Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season…
— 2 Timothy 4:2
In the book of Second Timothy, the apostle Paul gave a long, detailed description of the things that would become more and more prevalent in the last of the last days (see May 10-18 Gems). Later in that same letter, Paul gave this charge to the younger minister: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season…” (2 Timothy 4:2).
The word “instant” is from the Greek word ephistemi, and it means to stand at your post. The word ephistemi is a military term. That’s important because standing at your post entails engaging in spiritual warfare. I won’t delve into a deep study of the subject of spiritual warfare here, but I will say that declaring the Word of God in faith is the highest level of spiritual warfare there is. That’s why it’s especially important for a preacher, or any believer who has God’s Word planted deeply in his heart, to stand and to keep on standing at his post without moving an inch!
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The declaration of God’s Word from the pulpit is another form of spiritual warfare. The preaching and teaching of the Word can have a life-changing, yoke-destroying effect on people’s lives. When the Gospel is proclaimed, the power in those words of truth penetrate the hearts of people who are in sin. The Word of God breaks down strongholds, releases the supernatural power of God, and transforms minds and lives as it changes eternal destinies.
That’s why Satan is always after the pulpit! He attacks it not so much because of the individuals who stand in the pulpit, but rather because of what they declare from their position in Christ and the authority Jesus has delegated to them as ministers of the Gospel. The enemy wants to stop the light from going forth because of the high level of warfare that’s effectively demonstrated when truth penetrates the human spirit and enlightens a person’s mind.
There’s power in the proclamation of the Gospel to snatch a person right out of a lifetime of bondage and plant his feet firmly on the right path. On that path is everything that person could ever need: light for his feet, freedom for his mind, strength and resolve for his will, and vision for a bright future. That’s what God’s Word can do! It is therefore no wonder that Satan tries to stop the preaching, teaching, and ministry of the Word! Mental, emotional, and spiritual strongholds are demolished when the Word of God is proclaimed!
Now you can better see why Paul would go to such great lengths to urge and admonish Timothy to “stay put” — to remain in his place of ministry, or to stay at his post. It’s obvious that he wouldn’t exhort Timothy to stay put somewhere unless the younger minister was being tempted not to stay put. Believers in the church of Ephesus were suffering intense persecution for their faith in Christ. But Paul said to Timothy, “You be instant!” In other words, Paul was exhorting him, “Stay at your post! Don’t leave the position where God placed you!”
Paul’s next words — “in season, out of season” — give us further clues to help us understand why remaining continually stationed where God has placed us is so important. The phrase “in season” was translated from the Greek word kairos, which basically means in good times.
For those of us in the ministry, it’s so much nicer to preach when everyone in the congregation is on our side and thinks we’re great. We love it when everything in the church or ministry is running smoothly with no challenges to distract us. Those are good times! But when people in the church start gossiping about us and about each other, when newspapers are writing stories about us or a family member that are untrue, or when our well-being — or the well-being of our families — is threatened either financially or physically, those are not very good times.
That’s why Paul said that we need to stay at our posts even when things seem to be “out of season.” That phrase was translated from the word akairos, and the prefix a puts a negative spin on kairos. It means when things have changed and they are NOT so wonderful. The whole phrase could be translated: “in good times and bad times!”
What are you supposed to do when pleasant times begin to shift? What do you do when dark storm clouds begin to form in skies that just moments before were clear and blue? You do the same thing you were doing before when times were good! You remain at your post, refusing to budge!
In fact, Paul wrote previously in Second Timothy 3:14, “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them.” In other words, Paul was telling Timothy, “Don’t you budge! Don’t move from the place where God has called you. Stay put! ”
Paul wrote these words to Timothy, but through these Spirit-inspired writings, He is also saying to us: “Stay at your post and don’t budge an inch! Stay there and do what God has told you to do when times are good — and if times turn bad, remain steady and unflinching!”
One thing is sure: As you determine to remain faithful to your divine call and to the place where God has assigned you — as you decide to stay put and refuse to budge an inch — He will empower you with inner strength that enables you to see it through to a glorious conclusion!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, I hear You saying, “Stay at your post, and don’t budge an inch! Stay there, and do what I have told you to do. Be faithful when times are good — and if times turn bad, remain steady and unflinching.” I know that if I’ll remain faithful to the call and to the place where You have called me, You will empower me with inner strength and sufficient grace that will enable me to see my calling through to a glorious conclusion! So, Holy Spirit, I receive Your fortitude to withstand the pressure to give up, give in, and throw in the towel. Strengthen me with the might I inwardly need to stay put and see my assignment through to completion!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that God strengthens me with His might to be faithful, steadfast, and persevering. When times are good or when times are tough, I am consistently constant. I stay put, no matter what. I will not be moved in my committed stance. The grace of God is teaching me how not to be provoked or lured to move away from my post. I keep my focus fastened on Jesus, and my roots grow down deep into Him. His stability keeps me grounded and enables me to be faithful to the call and to the place where God has planted me.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Where has God called you that requires you to have inner fortitude to “stay put”? Are you remaining faithful to stay in that place, regardless of whether the times are good or bad?
- Can you think of a time when the conditions for what you were doing were nearly perfect, but then suddenly or slowly the atmosphere changed and it became more difficult? What did you do when things turned more difficult? Did you stay put, or did you relinquish your God-given place to someone else?
- What about right now? Are you in a good season or a difficult season? Are you allowing yourself to be filled and refilled with the Holy Spirit so that you have the inner strength you need to finish to a grand and glorious conclusion, regardless of what things feels like right now?