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Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. 2 Timothy 2:5

Read: 2 Timothy 2:5
Listen: 2 Timothy 2

As Paul continues to urge Timothy to multiply Jesus’s disciples, he turns to the image of an athlete. Athletes train and work hard but can only win when abiding by the rules of their sport. Paul seems to urge Timothy to do the work of Jesus according to the way of Jesus. Jesus taught his followers that they are to love God and love others (Matthew 22:37-39). Sharing Jesus’s message and helping others grow reflects Jesus’s love and his character of grace and truth (John 1:14).

The same is true for us today. We can get caught up in doing the work of Jesus but neglect the way of Jesus. Condemnation and harsh correction can turn people away from the gospel, especially when we have not taken the time to invest in authentic, loving relationships. We can only speak truth to others if we have earned their trust. We earn trust when we display a Christlike character and spend meaningful time with people. When we love like Jesus did, we offer something different than the rest of the world. Our faith becomes irresistible and contagious to those around us. A life ruled by Christ’s love results in the ultimate victory of strengthening others in faith and inspiring faith that spreads through generations.

TODAY: Ask God to grow your character to be more and more like Jesus. Consider the Fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Identify one that you would like God to grow in you. Ask for his help to share that fruit in your interactions this week.


Read Exodus 36-37. Highlight anything that points to Jesus. Note the details for the tabernacle and priests and how they may point to Jesus.