Paul was battle bruised and scarred (2 Cor. 11:24-26). He will say of himself that he bears the marks of Christ in his own body. Further, his heart’s passion is to know Christ and Him crucified. If that meant he has to suffer a little along the way then he accepted that too. All this life under the sun had to offer him, he regards as rubbish. Gain Christ, that was what he sought (Phil. 3: 8-11).
As Paul writes his young son in the faith, Timothy. He writes from the perspective of having lived what he encourages. Listen as he helps us too:
First, “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2Tim. 2:1). Paul knew that few things were more refreshing than grace. It breathes life into all relationships. Paul’s encouragement is to be strong, literally to be strengthened within, and let grace be reflected in our attitudes. Practically, that means we are all growing, even through mistakes and failures.
Second, invest consistently in the lives of others. “And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (vs. 2). The word entrust is a banking term. It means to “commit into a safe deposit.” The idea is to deposit God’s truth into the life of someone else where it will be safe and secure. Paul had done that with Timothy. Now, he wants Timothy to do that with others. Then others are to follow suit. To do that means we must have a heart to help others come to Christ. We will have to be alert, looking for them and reach out.
Third, personalize the truths you have heard. “Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything” (vs. 7). Consider means “to perceive in the mind.” In other words, fill your mind not with how successful others are as disciples of Christ but think about your own life. Make a mental picture from things you have learned about being a disciple of Christ. Then find a place to start investing yourself.
Fourth, endure all things. “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, Who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2Tim. 1:8-10). Always keep your eyes on Jesus, not yourself. Then endure. Go the distance. Be prepared to have your patience stretched to the limit.
Remember, Paul knew what he was asking of Timothy, and us. He was hated, stoned, beaten with whips and shipwrecked but he kept going. He endured because every moment of his life was motivated by the purpose of enduring “all things for the sake of those who are chosen, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus…” (vs. 10a). Let Jesus be seen in you.