“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, by the will of God, according to the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus”. (2 Timothy 1:1)
There’s a truckload of encouraging information in this opening sentence of Paul’s letter to Timothy. He states he is an apostle, one who is sent. Sent not by just anyone, but God himself. That it was God’s will that he fulfill this earthly role he knows he was given.
Of course Paul was a great guy, completely sold out to Jesus. But as he himself states he is no better than anyone; in fact he classifies himself as a chief of sinners (1 Tim 1:15) and joins himself with all humanity in stating we are all sinners (Rom 3:23).
So after I got over thinking that’s just Paul, God’s superstar I had to ask myself, what is God’s will for me? Am I floating through life trying to make myself comfortable, worrying about the upcoming football season, or what new restaurant I would next like to try? Is this God’s will for me? Convicted! As I examine myself I need to evaluate my priorities and motivations for what I do, and how I spend my time and money. What is God’s will for me, not my will for me.
Paul’s clear statement indicates he was very sure of God’s will for him which encourages me because it means I can also actually know why God created me and what he wants me to accomplish here on earth. It is not a mystery, I can know why I am here, and know his will for my life.
I was even more encouraged in Paul’s mention of the promise of life in Jesus. Yes the God of the universe promises me that if I obey him, that is live in his will, am promised a life in him. The word for life here is “zoe”, meaning absolute fulness of life both essential and ethical, a real genuine life, with vitality. It does not say it will be easy or comfortable, it will be a life that is full.
All this is so much more meaningful knowing that Paul likely wrote this letter while in prison and was anticipating the end of his life. Later in this letter he writes: “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge, will award to me on that last day.” (2 Tim 4: 6-8a)
Paul endured all that life threw at him while here on earth knowing and focused on fulfilling what God’s will was for him and knowing and trusting in the promise of a life in Christ Jesus. I desire to live this way as well, and it is encouraging to know that I can.