Thursday, 11 September 2014

Setting an example

But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. – 2 Timothy 3.10-11

There was a very special loving relationship between Paul and Timothy. Paul was Timothy's spiritual father and his mentor. They travelled together and Timothy had seen a lot and stuck with Paul. He had followed Paul's teaching. He followed his manner of life and his purpose. Timothy was fully aware of all Paul had seen and stuck with him though it and adopted those things as his own. He followed Paul's faith and long-suffering and perseverance.

That's great - it is wonderful that Paul mentored and discipled his son in the faith and that Timothy took the lessons to heart and applied the traits to his own life.

But Timothy also followed his persecutions and his afflictions. Of those persecutions Paul wrote 'I endured them' but he also wrote 'the Lord delivered me.'

The trials and persecutions went on. I don't know exactly how long - but for that time Paul endured those trials. I think there was a lesson for Timothy and for us there. Trials and afflictions are part of the Christian life and we had better be ready to stick though them.

Those of us who have been around a while now need to remember that there are young folks watching us. We need to be sure that we set the right example in all the areas Paul mentions. We need to be sure that we let them know that God will be them even in the worst times. And we need to share with them how God has delivered us through our struggles so that they can live in confidence that He will do the same for them. 

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