2)
Paul’s instructions to Timothy are part of an unbroken chain of faith from Christians today back to the origins of our faith, passed from one generation to another. The Christian leader is always duplicating himself. One goal of a spiritual leader is that people would come to know Jesus Christ and glorify Him in all they do. Christian leaders are influential and ambitious for Christ – they cause others to listen and respond to the call of the gospel. This kind of leadership can never be self-generated; it is always the result of the power of the Holy Spirit working through those who are obedient to His commands.
These four commitments are visible in 2 Timothy 2:2. Note how each of these four commitments underlie each of the key phrases in the verse:
what you have heard: Timothy heard Paul teach the truth of the Gospel.
from me in the presence: Paul had a presence-based ministry, in that he was present with others and known by them.
of many witnesses: These witnesses are people who gather to know and discover the truth and can testify that Paul is a man of integrity.
entrust: Timothy was commanded to entrust, a command that would ask Timothy to commit to ensuring that the truth was reproduced in others.
to faithful men: Faithfulness combines the idea of people who take the truth working inside them and express it through a lifestyle of obedience.
who will be able to teach: The task of reproduction and multiplication continues through people who learn the truth and teach the truth.
others also: through the faithful to the faithful.
Food For Thought:
It is one thing to know about Jesus, but it is quite different to know Him. How did the shift, if there was one, happen for you?
As always, leave your thoughts, comments, and questions in the comments section below.