Listening for the Whistle
2 Timothy 2:1-10
Verse 5 Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules.
Yesterday we started looking at the example that Paul gives Timothy about athletes. Today we are going to look at the last few words of the verse and discuss how playing by the rules plays out in an abiding life.
The coach may lay out the rules for the team members to know, but each sport has its own officials. These officials monitor the event, making sure that the rules are followed. These are people who have studied the rules books and taken tests to prove they know the rules for every possible situation they may encounter. They also are known for conversing when not officiating and giving each other scenarios to test the others’ knowledge of the rules. Without these people the sporting events would become times of great chaos.
They also are often the least liked people on the playing surface. People get so emotionally attached to the various elements of the event, whether it be the players they know or the home team that they faithfully cheer for. It is hard to accept someone telling us that the rules aren’t how we want to see them and it is even harder when personal emotions are involved. That truth spills over into life as well.
In our key verse today we see that to win we must play by the rules. While our world would like us to believe that rules only apply when we agree with them, it is important to remember that rules have a real purpose in maintaining order. Where rules are not enforced things will escalate into something that no one will want to see. This is one way we find the truth about the Church and if it is abiding in the vine. An unconnected Church will be seen as having no guidelines by which they are living.
God put out the rules so that there would be order. He didn’t make one set of rules for one person and another set of rules for second person. His rules are set up so that this event known as the Christian life would not end in a brawl of everyone demanding their own way. He also set us standards of us helping each other live by the rules. To be honest one of the biggest complaints from non-Christians about the Church is that it is full of hypocrites. That is because we haven’t been encouraging our team members to remain in the Vine. A team that allows its members to break the rules without correcting them, doesn’t really want to end up taking home the prize.
Making It Personal
Are you a rule follower? Do you think you are above correcting? How do you feel about correcting other believers?
Making It Personal Kids
Why is following the rules important? Do you have a rule that you find hard to obey? Does God have rules He wants you to follow?
Father, thank You for loving us enough to give us rules to follow so that we can learn what it means to live like Christ. Thank You for giving us the Spirit to help us know when we are crossing the line. Help us never stop listening to the Spirit’s promptings. In Jesus’ name, amen.