Continuing through 2 Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness” I want to focus in on the last phrase “training in righteousness.” If you are on LEAD/GROW with us, then you learned a while back in your group discipleships that righteousness simply means living a life in right standing with God. Right standing with God refers to the purity of our intentions, it does not mean we have to do everything right and perfect… that would be impossible, people… However, to evaluate the intentions of our hearts we must look into our actions, our mindsets, and everything in between. Please don’t put too much pressure on yourself after hearing this, remember this isn’t a lifestyle that happens overnight, there is a reason this scripture uses the word “train.” We have to actively pursue living in righteousness every day, and over time it becomes easier and easier because we have strengthened the muscles of our hearts and minds to naturally choose to live this way. I believe that once we step into a lifestyle of righteousness, we won’t be able to help but feel empowered and equipped to perform good works for God everywhere we go.
But now that we know scripture is useful in training righteousness, how exactly does that work? And what exactly is this good work that it will produce? .
When I hear the term good work my mind automatically goes to some sort of act of service or other tangible action. But boy was my world opened up when I read an excerpt by Dr. Paul Elliot discussing the concept of good works throughout the bible. He stated “The Biblical definition of ‘good works’ is not merely ‘good deeds’. Biblical ‘good works’ encompass every aspect of our thinking and conduct before God.” Therefore, good works equates righteousness.
Quick Greek lesson for you! Logos refers to the totality of the written word, or basically the bible as a whole. The rhema word of God refers to the spoken word of God, rhema literally translates as “utterance.” Essentially this just means God incorporates scripture into His perfect timing in your life. Think about when a pastor is giving a sermon, they quote a piece of scripture and all of the sudden you are shocked at how they just read every piece of your mail from the week. That is the rhema word of God coming out in God’s perfect timing to help you apply it to your current circumstance. How kind of God to do that!
Another example for you: In Matthew 4 Jesus is in the wilderness. Nearing the end of his 40 day fast the enemy attempts to get to him in his weakness and cause Him to stumble in temptation. Each of the 3 times the devil attacked Jesus in the wilderness he tempted him with deception of the truth. But because Jesus knew the written word of god (which is the truth) through and through, each time the enemy tried to deceive him he could recall specific pieces of scripture to fight back at what the enemy was saying. We know he was using scripture to guide him because he said “it is written” before he quoted specific verses. The enemy, while persistent, eventually gave up and left Jesus to finish what he started. Had he not pulled this rhema word and knew the foundation in which he was being led, he could have fallen into the enemy’s trap. He could have doubted God, not fulfilled his duty, or even make decisions that would lead to severe consequences for all of us today. But he stood firm, he allowed scripture to move through his thoughts and equip him to stand firm against the enemies tactics and align the position of His heart with God’s will - which as we have learned is the basis for every good work we set out to do. Therefore we should constantly be in the word seeking to better understand and build up the library of scripture stored away in our brain. The more we read through it, the easier it is to draw from this rhema word to guide us into good works.
One of the first pieces you should store away in your mind is found in Galatians 5:22 where we are told the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. If you want a guide to how you can perform good works, these 9 fruits should be your home-base. As you walk in these fruits, you are aligning your heart with the character of God. When you make these your core, you can discern more of God's truth and knowing this truth allows us to make good decisions in every circumstance.
Ask yourself, are you allowing yourself to be deceived by comfort of this world, or are you aligning your actions/thoughts/beliefs with what God’s heart is? The more you know the bible the easier it is to decipher. But the more you put it on the back burner, the more you won’t know what you stand on and the shakier your foundation will become. Shaky foundations make it way easier to fall down and give in to temptations of the flesh and/or submit to false authorities. So as you open your bible next time, I challenge you to remember that it is God-breathed. Let it teach you - let it rebuke you when necessary - let it train you in righteousness. As you do this you can begin to build the base for every good work you do for God’s glory day after day.
Author | Tori Kramer