“But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me” (2 Timothy 1:12 ESV).
I’ve always had a special place in my heart for First and Second Timothy, as I share his name. I take these letters personally.
I’ve made mention in earlier posts of some of the challenges that I have faced over the last few decades. Anger. Bitterness. Depression. So what Paul wrote Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:3-12 hit home for me.
In verse 5 Paul encourages Timothy for his sincere faith. There were times when I thought it contradictory that I could harbor all of the above emotions and still have a sincere faith. But at some point along the way I realized that we can struggle with things, ask hard questions, get bogged down in our search for answers, all the while holding fast to our faith in Christ.
I imagine that Timothy was in a similar situation to mine (and perhaps yours!), not necessarily angry, bitter and depressed, but struggling to find answers. That’s why Paul reminded him to “fan into flame the gift of God”. If Timothy were utilizing those things that were given to him by God, he wouldn’t have needed reminding!
Verse 7 solidifies, in my mind, my spiritual kinship with Timothy. “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” It can be scary to step out in faith, especially when things have been rough going. But this is exactly what Paul is encouraging Timothy to do. He needed to get past his past and live every moment of the present in faith.
Paul seems to give us a little more insight into Timothy’s situation in verse 8. “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God.” Timothy was a young man (1 Timothy 4:12), and I can understand how seeing the trials and tribulations that his father in Christ endured could make him timid and afraid, and even ashamed to some extent. But Paul encourages Timothy to “buck up” and consider only Jesus and what He wanted Timothy to do.
In our primary text above, Paul lays it out for Timothy. “But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.” Knowing Christ, truly knowing Him, removes all shame. It convinces us that who He is provides all the safety we need. It teaches us that through Him all that He has given us–salvation, natural talents, spiritual gifts, and ministries–will be kept secure.
We don’t have a 3 Timothy. We don’t know how his story ends. But I like to believe that he took Paul’s every word to heart and fulfilled his destiny as a “good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:3). I want to be an encouragement to you, even as I remind myself, that going through “stuff” doesn’t need to be a hindrance to your faith. We can find our resolve in the arms of Jesus where “he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to [us].”