It is good for us to know the things we need to be doing regardless of our current emotional state or feelings. These things are powerful sign posts that help us to stay on the road when we would rather pull off and quit—or take an extended vacation from walking with God and fulfilling our ministry in life. Paul lays out for young Timothy some very good sign posts for him. If we will learn from these things and make them a part of our life, we will find ourselves greatly aided in staying focused in those times when we are struggling with being out of season.
The first of these sign posts is to be sober in all things. The word sober means to be sober-minded—or watchful in all things. We are to watch God’s Word, watch for God’s Spirit as He leads and teaches us—and watch for the dangers of temptation when we might otherwise be distracted by struggling with our emotions. If we do not watch and pray—we will find ourselves led by our emotions rather than by God’s Spirit.
The second sign post is to endure hardship. We are all going to face hardships. This may not be popular among some theological circles—but it is quite popular with Jesus. When these times come we need to endure them. The word “endure” here is pretty awesome. It is the Greek word, kakopatheo—which means to endure evil or difficulty and the emotions that come with it. The second word “patheo” means emotions or passions. God knows that we will face difficult feelings and emotions when these times come—but we must endure them knowing He will give us grace to endure and stand fast.
The last two sign posts are to do the work of an evangelist (keep working to lead people to Christ) and to fulfill our ministry. We have to keep keeping on in these things—no matter what we face in out of season times. These sign posts will help us keep going—and to not get turned down a wrong road. May God give both you and I grace to read the sign posts—and follow them—especially when we are “out of season.”