Text 2 Timothy 1:1-10
Timothy was a young man from Lystra which is in modern day Turkey. Timothy’s father was a Greek, but his mother was a Jewish Christian. It is likely that Paul led Timothy to faith in Jesus Christ when he visited Lystra on his missionary Journeys, and on his second visit to the town, he asked Timothy to join him on his missionary journeys. This is true discipleship; Paul takes Timothy along with him, showing him the good and the bad times. It is one thing to allow a young person into your life and say you will nurture them in their Christian walk, but it is a totally different scenario when you invite them to walk beside you and see how you respond in both the good and the bad times. Real Discipleship does not happen in the Sunday school class, it happens in the streets and in the community.
Paul was encouraging Timothy to endure hardship and not run away from it (verse 8). Paul was not asking Timothy to do something that he was not prepared to do himself. We need to be careful not to encourage younger believers to do things that we are not prepared to do ourselves.
Let us ensure that our lives are the testimony that others want to emulate as they follow our example.
Paul obviously knew Timothy really well and knew that he had a tendency to be timid and fearful. Paul had seen Timothy in ministry and knew that he had been given a pastoral gift by God; he was concerned that Timothy was not using and cultivating this gift.
When we become a true follower of Jesus Christ and make him Lord of our lives the Holy Spirit comes and lives in us, and gives us spiritual gifts, we each have them. But we need to put them into practice and exercise these gifts, cultivating them for the glory of God. We need to cultivate our spiritual gifts by serving and being obedient to the prompting of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
How we need this today, not just in our own lives but this needs to be something that we intentionally speak about and cultivate in the next generation of believers. The Christian life is not easy; it is the narrow road and one that has many challenges. If we are telling people about Jesus and promising them that he will solve all their problems then we are being misleading. Jesus himself said in Matthew 16:24; “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
This is the life that Paul was speaking about when he was encouraging Timothy to not be timid or fearful.
There are many intimidating things in this world but do not have to be timid or fearful, because we know that Jesus Christ won the victory on the cross and as a result we don’t have to fear what man could do, we are even delivered from the very fear of death.
One of the most powerful and effective weapons that Satan has in his arsenal is the weapon of fear, but if we are secure in Jesus Christ as our foundation, fear does not have to have any hold on us.
Fear has prevented many Christians from experiencing all that God intends for you in your life. Fear of death, fear of failure, fear of financial loss, fear of tomorrow – and the list goes on and on. Fear’s goal is to create a cowardly, joyless soul. He wants you to take your eyes off the mountain peak and settle for the dull existence of the flat lands. We need to live fearless as we live by faith. Satan has been overcome and Jesus won the victory on the cross (Hebrews 13:6).
Many of us have a wonderful heritage of faith that we have received from our parents and grandparents, much like Timothy who received his example from his mother and grandmother. But the role of parents is to shelter and protect, make sure that our children are not hurt or exposed to anything that might create pain.
But Paul here as the spiritual father of Timothy, sees things from a different perspective he sees things in the light of eternity, and the fact that risking it all now for the sake of the Gospel is the best way to spend our lives in order to receive an eternal reward.
A recent pew report showed that many of the younger generations are leaving the church. Why is this we ask ourselves? The truth is that young people today want to be challenged and want to have a cause worth dying for. They are bored with the neatly packaged professional church Christianity. That holds no appeal to them because they don’t see how it impacts and changes lives. They read about the great missionaries of the past, Hudson Taylor, William Carey, Adoniram Judson and others and they want that life, a cause worth dying for. The church needs to become a risk taking movement and relies on God for direction and power.
Who is your timothy? Who are you setting example for?
Remember two things;
Firstly: that the person you are training and encouraging, needs to see in your life the example of faith and reckless abandon. Not fearing man or anything that man could say or do. Then your “Timothy” will take to heart quickly everything you say and do.
Secondly: make sure that you do not become overprotective, trust the Lord for the development of that person; you cannot do what only God can do. Your role is to expose that person to the truth in word and deed and then allow them to go and try out their wings.
You may feel inadequate; you can quickly point to all your own failings and weaknesses. Well I have good news for you; “God only uses weak and broken people” He can use you to as long as you are willing.
Ask God to bring someone into your life that you can nurture and disciple.