“It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
I have heard this description applied many times to the process of learning a foreign language. Wouldn’t it be great if a “sprint” of a few grammar lessons and pronunciation classes were enough to yield proficiency? But if you have learned a language, you know that the process simply takes much more time and stamina–more like a marathon. You work continually, returning regularly to the basic building blocks of the language, not becoming complacent but constantly maintaining the “learner” posture.
These verses in 2 Timothy describe a similar mindset. The Apostle Paul writes of “continuing” in what we have learned and believed, going back time and again to the truths of the Scriptures. It’s not enough to breeze through the Bible once and assume that we’ve reaped the entire harvest contained in it. No, we must return over and over to the treasure trove of God’s Word and seek to learn more about God and ourselves, to strengthen our faith, and to deepen our relationship with our Father.
But what else does Paul say that the Scriptures have power to do? He writes that they have the power to make us “wise for salvation.” God’s Word illumines our dark hearts, making us wise for salvation, not just one time when we initially confessed Christ, but repeatedly in our daily lives as we feel our need for Him. True wisdom must be always connected to a realization of our dependence on Jesus, our inability not only to bring ourselves salvation but also to live faithfully in this world in our own strength. Earthly wisdom proclaims to us that “we are enough” or that “we have what we need inside ourselves,” but wisdom from God always points to Christ.
May we continue to return to God’s Word, the fountain of wisdom, as we run the (marathon) race that is the Christian life.
In what ways are you tempted to listen to the world’s wisdom?