*Translated from the Greek su de, meaning ‘But for you . . .’ (see 2 Timothy 2:1; 3:10, 14; 4:5).”
“Timothy, within the Church there will be a decline in godliness. People are going to be arrogant and lovers of money. They will be greedy. They will not be submissive, but rebellious. False teachers will rise up. But for you . . .
“There will be carnal reasoning among believers, backsliding, laziness, self-centered living and self-seeking. But for you, Timothy, be different! Be bold as a lion; don’t be afraid. Be authentic and genuine. Be unselfish. Don’t follow the crowd. If need be, Timothy, stand alone. But for you, be faithful until the end. There is a crown waiting for you.”
This call to live by godly character is the same message we in this world of compromise and casual Christianity need to hear today. That is why I bring Paul’s words to remembrance and say: My brothers and sisters, but for you, be different. It is only the one “who overcomes and does [His] will to the end” (Revelation 2:26) who will receive the reward. Full-time Christian workers all around us may grow cold and their love for Christ may fade. Many will pursue money, honor from men, position and power, and will seek their own. But for you, stay on the narrow road. Walk alone if need be. Always remember there is a higher call.
A few years ago, I heard of one brother from Tripura who remembered this higher call and pursued the narrow road. By the grace of God, he planted seven churches in three months’ time. When asked his secret to such success, he replied, “I pray as much as I work and work as much as I pray.” This small statement gave a glimpse into the solid, godly character within this man.
It was not merely his actions that made me remember him or that made the difference in his ministry. Most anyone can discipline themselves to perform all the right actions. What matters is where these actions flow from. And for this man, it was a heart that was committed to Jesus. Like Paul, he sought to be well-pleasing to God and run strong the race He had set before him.
It is this kind of life and character that makes the difference. If you were to ask this brother, “How much does your church pay you for working five hours and praying five more? How much do they pay you for being like your Master, who stayed up all night to pray?” He would surely reply, “What did you say? What do you mean, ‘How much do I get paid for praying during the night?’ ”
You see, this question has no meaning for him. His life is hidden in Christ, and he lives for Him alone, not for recognition, not for a salary and not for personal gain. He serves and lives by godly character, knowing that it was God who called him and it is God alone whom he must please.
This kind of living is a choice that only you can make. Only you can choose to press on. God’s grace will meet you at the point of your decision. When others around you, even those you may have once esteemed, look for an easier, more relaxed road, only you can make the choice to press past that and continue your pursuit, pressing on toward the mark. No matter what others may be doing or what may be accepted as the norm, hear the Lord Jesus saying, But for you, you follow Me. Set your hand to the plow, and My grace will be there to keep you, if only you choose to stand against the wind and press on toward the higher call.
May you be given strength to run strong in His grace and join in the great line of men and women who set their faces like flint and accomplished great things for God. Will you be one to stand out from the rest and be remembered in heaven and on earth for the impact you made upon your generation? Will you choose to stand against the wind and be recognized by God in His search for men?
The choice is yours.