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"there has only ever been one perfect man, the Lord Jesus, and we killed him. I only missed a putt."

Berhard Langer on the 1991 Ryder Cup

Know Your Opponent

Know Your Opponent! 2 Timothy 3:1-17

As sportspeople we understand the importance of knowing our opponent, knowing their strengths and weaknesses and how they are lively to attack us.

Paul’s description of society “lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good” (2 Timothy 3:2-3) has a contemporary ring to it.

This catalogue of the human heart listed here is what makes living for Christ in the world of sport hard and dangerous. This is the typical human condition

When Paul writes “but you” (verse 10) he is contrasting a good model with a previously outlined bad model (1:15, 3:10, 13; 4:3-4). We return here to the theme running throughout the letter, the unchanging apostolic theme that the Christian message is the gospel preached through suffering. Timothy, Christians must suffer for the gospel, whilst impostors will go from bad to worse, believing their own propaganda.

Paul’s message to counter the evils of society is simply the gospel. Timothy has had the privilege of a upbringing in the faith and is therefore familiar with the Scriptures.

He wants to focus Timothy’s attention on Scripture which, he says, is valuable for “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” which cover the broad areas of mind, reason, conscience and will in the Christian’s training. Timothy’s job, and ours, is to train people for ministry by helping them to work with suffering leaders who primarily study the scriptures in order to preach the gospel. Nothing else needs a place in the training curriculum!

Go and do that in the world of sport!

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