Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
In 2 Timothy, Chapter 2, the Apostle Paul is giving some very important advice to Timothy, his protégé, and one who would become a minister of the Gospel message after Paul. So, while this Chapter is often stressed as a message for Pastors and Ministers, I believe it applies to all Christians. After all, aren't we all declared ministers of Christ, a holy priesthood, a spiritual house and body of Believers? And this verse gives us explicit instructions as to how we are to conduct our ministry; just as it did Timothy in his day.
First Paul is telling us we must be "diligent" to present ourselves "approved" to God. Just what does this mean? Sadly, I think that the Modern Church has lost the significance of this passage. As I have stated so many times, there is much deception within the Church, today. First of all, most Christians do not see themselves as a "minister of the Gospel." That title is reserved for a single person who is a full-time employee at the building they attend every Sunday morning, and who is single-handedly in charge of deciphering a Bible message for the masses each week. That is not Biblical!
As Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 4:1-2: "This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy[or faithful]." Did you notice what he said? We are all "servants of Christ". We are all "Stewards of the mysteries of God, which can only be found by strenuously devoting oneself to discovering the revelations of His Word, in His book. And we are all to be found "trustworthy and faithful." This is the exact same message he is giving in 2 Timothy, Chapter 2!
As ministers and stewards, it is our responsibility to be diligent -- to be conscientious, persistent, and tireless -- in studying God's "mysteries" as presented in the Bible. We should all be "dividing" the Word of God; which is to separate what is Truth from what has been misinterpreted, and to distribute it to all people.
When we dedicate ourselves to studying and teaching the Word in Truth (which is what ministering is), then we are able to present ourselves "approved" to God. I'd like to say two things about that ... first, our concern should be to be approved to God, not approved by man. Our focus should be on Him. Secondly, I want to stand before God and hear Him say my work for His Kingdom meets His stamp of approval -- He recognizes that I have made His glorification the center of my work here on earth, and that I have fulfilled His unique purpose for my life. I have nothing to be ashamed about, and no regrets.
When it comes right down to it, as ministers of the Gospels, we Christians are to be workers for the Kingdom. At the center of that Kingdom is the Gospel Message of Christ, which fills God's Holy Word from the opening verses of Genesis to the final words of Revelation. Christ, Himself, gave us the awesome (awe-inspiring, magnificent) task of telling the world about Him. Everything about our Savior is revealed in the Bible; and yet, as 21st Century followers, too many of us pay too little heed to the one book that is filled with Him.
My journey through His Word will be never-ending; new depths of joy and wonder are revealed every moment I spend in the Holy Scriptures. And as Christ's minister and ambassador, I am not ashamed of sharing what I have learned. May the Church re-discover the Truth about who they are to be!