Mr. Standfast

"Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace." G. K. Chesterton

August 11, 2005

2 Timothy 1:7

Paul writes to Timothy, "God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and self-discipline."

What a wonderful trinity of attributes that is. It occurs to me that any one of them without the others would be severely hampered or stunted. We know well enough, for example,of power exercised without love and self-discipline. These folks are rather easy to spot.

But then again there are those who love without power. I think we have all been in this boat, especially if we've parented teenagers. Our love may have seemed to make no impact, to meet with only blank expressions. Perhaps, lacking power, we even acquired a "spirit of timidity" about expressing that love. Then again, there are those who love without self-discipline. They love, but their love is not channeled into any particular actions or deeds. Such deeds are always in some way costly, and we shy from them perhaps out of mere laziness or lack of discipline. We let opportunities pass. We love, but it's never more than a feeling. Our love "dies on the vine."

How about self-discipline without love or power? We hit the weights every day or run our five miles, constantly whipping ourselves into shape, but only so as to win the approval of men or our own vanity. It is self-discipline that may even carry with it a semblance of power, but it is entirely devoid of Kingdom-purpose. We have much of this in our world. We are far more faithful to exercise than to seek God. Our self-discipline is merely self-love.

But Timothy was given a spirit of power AND love AND self-discipline. This made him a mighty man of God, I believe. With these, he could proclaim the Gospel without shame and without fear of men, even in a time of persecution. He pursued his calling, he did the work of the Lord, because he knew he was equipped by the Lord.

What a great man Timothy must have been. What a great mentor was Paul, even here in his last days, after so many former friends had deserted him. Awaiting his death in his second Roman imprisonment, he writes to his beloved son in the faith, Timothy, and reminds him for one last time, be courageous. "God did not give us [neither Paul nor Timothy] a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and self-discipline." May it be so also with us.

3 Comments:

Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Excellent, Bob. I blogged about this post today. Peace.

3:31 PM  
Blogger Gary B said...

A very insightful and encouraging post, Bob. God is always balanced, yet, paradoxically, never wishy-washy.

10:09 AM  
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