Paul starts his letter (Chapter 1) by taking a trip down memory lane, and reminding Timothy and himself of their triumphs, ordeals, Timothy’s faith in the Lord and how his grandmother and mother also had strong faiths. It can be beneficial to remind each other of our triumphs and struggles which we have gone through, as it’s a reminder how God has blessed us and how we’ve grown in our faith.
Like Timothy we’ve all been gifts by God and we need to remember that we need to use them, otherwise we’ll be like the servant who was given one talent and we all know how that story ended.
Verse 7 “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” [ESV] a number of scholars make the point that Paul likes to make a statement starting with a negative point and then to proceed with three positives. In Romans 14:17 Paul says “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” [ESV] When we’re making a point/statement to a non-believer I think it’s good practice to back-up what your saying with a number of points as it helps to get the message/point across, and may stimulate further questions.
One of my ‘pet hates’ is when evangelising some christians make out because Jesus is in their life their life is perfect, hassle free etc. yet behind closed doors the reality will be different. Throughout the Bible, followers of Christ face hardship, persecution for as Jesus says in John 15:18-25 ‘that those who love me the world will hate them’ (paraphrased). We shouldn’t be ashamed of being followers of Christ as Jesus said in Matthew 10:32-33 “32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” [ESV] As followers of Christ we will face persecution, daily struggles in life etc. but unlike those who haven’t accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour we have HOPE in the knowledge that our sins have been covered by the blood of Christ.
Towards the end of the chapter Paul is reminding Timothy and ourselves that we shouldn’t fear persecution, intimidation for our faith as the Lord will remain with us and that death has been defeated. This part of the letter reminded me of Revelation 6:9-11 “9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. 10 They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.” [ESV] I would like to point out because you are a follower of Christ doesn’t mean you’re going to be killed for your faith, we will be rewarded for our obedience to His Word when we get to heaven as Jesus said in Matthew 16:27-28 “27 For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. 28 Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” [ESV]
In Western society followers of Christ suffer some of persecution, but not threatened with death, this coming take time out to research Christians who are threatened with death for their faith. You may want to check out Open Doors Top 50 World Watch List 2021.
All Bible verse quotes and links were taken from http://www.biblegateway.com