Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness” (2 Timothy 2:19 NIV).
On life’s journey, we are assailed with many things, turned in many directions, influenced by various spirits in people to the degree that some–never determine who they are or to whom they belong. We are familiar with such adages as–“birds of a feather flock together,” and “a man is known by the company he keeps,” and “if it quacks like a duck, it must be a duck,” but we do we really understand the implications?
When we look at Paul’s instructions to Timothy, we understand that Timothy was up against some people who attempted to undermine who he was. Apparently, there was much discussion and disagreement over “words” (more likely the interpretation of such) and Paul told him, don’t argue over words, study to make sure he knew what he was talking about and to not let those who had “turned from the truth” influence him in any way. And then, Paul reminds Timothy that God knows those who are His and whoever confesses belonging to Him, must turn away from wickedness (doing those things influenced by evil).
We who confess to having a relationship with God–must understand the implication–not only to those who have a common confession, but for those who do not. There is probably nothing more discouraging to someone who “doesn’t really know Him, yet” to hear those who proclaim they do–arguing over words or rituals or traditions that mean absolutely nothing if God is not in it. Jesus warned us that, “we have made the Word of God of no effect because of our traditions.”
The disparity comes to the forefront when people really do not know to whom they belong. They can tell in the blink of an eye which church they attend (or are members); they can tell someone the pastor’s name; they can even tell what the church believes; they can tell tell when they were baptized, but when asked about having a personal, intimate relationship with God–they stutter. When asked how often they read, meditate or study The Word–they hesitate. They can quickly parrot what others have said about something, but have no knowledge of their own.
When people read the bible for themselves, they would know–“The Lord’s Prayer”–the model given to the disciples, was not meant to be prayer for all things at all times. If that was true, then Jesus would have prayed it when He was in the garden, just before He was arrested. And the same people who repeat this prayer as a mantra, wonder why God is not hearing or responding to them. They do not know that God’s response to us in prayer is based upon a sincere conversation with Him and our faith in Him, not a repetitious monologue. If people had read John–they would have discovered what meaningful prayer entails.
The real problem is–not knowing to whom they belong. If we belong to Jesus, then our behavior and our associations must be indicative of that relationship, rather than a relationship with worldly people who do not know Him!