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(Acts 16:1-5; 1 Corinthians 4:14-17; Philippians 2:19-22; 2 Timothy 1:4-7)

Lesson 13 -- first quarter 1997
February 23, 1997

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1996, Christian Light Publications

"Ye know the proof of him." How often I have tried to prove myself! Why do we tackle such projects? Low self esteem, failure, people's questions and comments, pride--good answers to the question, don't you agree? Sometimes we try to prove ourselves to others; at times we have the desire to prove ourselves to ourselves. Occasionally we may entertain the notion that somehow God needs that we prove ourselves to Him. For whatever reason and to whomever, we all face the challenge (real or perceived) to prove ourselves. In a certain sense, I think it is all needless vanity.

I don't believe Timothy received his commendation from Paul because of successful completion of a I've-got-to-prove-myself project. I think Paul said this of Timothy simply because his life was open and transparent, available and easy for everyone to evaluate. The evidence of his faithful obedience manifested itself in his life, requiring no abnormal or extraordinary actions on his part. His "proof" was not a special project, it was a normal life demonstrating the effects of redemption and regeneration.

So, quit trying to prove yourself by any other means. You will find great peace and freedom in being "normal," if such results from an earnest, zealous pursuit of God's ways. Let your whole life speak for you and your God, and give up trying to prove yourself with certain deeds or words. This, I believe, is what these next verses speak about:

"...But be thou an example of the believers" (1 Timothy 4:12).

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God" (2 Timothy 2:15).

"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

I think the verse that precedes our memory selection helps us understand this proving business even more. Timothy's life had become an incontrovertible testimony to his pursuit of, interest in and attention to "the things which are Jesus Christ's." Timothy was done seeking his own things, even the satisfaction of proving himself in some special way.

Oh oh. Did you see that other subject in the memory text? "He hath served." Here I am working on this, 9-12 months before you read it. And I don't know how long ago somebody determined what these lessons would deal with and what the memory verses would be. What fascinates me is the realization that what I am writing is for me right now, and for you whenever you read it. The message across the span of all these months is still fresh and personal for each one of us. Straight from God's heart to ours: serve!

"As a son with the father." As a child with the parent--is that an apt description of your service for the Lord? I challenge you to begin (or improve or expand) your service at home. Commit yourself to a path of joyful, cooperative submission as you strive to make your parent(s) a success. Do not despise them no matter their shortcomings and failures. Honor them more highly than you honor any other person on this planet.

Whether you are in your teens or in your twenties, establish an open working relationship with your parents. As your service at home develops into what God wants, He will open doors for you to serve elsewhere. As principal, I don't want you trying to serve in our school if you haven't learned to serve at home. Back when I was our mission's field director, I would not have wanted you on the field as a VSer if you didn't have a track record of faithful service at home. So, start serving your parent(s)!

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