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How is it that God has thoroughly equipped God's people for their various kinds of services?
Key words: serve, ashamed, power, love, saved, Christ, serve, timidity, fear, ministry, problems, personal, discipline, self-control, 2 Timothy, suffering
“8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me His prisoner; but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God” (2 Timothy 1:8 NASB).
This is part two of a five part series. Study questions are also included. Audio and video can be found in our huge BFF New Testament Library.
Each Christian believer has been called to come out from the world and live out his or her life in God’s presence. Often we think about the luring sights of the world and the accompanying challenges of those temptations, but there are other things that can weaken and even cripple a believer.
If we are to grow into strong men and women of God, we must not only face the temptations of the world but the challenges of faith. So let us, as Paul does in these verses, focus on these forces against faith and learn how to overcome them.
While the world’s forces lure us into temptation, there are deeper problems in our lives that equally need to be solved. The attacks upon our lives are not only from the outside but have lots to do with our personalities and learned responses.
Our personalities are unique characteristics of our lives, but often, the evil one plays to his advantage on our special sensitivities. In many cases God provides these sensitivities–to the poor, helping others in needs, straightening out things, protecting others, etc., to use us in ministering to others. They often are linked to our spiritual gifts.
But if we are not properly protected during times of development, we become weak and never learn to acquire faith for what would otherwise become strong points of our lives.
If a person wants a strong tree to become strong and stand against the wind, then don’t isolate it from the wind. Instead plant it early on so that it can gain the wherewithal to oppose those strong winds. We do not often master things in one go but need, like any habit, to persistently approach it in the right way.
Verse 8 starts with “therefore” indicating that the previous context is critical to properly understanding the meaning. In verses 5-7 we find Paul making some key observations about Timothy, a pastor that he had mentored.
“For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well. 6 And for this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline” (2 Timothy 1:5-8).
Paul strengthened Timothy’s faith in verse 5. He reminded him of the special gift of God given to him by the laying on of the apostle’s hands for ministry in verse 6. Lastly in verse 7, Paul reminds Timothy of the general provision of grace given to each believer: spirit of power and love and discipline.
Although we like Timothy might face setbacks and even be disappointed over our setbacks, we must move forward in the faith that God has set us on the winning team.
God has always fully equipped His people for the work given to them. Before going on, let’s summarize how He has equipped Timothy:
(1) Kindly reconciled Timothy with God through faith in Christ (1:5)
(2) Specially outfitted Timothy with anointing for ministry (1:6)
(3) Wonderfully equipped him with power, love and self-control (1:7).
God has properly outfitted us for whatever ministry of service He gives us. This is a very bold faith statement. We should never go around doubting whether we can or not do what He puts on our hearts and brings into our lives (sometimes not on our hearts!).
Don’t doubt God’s equipping and design of your life. But remember, like in Timothy’s case, this does not mean that we can always easily or fully take hold of these things. It is quite possible, though having a great Mom, that Timothy did not have a good father or an abusive one.
This is why there is a “therefore” beginning with this section of 2 Timothy 1:8-11. We, like Timothy, at times need special encourage and advice to follow up on some areas that our faith has not fully developed. Fortunately, Paul is quite thorough in his advice even though it is brief.
• Are there things you know you should do but due to timidity, fear or worry do not do them? Name them.
• If so, more than likely, there is an area of your thinking that has not been touched by biblical truth that would spur you on to completion of God’s work. Start a work sheet with each area above mentioned and ask the Lord what truths you need to buttress your life with. Keep track.
This article is one of hundreds waiting for you to read from the BFF New Testament Library. The library includes audio, powerpoints and videos.
Three Stages of Discipleship
The Heart of True Discipleship (Isaiah 50:4-7)
The Plan of Discipleship (2 Timothy 2:2)
Seven Principles to Spirit Dependent Teaching
Combating Spiritual Decline
Understanding the Cycle of Decline and Revival (Judges 2)
Determining your place in the cycle of growth
Discipling your sons: The why and way (8)
Reviving your Personal Devotions (15)
Spiritual Warfare: General Principles
THE FLOW: The whole process by which disciples grow as a church or individually.
Scriptures typically quoted from the New American Standard Bible unless noted:
(C) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1988