Daily D – 2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 TIMOTHY 1:7 (NLT)
“Every text has a context.” The professor’s words echo across the decades. This is one of those verses often excised from its context because it can be useful for encouraging people who tend to take a step back when challenges come. But let’s take a look at it in context and see what we find.
This is the Apostle Paul’s second letter to his son in the ministry, Timothy. Timothy was a young man when Paul wrote to him the first time. He repeatedly calls Timothy, “My true child in the faith,” and “My son.” He tells him not to “let anyone think less of you because you are young,” (4:12).
Timothy is no longer Little Timmy at this writing. He is a man who has served long and well in connection with Paul’s work around the Mediterranean. We see his name pop up in Paul’s writings on several occasions. Tim is no longer wet behind the ears. He is a seasoned pro.
Even seasoned professionals, top-level practitioners require encouragement now and again. Reassessment happens at certain stages of life whether or not we anticipate it. Paul had been there and done that and had seen others go through such times. Now he guides Tim through this passage.
Paul reminds him of where he came from. He recalled the firm ground of faith Timothy inherited from his grandmother and mother (v. 5). What was true of these two exemplary women was true of him. He had a strong faith. Paul reminds him of how the Spirit of God empowered him for the work he had called and equipped him to do.
On the basis of this strong faith and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, Paul tells Timothy that whatever fear and intimidation he felt, it did not come from God. God’s gifts for him included power equal to or greater than whatever task he placed before him. God’s gifts also included love that seeks the highest and best for everyone. God’s gifts also included the self-discipline to get on task and to stay there.
In other words, Paul told Timothy, “Live what you say you believe, what you know to be true, and what brings about grace, mercy, and peace for all people everywhere.”
John 1:17 says, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ,” (ESV). Living what we say we believe, what we know to be true includes both grace and truth. We need to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 1:15). We need to extend God’s offer of saving and keeping grace.
We hear people crying out for grace and truth in our cultural climate right now. The many voices use words like justice, fairness, equality, and safety, but do not miss the fact that what most people long for is grace and truth.
What would Paul say to us in our cultural moment? He might tell us to confidently step into this season with the positive alternative of grace, mercy, and truth. Grace that saves, delivers, and heals. Mercy that expresses God’s love for all people everywhere. Truth that points us in the right direction and out of the malaise and misery our sin has created.
This is a gift worth fanning into flame in our homes, our workplaces, our communities, and our world. The cameras and microphones may not point toward you, but everywhere you go people need God’s grace and God’s truth. God wants you to deliver these gifts in whatever package size persons can receive at the moment.
This is no time for intimidation or exasperation. This is a time for God’s people to live at maximum expression of grace, mercy, truth, power, love, and self-discipline. Step up and lead the way!
I will live a life of maximum expression of grace and truth.
Our Father, empower me with your Holy Spirit. Enrich me with your boundless love. Lead me to get on task and to stay there as I join you in creating a positive alternative to this cultural moment. May your kingdom come and your will be done in my life, in this world as it is in heaven. Amen.
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Zechariah 13:9 “This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’ ”
Zechariah 9:9, 10 Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the warhorses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.
Ezra 3:12, 13 But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.
Daniel 2:30 “As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than anyone else alive, but so that Your Majesty may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind.”