1From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus.
God himself chose me to be an apostle, and he gave me the promised life that Jesus Christ makes possible.
2 Timothy, you are like a dear child to me. I pray that God our Father and our Lord Christ Jesus will be kind and merciful to you and will bless you with peace!
Do Not Be Ashamed
3Night and day I mention you in my prayers. I am always grateful for you, as I pray to the God my ancestors and I have served with a clear conscience. 4I remember how you cried, and I want to see you, because this would make me truly happy. 5 I also remember the genuine faith of your mother Eunice. Your grandmother Lois had the same sort of faith, and I am sure you have it as well. 6So I ask you to make full use of the gift God gave you when I placed my hands on you. Use it well. 7God's Spirit doesn't make cowards out of us. The Spirit gives us power, love, and self-control.
Recently, I had one of those spiritual Aha! moments . . . I was the guest preacher at a Christian community on Lake Michigan where my family owns a cottage. My grandparents were strong Christians who began going there in 1938. It is a place where my mom’s faith was formed and shaped by my grandmother’s, who eventually passed it on to me. Now almost 80 years later, while there preaching, I had a strong sense I was standing in the spiritual legacy of my grandmother and mother.
At the start of his second letter to Timothy, Paul is again writing from a Roman prison. He immediately frames the letter by reminding Timothy of his spiritual heritage. Paul remembers the “genuine faith” of both Timothy’s grandmother and mother, and he reminds him is his also (v 5). All of us have people in our lives who have contributed to our faith in Jesus and its flourishing. Without them we wouldn’t be the people we are today.
Paul also reminds Timothy that through the Holy Spirit’s power he can rekindle or strengthen the gift God has given him for ministry (1 Tim. 4:14). This is a dynamic gift for others, a charisma in the Greek. It is like Paul is saying to Timothy, “Go for it; live into the fullness of your faith!” And yet, to guard against self-reliance, Paul is also quick to remind Timothy of the Holy Spirit’s purpose in our lives. From time to time, all of us face overwhelming fear but we don’t have to be consumed by it. Through the Spirit’s power we are free to love, we are filled with God’s presence, and we are able to think with a sound mind.
Who in your life has helped shape and influence your faith in Jesus? Thank God for each person by name.
Powerful God, thank you that your presence in my life is dynamic, not static. Today, fill me supernaturally with your love, power, and presence of mind so that I can live into the fullness of my faith! Thank you for those who are a part of my spiritual heritage. Bring me someone to whom I can pass along my spiritual legacy. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.