Timothy, my beloved childNotice Paul's fatherly disposition toward Timothy. He begins the letter with a heartfelt description of Timothy as his "beloved child." With these words, Timothy perhaps hears something he had longed for but had never heard or seen from his biological father. Paul is not afraid to express his love for Timothy to Timothy. Never underestimate the importance of telling your children you love them. Furthermore, Paul also strongly encourages his son in the faith. Without qualification, Paul affirms Timothy's faith. "I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well." (2 Tim 1.5, ESV). With these words, Paul is encouraging Timothy. "You're the real deal, Timothy! I believe that you believe." Never underestimate the importance of affirming in others the faith you see in them.
The faith and love that are in Christ JesusNotice Paul's Gospel disposition toward Timothy. By "gospel disposition" I mean that Paul encourages Timothy by pointing him to the resources that are in Christ. The main imperative in 1.3-7 is found in verse 6. Paul instructs Timothy to "fan into flame the gift of God." We must return again and again, not to what we have done for God, but to what he has done for us in Christ. It is only by the power of God, that Timothy can "share in suffering for the gospel" (2 Tim 1.8). Even more, it is only by the Holy Spirit that Timothy can "guard the good deposit entrusted to him" (2 Tim 1.14). By virtue of our union with Christ by the Spirit, we have been given the resources we need to stay faithfully on the task to which the Father has called us. In order to live out of our union with Christ this week consider with me two exhortations.
Be one who is generous with affirmation.I'm sure there were things in Timothy Paul could have criticized. However, Paul was overwhelmingly generous with Timothy by expressing his love for him and affirming his faith and the gifts God had given him. It is not masculine to withhold expressions of affection. Every time the words of the Father are recorded in the Gospels, they include an affirmation of love for the Son. God is not a Father who withholds his love. May each of us, love others well and express our love well.
Lean into union with Christ.In our own lives and as we seek to affirm others, we must consistently point to Christ and what he offers us by the Spirit as what we truly need. In all that we say to all, we should be affirming that Christ is offering himself to all who will accept. Russell Moore puts it this way:
For too long, we’ve called unbelievers to “invite Jesus into your life.” Jesus doesn’t want to be in your life. Your life is a wreck. Jesus calls you into his life. And his life isn’t boring or purposeless or static. It’s wild and exhilarating and unpredictable.Listen here to our exposition of 2 Timothy 1.
Here's what I'm reading: Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance.