Doing Your Best for God 2 1So, my son, throw yourself into this work for Christ. 2Pass on what you heard from me—the whole congregation saying Amen!—to reliable leaders who are competent to teach others. 3When the going gets rough, take it on the chin with the rest of us, the way Jesus did. 4A soldier on duty doesn’t get caught up in making deals at the marketplace. He concentrates on carrying out orders. 5An athlete who refuses to play by the rules will never get anywhere. 6It’s the diligent farmer who gets the produce. 7Think it over. God will make it all plain. 8Fix this picture firmly in your mind: Jesus, descended from the line of David, raised from the dead. It’s what you’ve heard from me all along. 9It’s what I’m sitting in jail for right now—but God’s Word isn’t in jail! 10That’s why I stick it out here—so that everyone God calls will get in on the salvation of Christ in all its glory. 11This is a sure thing: If we die with him, we’ll live with him; 12If we stick it out with him, we’ll rule with him; If we turn our backs on him, he’ll turn his back on us; 13If we give up on him, he does not give up— for there’s no way he can be false to himself. 14Repeat these basic essentials over and over to God’s people. Warn them before God against pious nitpicking, which chips away at the faith. It just wears everyone out. 15Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won’t be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple. 16Stay clear of pious talk that is only talk. Words are not mere words, you know. If they’re not backed by a godly life, 17they accumulate as poison in the soul. Hymenaeus and Philetus are examples, 18throwing believers off stride and missing the truth by a mile by saying the resurrection is over and done with. 19Meanwhile, God’s firm foundation is as firm as ever, these sentences engraved on the stones: God knows who belongs to him. spurn evil, all you who name god as god. 20In a well–furnished kitchen there are not only crystal goblets and silver platters, but waste cans and compost buckets—some containers used to serve fine meals, others to take out the garbage. 21Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing. 22Run away from infantile indulgence. Run after mature righteousness—faith, love, peace—joining those who are in honest and serious prayer before God. 23Refuse to get involved in inane discussions; they always end up in fights. 24God’s servant must not be argumentative, but a gentle listener and a teacher who keeps cool, 25working firmly but patiently with those who refuse to obey. You never know how or when God might sober them up with a change of heart and a turning to the truth, 26enabling them to escape the Devil’s trap, where they are caught and held captive, forced to run his errands.
The Message® / © 2002 Eugene H. Peterson About