When I look back on my life, I can see key passages, verses and even books outside of the Bible that God has used to encourage, challenge and train me for a life of following him. One of those passages I read this morning. In 2 Timothy 3:14, Paul says the following:
“You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them.”
In this section, Paul continues to prepare Timothy for his challenge of leading the Faith once Paul is gone. The letter of 2 Timothy is the last letter we have of Paul’s and was written during his second imprisonment as he awaits his execution. I have often wondered what I will say at that point in life myself. What is most on Paul’s mind is the continued faithfulness of his son in the faith Timothy and the pure teaching of the Gospel.
As Paul calls Timothy up to be the man God wants his to be, he reminds him of a couple of important things. I am impressed by:
1) “You, however.” Or, the ESV says, “But as for you.” Paul had been talking about his life of faithfulness and the cost he paid to follow Jesus. Paul doesn’t ask Timothy to experience all he had, but he does point out that there are some specific things he must do at this stage in his life.
2) The word “continue,” means to “remain faithful,” “stand firm,” or “be loyal to.” Timothy must understand that his obedience to Jesus goes beyond his loyalty to Paul.
3) Timothy has learned the faith from Paul and his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice (2 Tim. 1:5). But, he must do more than “learn” the Faith.
4) In addition to learning the faith, he had to “become convinced of” it. Timothy is being commended for making that critical transition that we all must make–knowledge to ownership. The faith of his family and his mentor had become his own.
5) Timothy can also have high confidence in his spiritual heritage when the false teachers were trying to lead him astray. He could recall that he learned his faith from those who modeled it for him. He learned it from those who demonstrated character over a lifetime. His memories should give him confidence for his convictions in the midst of an evil world.
All of these observations should help Timothy step up to biblical manhood and contribute to lead the next generation of faith. We must do the same things Paul asked Timothy to do so that we can continue the Faith as designed by God.
Father, thank you for allowing us to have a Faith that is intellectually believable and yet needs to be owned by each of us. Help me to be like Paul and demonstrate my faith through good times and hard times. May I be able to call people to remember how I lived and may they be challenged to follow my path of obedience.
Following Jesus with you,