Tuesday, October 16, 2012

2 Timothy 1:13-14

Summary retelling of 2 Timothy 1:13-14

Paul encourages Timothy to follow the pattern of sound words that he has heard from Paul.  Paul reminds Timothy that faith and love are the keys – and we are to remember that they are found in Christ.  Then Paul reminds Timothy that he has the Holy Spirit within him and it is only through the presence of the Holy Spirit that the faith that is within him will be guarded.

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
Paul says “follow.”  Actually, that isn’t what he says.  What he really says is “grasp,” “seize,” or “hold onto.”  Yes, Paul is talking about a pattern of action – so follow is an appropriate translation.  But the idea isn’t “imitation” as we have heard Paul speak elsewhere.  The idea that Paul is trying to speak is that of “standing firm.”  In the midst of a world where people would pulls us in many directions, tries to have us believe many things, and wants us to spend our resources in many ways … Paul is saying, “stand fast to what is in Christ and to what you have seen other people stand fast.”

How does it change the reading to hear that Paul isn’t talking so much about imitating him as he is talking about standing fast?  When do we usually give advice to people that they need to remember to stand fast?  What is the faith onto which Paul might encourage you to grasp, seize, and hold?

Second Thought:
Faith and love are the keys.  Faith is a word that encapsulates our relationship with God.  Love is a word that expresses our relationship with God extending out to others.  In this particular passage Paul gives us a really great reminder of just how important relationships are to a good faith life and making disciples.  In order to make disciples, we must be rooted in faith and in a relationship with God.  In order to make disciples, we must have a relationship of love with others as a conduit through which the discipleship process flows.

Can you make a disciple without faith?  Why or why not?  Can you make a disciple without love?  Why or why not?  What other aspects make it easier to make disciples?

Third Thought:
Paul then speaks of the Holy Spirit.  Unfortunately, I think that we forget the Holy Spirit’s influence upon us all too easily.  The Holy Spirit is incapable of being physically seen (although we can see Him at work in others).  The Holy Spirit – the very presence of God – is something best felt.  Unfortunately, this makes the Holy Spirit easy to forget and easy to overlook.  Yet, it is the Holy Spirit that groans for us when we don’t have the strength to pray for ourselves.  It is the Holy Spirit that keeps our faith secure as Paul says in this passage.  It is the Holy Spirit that strengthens us when we are weak.  It is the Holy Spirit that guides us when we begin to head off-track.

Do you often overlook the presence of the Holy Spirit?  When have you felt the Holy Spirit in your life?  What does the presence of the Holy Spirit feel like to you?

Passage for Tomorrow: 2 Timothy 1:15-18
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