Has something ever caught you off guard? Where you were surprised at what happened in a situation? Maybe it was something someone said or done, and you couldn’t think of a good response? I have been there before, and later I thought about what I could have said or done to help the situation, or maybe even what I shouldn’t have said or done. 2 Timothy 4:2 (KJV), says “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.” Paul was instructing Timothy to be ready to say and do what needed to be said or done at any moment’s notice. This takes study and practice. In order to be knowledgeable about something, one has to research and get information about the subject. When I was in nursing school, we had to write research papers, and be ready to discuss the topic if necessary. In life, we have times where a situation arises, and we must have the wisdom and knowledge to know how to handle the situation. We may not have time to phone a friend, family member, or our pastor, ect. However, if we think about things before hand and study them out in God’s Word and in prayer, when the time comes, it will not catch us unaware. I remember times on the job, all I had time to do was say a quick prayer for direction, and God helped me.
1 Peter 3:15 (KJV) states, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” Notice the order in which Peter gave the instruction here. First, we must sanctify God in our hearts. If we do not have a sanctified heart and life before God, we will not have any convictions, and we will not have any stability, and be more likely to compromise. I’ve known of people that I thought had convictions, but when the time came, they caved! I was deeply saddened at the missed opportunity to stand for what was right by those people. It is a serious thing, because we will have to answer to God for what we said or done. If they had settled it in their heart before then, there wouldn’t have been any questions about it later. The second thing Peter said was, to be ready always. Not sometimes, not every now and then, but always ready to give an answer and a reason of the hope that is “IN YOU.” Again, it is very important to have it in our hearts. Peter expected those he was writing to, to have it in them, not just a head knowledge.
Sometimes, a door will open for us to witness to someone. If we are not careful, we will get busy with our day and things we must do, and not even realize the opportunity is there. I had encountered an elderly person one time who was dying and had dementia. She was confused and had been for a while. One day, I started talking to her, and she had a moment where she was anxious about dying. To make a long story short, I asked if she wanted me to pray for her. She responded, “Yes”. I prayed the sinner’s prayer while choking back the tears, not knowing how much she was understanding. After I said, “Amen,” she said, “Amen”! I realized that she was listening to every word I said. I felt more peace about her dying after that. She had a moment of clarity! Within two days after that, she passed away. What if I had been too busy with what I had to do, to take time to really talk with her? What if I said, she is confused, there’s no need in trying? But, thank God, in that moment of time, I knew what to do and walked through that door of opportunity to help someone know God!
Finally, in 2 Timothy 4:2, it says “with all long suffering and doctrine,” and in 1 Peter 3:15, he tells us, with “meekness and fear”. Sometimes, we say what needs to be said or do what needs to be done, but with the wrong attitude. In both scriptures, they stressed the importance of being patient, gentle, and having a reverence for the truth and the person or situation we are dealing with. It is not something to be taken lightly, hurriedly, or rudely. If we do take it lightly, be in a hurry, or be rude, we will do more damage than we would ever do good! Any benefit from it would be lost, and we will stand in judgment for the lost opportunity, and for also how it affected other people. I can certainly see where I can move up in these areas. Lord, help us all to be instant and have wisdom in every situation we encounter! Let this be our prayer every day!