My True Child in the Faith
Probably one of the most difficult things we face in ministry is being able to identify just who gets it, who has and lives by faith. It’s difficult because people say one thing and often live another. I read a quote once that said, “Actions tells us who a person really is. Words tell us who a person wants to be.” Paul recognizes Timothy as his true child in the faith. It has the idea behind it that Paul is the one who lead Timothy to faith in Jesus and the Jesus way. When we get to the second letter we see that Timothy had some help from the faith of his family too.
The Bible tells us, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” Heb 11:1-3 And then the Bible tells us in the same chapter that, “without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Heb 11:6-7 This life that Jesus offers us is lived by faith. In fact, the Christian life is lived from within; from faith, with hope in love. This life is an inside job reverberating from the heart to the head and through the hands. It’s a life that we choose to live with Jesus and for Jesus.
Our mission as ministers is to bring people to this life with Jesus and to bring them up in this life for Jesus. Paul wrote, “through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,” Rom 1:5-6 Paul also wrote, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Eph 2:8-10
This life is a life where we decide to trust God and entrust our lives to God. It’s all about Him, not heaven. Oh, heaven is in the picture but our faith is not in heaven, it’s in Him, Jesus Christ. Jesus is God come in the flesh who revealed God to us and the way of God for us. So, we are followers of Jesus. We are people who have put our faith in Jesus and His way of doing life together. I think many people put their faith in heaven, and what I mean by that is that they believe there is heaven for whoever believes there was a Jesus. But our faith is to be in Him, not in heaven. Heaven becomes ours as we become His.
How do we get to the life lived from faith with hope in love according to God’s word and by the power of God’s Spirit? We come to that life from love that gives us hope and inspires our faith. Read Romans 5:1-5 and follow it back. This life that is lived from faith with hope in love that becomes our as we respond to God’s great big love for us that creates a great big hope in us that inspires a great big faith from us. Love motivates and fear dominates us. That’s why we want to invite people to respond to God’s love. It’s true, hell is real but it’s for those who reject God’s love. Love will wind you up but fear will wear you out. Too many Christians are worn out and you probably know why now.
There’s love here in this letter to Timothy. Paul calls Timothy his true son in the faith. That’s close. That’s intimate. There’s a real relationship here. This isn’t about religion, it’s about a relationship. We’re motivated in this life and in the ministry by God’s love for us. We believe in that love God has for us. That love creates hope for here and hereafter. That hope becomes a reality as we live by faith. The Bible tells us, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Rom 10:17
There is something I want to say to you. When it comes to this Christian life, we have the word of God lived in the life of Jesus, written in the word of God, the Bible, and breathed into us by the Spirit of God. Our faith will strengthen as our hope grows through the word of God. Hope isn’t a simple fantasy or wish. Hope is the big picture of what God has for us as He reveals that hope through His lived, written and revealed word to us. A true child in the faith will hunt and hunger for the word of God because it’s the secret to living the Jesus life. A true child of the faith will bring about” obedience to the faith” as Paul writes about in Romans 1. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about being persistent. God honors faith and a people of faith will pray, live, share and die by faith in God. Where can we start to know this life of faith? Get to know who Jesus is and let Him mold your mind on how this life is to be lived from faith with hope in love according to God’s word and by the power of God’s Spirit.
Until next time, God Bless