And so he did.
Following through, Paul wrote to Timothy. Both personal and public, his letter aimed to build faith. He began the missive as always, giving glory to God. Then, he humbly reminded everyone of his authority over the church through his personal testimony. Since God had chosen him to share the Gospel to the Ephesians, so it was his right to establish an overseer of truth to maintain the purity of that Gospel. His beloved Timothy was that person. Having given both his benediction and his validation, Paul continued, “This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:” The wisdom etched in parchment was inspired, lifegiving, essential to Timothy’s success.
His powerful words to Timothy are our key to victory as well. Like Timothy’s role in the Ephesian church, we are selected by God to stand against spiritual contamination. In a world of false teaching, compromise, and disregard of the truth, we must hold fast to sound doctrine. Only the pure Word of God is free of error; therefore, we know that our mission is to uphold, speak, and live out the Word. Paul shows us how.
- Recognize we are in a battle, and that battle is ours to WIN. Christianity doesn’t qualify us for a life of ease. There is opposition to the Word. The enemy is not human voices that chant in marches or speak out in political races. The adversary of our souls is the attacker of truth. But he is already a defeated foe. Therefore, we simply must fight a good fight—war a good warfare. When we stand up for the truth, insist on the truth, and declare the truth, then the lies of the devil lose their power.
- Remember what God has already said. Timothy had promises from God to hold on to. We do, too. Written in the Word, our promises are our weapons of warfare. The enemy’s lies show up feelings and thoughts that are contrary to the Word, but we combat them with what God has to say. Worthlessness, depression, fear, anxiety, pride, self-pity, self-sufficiency, unbelief—whatever the disillusion—must give way to truth when we behold what God has already said about us. That we are above only and not beneath. That He will commit what we entrust to Him. That He will keep us from falling. That our sufficiency is in Him. That we are complete in Him…
- Let the process of the Word work. When we hold on to what God has said, then we do not lose faith. With our confidence in God and not in our own abilities, then our reputation is not on the line; God’s is. Reliance on Him empowers obedience to Him. Therefore, we don’t have a conscience that’s troubled. Our relationship is unencumbered; thus, neither Satan nor his cohorts can tear us down with their accusations. Hidden in Christ, we are guilt-free. The opposite? Shipwreck--an experience Paul and his comrades knew well. Sailing with Christ at the helm insured avoiding the splintered fragments of running aground on the shallow efforts of self-reliance.
- Stay in sync with the Word through prayer. “I exhort THEREFORE, that first of all supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men…” Keeping in relationship with God and keeping a right relationship with people is empowered through prayer. Through prayer, we maintain a Word position that enables our victory.
Tip/tidbit: Today, let’s heed the wise reminders God inspired Paul to write on our behalf.