We’ve been looking at serving God while we are spiritually dry—or during times which Paul refers to as being “out of season.” When these times come it is wise to remember the fact of the ultimate judgment and just Who it is that we will give an account to in that day.
Paul says to young Timothy that there is a solemn charge he gives him—but he gives it to him not with Paul as his judge. There is One before Whom Timothy shall stand Who is far greater than any human being we know—or ever will know. Paul says this, “I charge you in the presence of God.” The phrase, “in the presence” is a legal term. It was used to speak of a court case where one would come before a judge. If you judge were named Bill Jones, your summons would read something like this, “You are commanded to appear in the presence of Bill Jones this Friday.” When someone received something like this, they would know that they were going to be standing in judgment for whatever case they faced. What the judge said in that instance would be final. In much the way that this happened, Paul is trying to impress upon us the seriousness of our own day before God.
What if you just didn’t feel like appearing before the judge that day? You would appear any way—because the option not to appear wasn’t given to you. You WILL show up on that day—and you WILL be judged according to the law. What Paul is saying to Timothy is that he needs to remember Who is going to be judging him in the end. Knowing this Timothy will be motivated to walk in God’s will regardless of whether he was in season or out of season.
Paul also makes it clear that this is no human courtroom. We are to appear “in the presence of God and Jesus Christ—WHO IS TO JUDGE THE LIVING AND THE DEAD!” There is no one who will not stand before God and give account. That accounting will be based upon the clear commandments of His Word—which are NOT contingent on whether we felt like we were having a good day or a bad one. Living in light of this should motivate us to love and serve God—if not out of a feeling of love—out of a choice based on godly wisdom and very real accountability. Sure, it would be great if we did all we do out of strong good feelings, but that is not always guaranteed. Therefore when we have those “out of season moments” we obey out of clear obligation and accountability to God for our actions.
When you are “out of season” spiritually, in one of those dry spells that come in life—how do you remain motivated in your relationship with God? What is it that should drive us in these times—so that we continue to live for the Lord and continue to share His Word with others? This is important for us to know, because far too often people live their lives according to their emotions and the feelings. Therefore, when they no longer have strong feelings moving within them, they have a bad tendency to thrown in the towel spiritually until their “feelings” return. That is not how God wants us to live. He wants us to live life by choices, not by feelings. He desires for us to make tough choices based upon what He Word teaches.
Paul, in speaking to Timothy about this says to him, “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” The command here is to “preach the Word” - but the motivation comes earlier in this verse. Paul begins by giving Timothy this as a “solemn charge.” This two word phrase means to give a very serious command or directive. We continue “out of season” because we are doing God’s will. This is important for us to grasp. We are not living out of religious convenience—but out of a direct command from God Himself.
Christians sometimes think that what they do is done as the better option. But this is living, as I said earlier, out of religious convenience. We don’t follow the Lord because it is one of several options available to us. We live for Him because we are literally His. In 1 Corinthians 6:20 Paul tells the Corinthians, “You were bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your bodies.” This is not just one of many options for us. We are God’s possession and as such are to do what He says immediately when He says it. That IS our option! It is our ONLY option!
When you face those “out of season” times in life, remember that God has bought you with the price of the blood of His Son on the cross. In light of this we are to remember, regardless of our feelings, just Whose we are. Facing this truth we will be able to make choices in light of this and obey God—even when it feels like we are “out of season” and spiritually dry.
Most of these articles are taken from the Calvary Courier, a weekly newsletter that is sent to the folks who attend Calvary Chapel Jonesboro. Due to the response to these articles, we've decided to print some of them which proved to be very helpful to God's people at the fellowship.
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