That's The Book: 2nd Timothy
The girls and I have been working our way through a book called Drawing from the Right side of the brain. It contains a series of exercises to help you learn how to draw accurately. One of the major skills is to start to see the world as it is really not as your logical left brain expects it to be. For example, very large things which are far away can appear smaller than small things which are very close. Learning to draw things as they actually appear instead of the symbolic forms your brain has always found useful is a hard switch. Effective. But difficult.
The book of 2 Timothy is similar. Paul is asking Timothy to face the world as it is - a mess full of currupt people who love to engage in fruitless arguments. Believers face hardship.
But mark this; There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self control, brutal , not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. 2 Timothy 3; 1-5
Some people preach an easy gospel. I’ve read those books. Trust Jesus and you’ll find the perfect spouse, make a million dollars, have beautiful skin and lord knows your children will be raised up in the way they should go - never embarrassing you in public. This is like the stick figures in drawing. It’s fake.
That’s not life. Kids get snotty or worse rebel into full loss land. People leave. Cancer hits. Loneliness, discouragement and despair aren’t what we advertise. But sometimes it is what real life looks like. Paul gives no such glib advice like work harder and magically succeed.
In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and imposters will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 2 Timothy 3: 12-13
The good news is Paul's letter includes the truth about God as well.
This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 2 Timothy 1: 9b-10
You see it? The truth of the state of the world is dark and dreary. But the truth of the gospel is glorious. Eternal. True in the midst of great heart ache. True for us as well. And the truthful telling of how the world is and how great and wide God’s faithfulness is more beautiful than the cartoon fake gospel.
That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. 2 Timothy 1:12
Perhaps the thing I find most encouraging about 2 Timothy is how everything was still bad, not resolved and messy. 1st Timothy was an encouragement letter from Paul to Timothy about how to handle a struggling congregation amidst difficulty. And presumably Timothy took the advice. And everything didn’t resolve into a neat package of perfection. So 2 Timothy is a reality based letter to keep on keeping on when it’s hard. If the church leaders in the early church faced difficulty and were honest about it I can be too.
Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in christ Jesus with eternal glory. Here is a trustworthy saying: if we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless; he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself. 2 Timothy 2:10-13
One of the things I’m really enjoying about my art book is the step by step practical tips. Closing one eye helps figure out perspective. Using toned paper helps smooth out mistakes. I am not a talented enough artist to figure these tips on my own.
And my faith? Same. I’m not intuitive enough to figure out how to preservere on my own. So I’m grateful for 2 Timothy.Paul goes into detail practically about how to endure and remain faithful.
Preach the word, be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage - with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of the evangelist discharge all the duties of your ministry. 2 Timothy 4: 2-5
Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. 2 Timothy 2:23-26
If you want to do good art it helps to have good tools. Paper, brushes, pencils. Paul also provides good reminders that we have tools given by God.
All scripture is God breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16
“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, For God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power, of love and of self discipline. 2 Timothy 1: 6-3
Keep your eyes on the end game. Art requires us to really see what we are trying to draw. Paul is telling Timothy the same. If you keep your eyes on heaven the picture gets clear.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day - and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 2 Timothy 4 6-8
The Lord will reduce me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. 2 Timothy 4: 18
My goal in learning to draw is to gain a new way of seeing and reflecting the world. 2 Timothy makes me think perhaps the goal is to see and reflect heaven.
The team at The Bible Project is my favorite resource. They don’t disappoint with this talk.
In case you too want to learn to draw here is a link to the book we are working our way through at home.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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