Friday, 28 March 2014
(2 Timothy 3 v 10)
Christ as Mercy-seat and Deliverer:
The Spirit as power to walk with God.
Jesus Christ and Him crucified,
And the order of the church, His body.
The Son of God, sonship,
And liberty by the Spirit.
Their place in the purposes of God,
And the Man who, in God’s will, heads all.
The descending mind of Christ
And his own mind to pursue.
The glory of the Son of God’s love
And the virtue of the Head.
The hope of the believer
And how to live while waiting.
But Timotheus saw conduct that suited
The teaching: a man sensitive to the guide
Of the Spirit of Jesus, probing patiently
To ascertain God’s way – yet urgent
On a straight course once guided; humbly
Settling with praying women, joining
What God had begun; abiding where God
Opened a heart and door; yet ruthless
Against Satan’s pretences; joyful in prayer
And praise though severely beaten; ready,
As in the spirit of Jesus, to pour a blessing
On the man who had beaten him; and to join
In the joy of the house, fresh in baptism
At the jailor’s table; returning quickly to
The brethren to exhort them: triumph and disaster
Equal blasts to enliven his fire.
I envisage Timothy
With an affectionate smile
As he read Paul’s guidance to
Be cutting in a straight line…
The man from the street called Straight
With his tenacious purpose
Had carried the Lord’s standard
Into many a province –
To espouse saints to one Man
As a chaste virgin to Christ;
Admonishing every man,
With the desire to present
Every man perfect in Christ;
And for himself to know Christ,
Power of His resurrection,
Fellowship of His sufferings.
Faith girded purpose:
He moved in his straight course since
He lived by faith of
The Son of God who loved him,
And who gave Himself for him.
The breastplate of faith
Protected his invasions
Of Satan’s kingdoms –
His way guided through Europe
Philippi was his beachhead.
His pathway ending
Strengthened by God he could say,
I have kept the faith,
I have completed the race,
And I have fought the good fight.
What long-suffering God had shown
With him! As he kicked against
One goad God set another- although
Saints suffered and truth was blasphemed.
So as one to whom long-suffering
Had been shown he patiently knocked
On Jewish doors, as they shut them
In his face – even his turning to the nations
Was to provoke them to jealousy. And saints,
Saw too the long-suffering of the man
Whose hands worked for them; and if
Corinthians were recalcitrant, Galatians legal,
Or Colossians philosophical he worked quietly,
Not irked by the need to repeat his teachings,
Not complaining if compelled to travail again – by
His Lord’s methods seeking his Lord’s glory.
As a sinner to whom
Mercy was shown
He loved the Saviour.
As a son, chosen
In the Beloved,
He loved the Father.
As a mother
Travailing in birth
He loved the Galatians.
As a nurse
With her own children
He loved the Thessalonians.
As a father
In the truth
He loved his children in faith.
As a brother,
Spent for them,
He loved the brethren.
As an apostle,
Selected by the Lord,
He loved the truth.
Winds lamming the sapling,
Hail like slingshot,
The frost imposing its grasp on the soil,
Tribulation works endurance.
Roots strengthened, trunk resilient,
The tree grows, drinking
Sun, air and water,
Fresh weathers and seasons;
Endurance works experience.
Greenness fringes the tree,
Blossoms pink or white out,
Life fruits and seeds;
Experience works hope.
Hard to disentangle persecutions and sufferings
In Paul’s account: in labours exceedingly
Abundant, in stripes to excess, in prisons
Exceedingly abundant, in deaths oft. From the Jews
Five times he received forty stripes, save one.
Thrice he was scourged, once stoned, three times
Have suffered shipwreck; a night and day
He passed in the deep: in journeyings often,
In perils of rivers, in perils of robbers,
In perils from the Jews, in perils from the nations,
In perils in the city, in perils in the desert,
In perils on the sea, in perils among false brethren;
In labour and toil, in watchings often,
In hunger and thirst, in fastings often,
In cold and nakedness. Thus he conquered
And more than conquer through Him that had
Loved him – who had first showed him
How much he must suffer for His name.
And in all things the Spirit of Christ beamed:
Railed at, he blessed; persecuted, he suffered it;
Every way afflicted, but not straitened;
Seeing no apparent issue, but his way not
Entirely shut up; conscious that if he was
Persecuted he was not abandoned; knowing
He was persecuted because of the cross of Christ.
For who desired like Paul to live piously
In Christ Jesus? Blessed they who are persecuted
For righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens!
But there was other suffering too – the mark,
Rather than fighting, of a good soldier. If he
Was in tribulation, it was for the encouragement
And salvation for the saints; rejoicing in sufferings
For them, filling up that which is behind of the tribulations
Of Christ in his flesh, for His body, which is the assembly;
Ready to again travail in birth for his children
Until Christ shall have been formed in them.
And for himself he learned, “And he said to me,
My grace suffices thee; for my power is perfected
In weakness”. While he reckoned that the sufferings
Of this present time are not worthy to be compared
With the coming glory to be revealed to us.