II Timothy 1:3 I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;
4 Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy;
5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
We left off yesterday in the middle of verse 4. Paul desired to see Timothy. He obviously heard that Timothy was facing some pressure in his ministry. The ministry has many challenges. Those challenges can be from within and they can also be from without. We know there was much hostility toward those who preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Paul’s day. The Judaizers hated him for preaching the truth. Timothy was also a true and faithful preacher. Thus he would also be facing trials. These trials can be difficult at times. The servant of the Lord desires to help others to know God’s peace. It can cause grief when he faces those who reject the truth and choose rather to attack the messenger. Paul was hopeful that he could encourage Timothy in his trials and that through that he could be filled with joy. It is a blessing to be able to help a faithful servant through some trial they are facing. As we noted yesterday, it is a blessing to know there are other saints praying for you. Life can be lonely at times, but to know that God is always there and other saints are also in the same battle is helpful.
In verse 5, Paul was directed to remind Timothy of the godly heritage that Timothy had. Timothy had a clear testimony of his faith in the Lord. In the midst of his current challenges, he needed to be reminded of the strong and genuine faith that he had. True faith in God will carry the faithful child of God through all kinds of trials. God never gives His child more than they can handle. With every trial, He is always there to guide His child through it successfully.
Timothy had a godly heritage. As we mentioned in a previous devotional, we do not know much about his father. Either he had died or he was not a godly man. God’s design is for the father to be the spiritual leader and example in the home. It is not that the mother does not count, but the father needs to take the lead. We read here that Timothy had a godly grandmother. God even directed Paul to write down her name. It is so important to have that godly influence that children and grandchildren can draw from.
We learned in yesterday’s Bible Study of the danger of being an offence to a child. The word offence means to be a hindrance to their need to be saved. It is sad today to see so many grandparents who think they need to be like their grandchildren, rather than setting an example of godliness before their grandchildren. Children need to see the blessing in knowing the Lord and walking faithfully with Him.
Timothy not only had a godly grandmother, but his mother was also a godly woman. Her name is mentioned as well. God is not afraid to name names. He does that for good people as well as for those we need to avoid. Every generation since the time of this writing has been reminded of these two godly women. What a blessing for them. What a blessing they were as well to Timothy. In the midst of his trials, he could think back to the godly heritage he had. He could see that it was worth it for his mother and grandmother to stand true to the Lord and that could help to encourage him to stand true to the Lord as well.
Paul continued to encourage Timothy with the confidence that he had in him. From Paul’s past experience with Timothy, he knew him to be a man of true faith. He was not a Sunday Christian. He was not a fair weather Christian. He was a faithful child of God no matter what day it was or who he was with. That is important.
In verse 6 we see that God was using this good report, as a motivator to help Timothy to keep standing true to God in the midst of his trials. He needed to stir up the gift of God that he had been given. God does not flatter people. He is always truthful. He knows our hearts better than we do. God was directing Paul to write these words to Timothy.
Discouragement is something that any true child of God can face. It is not a place that the true child of God can remain. He needs to snap out of it. He has all the help he needs to do so. He needs to get his eyes back on the God Who saved him and called him. Timothy did not have a degree from some secular college. It was not even a degree from some Bible school. He had a gift from God. God saved him and God had brought him into Paul’s path. He had been trained for the ministry and he was in the ministry. He needed to remember how he came to that place. The true man of God does not enter the ministry on a whim. He does not enter the ministry because the pay is good or the conditions are good. He enters the ministry because he is called into that place by God. Thus he continues on for God. He may need to change location from time to time. He needs to let God guide him in this matter.
Paul also reminded Timothy that he, Paul, had endorsed Timothy for the ministry. He had laid his hands upon Timothy. The Bible warns of laying hands suddenly upon another person. There needs to be a clear evidence that God is calling the man before other men go and endorse the man. The man needs to be assured that God has called him into the ministry and that he has not entered it on a whim. The call to ministry is important and it also carries great responsibility. Hebrews 13 gives us some further insight into this responsibility. The pastor is accountable to God for his ministry. He will need to answer to God for his faithfulness or his lack of faithfulness. God entrusts the well being of souls into his care. People need to be taught the truth. There is no room for politicking in the ministry. It is not a matter of putting out a survey and seeing what people want. It is a matter of faithfully and humbly submitting to God’s authority. It is a great blessing to serve the Lord in this capacity. There are challenges, but there is always a great blessing in being obedient to God’s call.
It is in this context that Paul was directed to write verse 7. Timothy needed to understand that he could not allow the fear of man or circumstances to overtake him. He needed to understand that God had changed him at salvation. He had given him the spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind.
The faithful child of God has the power to stand for the truth. The pressure of the ministry will never overwhelm the true and faithful servant of God. He can become discouraged, but God is always there to help him through the trials. The true servant of God also has the love of God indwelling him. The love of God sent Jesus Christ into this world to suffer and die on the cross of Calvary. The love of God motivates the child of God to love God and to love others. It is that love that helps us to keep on serving God faithfully.
A sound mind helps us to weigh things out properly. We can see past the trouble and we can see the blessing of serving the Lord faithfully. We can see past the trouble to the glory of being faithful to the Lord. We noted last night in our Bible Study that God rejoices more in one soul that was lost and is found, than in the ninety and nine that did not go astray. When we draw from the Lord’s strength, the trials do not seem so bad. Paul had been learning that in his own ministry. He was stoned and left for dead. Yet, he got up and continued to minister to the needs of the people. He had been hungry but he still continued to serve the Lord. Paul was not going to allow his circumstances to get him down. He did not allow the devil to encourage him to dwell on the negatives. He chose to let God remind him of the blessings. That was the same thing that Paul was doing here now for Timothy. He was reminding him of the blessings he had as a child of God. Timothy needed to keep on keeping on. It was still worth serving the Lord. That is always the case.