Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. – 2 Timothy 2:15 NIV
Someday I will stand before my creator and give an account of my life here on earth (Rom. 14:12). Then I hope to hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21). Or will the experience be a little more awkward?
Paul’s admonition here to Timothy, and to me, is to do my best to win God’s approval. Then, when I stand before him, I will not need to be ashamed of my work. This is not a question of salvation; my salvation is not based on anything I do. Rather, it is a matter of living my life in a way that would be pleasing to God.
The challenge for me is that I get so easily sidetracked into other things. Most of them are good, and some of them important. But not all of them need to be done. And many of them actually keep me from doing what I should be doing. Somehow I don’t suspect that God will be too impressed with how nice I kept my lawn.
In addition, to stand approved by God, I need to be careful in how I handle the Bible, the word of truth. And that is especially so for one like me who teaches others what the Bible says. Am I faithful to its message, correctly understanding it and allowing it to shape my beliefs and my actions? Or do I try to make the Bible conform to my beliefs?
To be an approved and unashamed worker requires effort on my part, and a willingness to follow the Spirit’s lead. It requires me to submit to his leading every single day. It requires me to say no to self, and yes to him. But can I do any less for the one who has created and redeemed me, and called me into relationship with him?