The writings [letters] of the apostle Paul in the New Testament to the churches and young Timothy reveal his fatherly character. Paul was loving, kind, nurturing, promoted harmony and the appropriate conduct for believers. Yet, he was a disciplinarian who believed in self-control, structure, discipline, and strict obedience to God. The apostle encouraged the early Christians to strive for the mark because eternal life would be the reward for the faithful. And yes, they needed strong and consistent spiritual support because the Roman Empire persecuted and killed many of the early church Christians.
The emphasis is not a historical overview of the suffering of those who follow Christ but a reminder of our religious liberty and the freedom to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. The selection of churches and the decision to join a body of believers is a choice that we take for granted as modern-day Christians. Yet, in 2021, there are individuals who are forced to worship secretly. And how many are experiencing persecution from families and governments because of their commitment to serve Jesus?
“I am writing to Timothy, my true son in the faith…” 1 Timothy 1:2
Young Timothy had proven himself with the zeal and energy to witness. He was a faithful disciple who had a passion to make disciples. Timothy witnessed to many individuals who accepted Jesus as Lord. The Apostle Paul became his spiritual mentor, writing two letters–1st and 2nd Timothy to provide guidance on the practical matters of the church. Even so, it was Paul’s intent to teach Timothy that he was a spiritual role model who must have strong faith, a godly conscience, to remain above reproach, and utilize the spiritual gifts that God had given him (1 Timothy 4:12–16). Mentoring still remains a vital component of Christian believers: Those who are strong in faith and spiritually mature are admonished to provide mentoring to the babes in Christ.
Sadly, we do not see the need for spiritual support, and many new believers become overwhelmed. Feeling alone, they eventually give up and return to their former way of life.
By the time, Paul wrote the letter of 2nd Timothy, he was a prisoner waiting for execution. The natural and expected emotional reaction from Timothy occurred [being mindful of your tears…2 Timothy 1:4]. Paul acknowledged his grief but reminded him that he possessed faith. “when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.” 2 Timothy 1:5. But there was a greater problem, Timothy feared for his own life.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
Not only did Paul confront Timothy regarding his fear of suffering and death, in reading the remainder of the letter [chapter] Paul reminded him that there is no shame in suffering, and to remain loyal to the Faith despite the outcome.
The letters of 1 and 2 Timothy are for us–today’s Christian believers. Many have little to no faith when faced with stormy trials, seasons of darkness, and daily hardships. Is lack of faith and possessing fear the characteristics of believers? Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6.
Be strong and courageous! We serve a powerful and loving God who promises to take care of us. Acknowledge and accept your God-given character: Fearless, powerful, loving, possessing mental, emotional, and spiritual strength–a rational mind knowing and believing in faith God will deliver us and bring victory to our situation.
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. Isaiah 43:2
If any one should have anxieties, and worries, it should only occur in the unbelievers who do not acknowledge or serve God.
Believers in the Most-High God begin to study the Bible, pray without ceasing, and ask to be guided and directed by the Holy Spirit. We cannot be prepared for the revocation of religious freedom and the persecution that “we the free” will experience one day without the knowledge of God’s Word and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Nor can we remain faithful in trying times. Proclaim your heritage–God is our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ redeemed us from sin, and the Holy Spirit is our Teacher and Comforter!
Bible Study: 1 and 2 Timothy
Prayer: God, we admit that we are not studying the Bible as we should, nor do we pray enough. Our burdens are heavy. We didn’t realize all we have to do is turn the cares of this life over to you. We ask forgiveness for not doing our part in the plan of salvation. Please impart your strength to us that we may faithfully serve you until the coming of your Son, Jesus Christ. We ask this prayer in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson