Timid Timothy (Timothy 2)

TIMID TIMOTHY  (Timothy 2)

(READ 1 Timothy 1:1-3, 18-19)  Do you every get afraid?  Some church leaders are quiet and shy.  They may be fearful of what might happen.  That is something I have had to face, especially as a younger Christian.  Timothy had the same problem.  In fact, the main reason Paul wrote 1 Timothy was to urge Timothy to stay in Ephesus and straighten out the problems the church was having.  Ephesus was a very important city, and the church there was the leading church of its day.  But fearful Timothy was facing difficulties that made him want to quit and leave Ephesus.

Paul was Timothy’s friend and spiritual father, but he used his authority as an apostle to command Timothy to stay and correct the problems the church was facing.  He starts his letter saying, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God” (1:1).  Timothy certainly knew who Paul was, but Paul is reminding him of the responsibility God gave Paul to oversee His church and its leaders.

“As I urged you … stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer” (1:3).  Paul had told Timothy this in person, but he still wants to leave because the problems there are causing him stress and anxiety.  He can’t handle them so he wants to quit and run away from them.  He is discouraged and afraid.

What were the problems the church was facing?  There were leaders and others who were teaching false doctrine (1:3-11), some strong-willed women who were pushing their wrong beliefs (2:11-15), disorder and disunity among the people (3:14-15), struggles for power among leadership (5:21-22) and gossip and criticism of godly leaders (5:19).  Timothy was not taking a stand against these things.  Some people were criticizing him and saying he was too young to lead (4:12-16; 6:11-14).  The church had many difficulties that needed to be addressed.  Some of these problems continued for a long time.  Thirty years later, John would write that this, his home church, had lost its first love (Revelation 2:1-7).

These were serious issues that needed to be fixed, but Timothy wasn’t doing his job. In fact, it was putting so much pressure on Timothy that he was having health problems from the stress and anxiety (5:23).  He was afraid of confronting the people who were influencing the church in wrong way.

Everyone experiences fear from time to time, some people more than others.  Many church leaders fear failing in their ministry and being criticized by their people.  I admit that I did, maybe you face this as well.  We must remember that this fear does not come from God (2 Timothy 1:7).  If we believe God is in sovereign control of everything, then we have nothing to fear.  We can either let fear or faith motivate us.  We can’t follow both, just one or the other.  Do you ever get fearful or discouraged?  What do you do to have victory over it?

We, too, can want to quit when ministry gets hard.  When we don’t see the results we wanted and we face pressures and problems, we may want to leave the ministry, or switcher to an easier task.  We can also get discouraged by problems in our marriage or with our children.  Financial or health struggles can seem overwhelming.  Being defeated by sin in our lives can also make it hard to continue.

Paul’s advice to Timothy is good advice to us as well.  “I give you this instruction … fight the battle well, holding on to faith and a good conscience” (1:18-19).  “Fight the battle” is a command, not an option.  We are in a battle with our sin nature, the world and Satan and his demons.  We can’t win by quitting; we only win by fighting.  We must fight our fears, discouragement and desire to quit by keeping our faith and trust in God strong.  By “faith and a good conscience” (1:19) we can have victory.  When we know God’s Word and believe His promises, we will trust Him and live a life pleasing to Him.  If not, God’s Spirit will convict us through our conscience so we know to repent and return to living for Him.

Serving Jesus can be hard.  The battle can get very hard at times.  There will always be opposition to God’s truth and light.  By keeping our eyes on God and our faith in Him, we can have victory over our fear. 

2 Timothy 1:7  For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Do you regularly spend time studying the Bible so your faith and obedience will grow?  Or are you discouraged or fearful and wanting to quit the work God has given you to do?  Are you fighting your battles, or are you giving up and letting discouragement win?  Trust God’s promises to always be with you and give you strength for the battle and keep fighting with God’s help.