2 Timothy 1
Here we are – seven days away from the start of FUEL, the week-long youth event where this daily devotions blog began 3 years ago when the week’s theme was GROW. On their website, Turning Point Youth Ministries says of FUEL, “We make every effort to create an environment that challenges, encourages and equips students to pursue intimacy with God, connect with others, and ask hard spiritual questions. We have a lot of fun and work hard to help students see what loving God and others is all about.”
I think Paul had a similar mission as he was writing this letter (which would become 2 Timothy) to his dear friend and son in Christ. Paul was now in prison (not just house arrest) for preaching the name of Jesus. Emperor Nero was persecuting Christians and it was a very difficult time to be a Christian. Consequently, some were falling away from the faith, some were fleeing persecution and many were deserting Paul (1:15). From his prison cell he was writing to challenge, encourage and equip his younger spiritual son in the faith who would be carrying on the work.
Paul could be bitter or scared or quietly submissive – but instead we see thankfulness and prayers night and day for Timothy (1:3). We hear him urge Timothy to keep testifying about Jesus and keep telling Paul’s story without being ashamed of the gospel or the chains (1:8, 16). The prisoner appeals to Timothy to “join with me in suffering for the gospel” – not necessarily as a prisoner – but as one who makes daily sacrifices for spreading the word of life – even when it involves suffering (1:8). The teacher instructs the student to keep teaching what is right and true (1:13).
This chapter is beautifully summed up in the words of verse 7 – “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” It is a great reminder whether we are preparing to serve – or be served – at FUEL. It is a great reminder whether we will be praying at home – night and day. It is a great reminder for God’s people.
Love. Power. Self-Discipline. From God – to You. How will you use them today?