Editor’s note: This back-to-school devotion is slightly adapted from one of CTA’s devotion books for Christian Workers, Shaping Hearts; Changing Lives: 30 Days to Grow in Service. As the new school year begins, we encourage you to use this devotion and the value-priced gifts from Shaping Hearts; Changing Lives to uplift teachers as they prepare to guide students at every stage of life and Christian growth.
Hubris. Conceit. Arrogance. We might accuse the apostle Paul of all this and more as we read his New Testament letters. Again and again he says, in essence, “Imitate me! Use me as your pattern! Live and serve as I do!”
But Paul’s words have nothing to do with self-confidence – accent on “self”! No. This is the confidence of a forgiven servant of Christ, standing firm beneath the cross:
Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. (2 Timothy 1:13-14 ESV)
Paul learned, believed, and taught the “sound words” of Christ. Paul had received faith and love from Christ. The Holy Spirit stood guard over this good deposit—and Paul knew it.
Do you share Paul’s confidence as you serve? You can! The same “sound words” are at work in you, the same faith and love are alive in you, the same gracious Savior energizes you!
Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. (Hebrews 13:7 ESV)
Read and Talk About This
In Acts 20:17-38, we catch a glimpse of Paul’s relationship with those he served. The tender love and confident authority Christ had shaped in him changed the lives of many!
- What does this text say about your relationship with those you serve?
- What does it say about your relationship with those who exercise spiritual authority over you?
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