Journal 2 Tim 1 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “I thank God whom I serve (as did my ancestors) with a clear conscience as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day.
As I remember your tears, I long to see you that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith—a faith that dwelt first in you grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice, and now (I am sure) dwells in you as well.
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Tim 1:3-7
Observation: Reading this, it occurs to me to remember that these guys like Paul and Tim (and others) dealt with the same emotions and fluctuations of faith that occur with me.
Analysis: What thoughts ran through Tim’s mind as he read this second letter from Paul?
Tim got a 1st letter and it was pretty powerful: Direct, instructive, completing and encouraging—treating him like a senior contemporary. Oozing confidence in him through the Holy Spirit to capably lead the local church. I think I would frame it and hang it on the wall of my study to remind me that, “Yeah…I can do this!”
The beginning of the second letter reads like something didn’t go as anticipated, or at least hoped for.
Paul takes a step back and attempts to remind Timothy how he got here:
- You are in my heart, Timmy, my boy;
- I am reminded of your sincere faith—and I remind you of it as well;
- You are of 3 generations of faith: Lois, Eunice, and now you. Something to be said of that, remember…
- Again, I am sure of that sincerity of faith.
Encouragement of this kind goes a long way. Keeps my eye on the Goal of the high calling in Christ. But what happened to Tim?
Something did. It wasn’t that he fell away or anything like that, but I can’t help but think something happened to cool the flame of pursuing God. Could it have been opposition to his youth? Perhaps. Something else?
I note that it is never one thing that cools my fervor towards the Lord. It is always a multiplicity of things. Individually, nothing much to see, but all of these “molehills” can make a mountain of apathy.
“Stir into flame…” For a believer, what is the first thing that I need to get the fire in my eyes once again?
Prayer: Lord, I am looking up from my desk and I am caught with the thought that a fierce pursuit of holiness, of You, isn’t just a big, fat, library. It isn’t the absence of a library, either. Ferocity in You, pining after You, desiring You, comes with the reminder that You are the Pearl of Great Price and it doesn’t stop at my conversion experience.
“But this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning…” Lam 3:21-23a
Cause revival, O Lord. AMEN