By MYRA D. COLGATE
CHEROKEE PENTECOSTAL HOLINESS CHURCH
St. Paul wrote to his “son” Timothy, knowing he was facing his own imminent execution and so, with his last thoughts and words, he passed along to him the torch of leadership in the Church, reminding him what was truly important and to encourage him in the faith:
“I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you.
“This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.
“So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News.
“For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.
“And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News.
“That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him, (or what has been entrusted to me) until the day of his return.”
2 Timothy 1:5-12 (NLT)
“…Your honest faith—and what a rich faith it is, handed down from your grandmother Lois to your mother Eunice, and now to you! And the special gift of ministry you received when I laid hands on you and prayed—keep that ablaze! God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible.
“So don’t be embarrassed to speak up for our Master or for me, his prisoner. Take your share of suffering for the Message along with the rest of us. We can only keep on going, after all, by the power of God, who first saved us and then called us to this holy work. We had nothing to do with it. It was all his idea, a gift prepared for us in Jesus long before we knew anything about it. But we know it now. “Since the appearance of our Savior, nothing could be plainer: death defeated, life vindicated in a steady blaze of light, all through the work of Jesus.
“This is the Message I’ve been set apart to proclaim as preacher, emissary, and teacher. It’s also the cause of all this trouble I’m in. But I have no regrets. I couldn’t be surer of my ground—the One I’ve trusted in can take care of what he’s trusted me to do right to the end.”
2 Timothy 1:5-12 (MSG)
In these instructions, Paul was encouraging Timothy, and us, to hold fast and to persevere. Timothy did not need new revelations or new gifts—neither do we. He needed the courage and self-discipline to hold on to the truth and to use the gifts he had received. (Read 2 Timothy 1:13-14, too.)
The Holy Spirit helps us to be wise and remain strong—when we ask Him. God honors our confident testimony even when we suffer. To get over our fear of what people might say or do, we must take our eyes off people, ourselves, and look only to God.
We can count on opposition, suffering, and hardship as we serve Christ. But this shows us that our faithfulness is having an effect on others. As we trust Christ, He counts us worthy to suffer, and He gives us the strength we need for us to remain steadfast.
In spite of the suffering that might have caused Paul to despair, he affirmed his confidence in God’s protection. This was not a claim to strong faith; rather, it was a trust in One so powerful that even a weak faith was sufficient. Paul’s basis for his confidence in Christ was his intimate relationship with Him. (See also Romans 8:38-39 for more on our security in Christ. Paraphrased from the [NLT] Study Bible.)