think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. [2 timothy 2:7]
being aware and engaged in the PRESENCE of God usually involves intentionality and effort.
two points of clarification. 1) if you are a Christ follower who has faithed Jesus’ work to make you right with God, you are always in the presence of God. the Spirit of God lives in you. being aware and engaged with his presence is another matter altogether. 2) i say, “being aware and engaged in the presence of God usually involves intentionality and effort” because there are moments when God shows up in such an overwhelming way, you are aware and engaged in his presence. you weren’t seeking him in any way and yet, he came. and, you are aware you are in the presence of God. while this happens, usually if we are going to be aware and engaged with his presence – intentionality and effort are required. give me an example you say.
in chapter 2 verse 7, paul tells timothy if you want to fully understand what God has just led me to write about disciple making and suffering (vs 1-6), it will require intentionality and effort. “think over what I say.” and God says, as you think over these things, I, the LORD will give you the understanding. God will be in your presence, and you will be aware and engaged with him as he gives revelation about himself in context of disciple making and suffering. but, what does it mean to – “think over?”
“think over” is a great little word that is pregnant with meaning for us. the greek word is noel. this is not the french word for natal or birth that we know from Christmas. rather, this word is from ancient greek and it means – to intentionally put careful thought and time into something. it carries the idea of putting intentionality and effort of thought into a problem, idea, or truth. and, it always involves extra time – not just a fly by second of divided attention. what a command from God – put time, effort, and intentionality into my Word, and I, “the LORD will give you understanding in everything.”
what is most amazing to me about this little passage is not that God will give us understanding into his words. he promises this all through the Word. [prov 2:3-6; is 28:26; luke 24:45; john 14:26; john 16:13; james 1:5; 1 john 5:20]
what is most amazing – the LORD himself is interacting with your mind and my mind, speaking to us and giving us understanding through his presence!
anytime you understand the words of the Lord, it is due to the LORD giving you understanding through his presence. teachers, pastors, leaders, friends, parents, and others are all just mouthpieces when they speak the words of God to us. they do not make it so you can understand and grasp the deep truths of our majestic and glorious God. God uses them for sure, but the LORD alone reveals himself and his truths to us and he does this … in our presence.
today, be intentional and give some effort to the words of God you will read. (my encouragement, reread through a passage you have already spent time in this week – maybe 2 timothy 2:1-7 or romans 8:12-17 from sunday.) God is with you through His Spirit. if you take a moment, he will give understanding, he will speak, and you will know you have been with God.
[practical application for busy moms: spend the whole day pondering one truth, one thought from God. your day might be hectic, and spending 30 minutes might be tough. so spend 5 and then allow one truth to invade your thoughts all day. as you work, clean, play, work, change diapers, work, solve problems, work – think on this one thing as you can. God is with you and will speak and give understanding.]
LORD, slow me down, slow down my mind. give me the ability with intentionality and effort to focus my thoughts on your words. and LORD, will you then give me understanding through your presence. in Jesus name, amen!
~ john ryan