Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith. (1 Timothy 1:18-19).
It is so easy to drift away from the faith. In the first chapter of his letter to Timothy, Paul indicates how such a drift can start: focusing on speculative ideas rather than doing God’s work; meaningless talk; and living a life that is opposed to sound gospel doctrine.
Paul instructs Timothy to command people in the conflicted and troubled church of Ephesus to stop teaching false doctrine. Timothy is young, inexperienced and shy, it seems. (In many ways, Timothy is the opposite of Paul.) So Paul points Timothy towards what will be his source of hope and strength: the prophecies that were once spoken over Timothy. To prophesy is to speak God’s Word to others.
Perhaps you find yourself in a battle right now. Maybe you are battling with a temptation that seeks to carve up your soul and destroy your life. You may find yourself in a struggle for health and life and you do not know if you will win or not. Or maybe you are dealing with toxic conflict in a close relationship and you have no idea how to stop the craziness let alone find a way towards healing and hope.
If that is your situation, let me assure you that you are not in this battle alone. Jesus is God-with-you, and not just at Easter and Christmas, not just on Sunday morning or when things are going well. We have a God who rolled up his sleeves like a gardener and willingly got himself dirty as he immersed himself in our muck and mire in order to stop the craziness and bring redemption, renewal and restoration. This same Jesus has cleaned you up and given you a new identity: you are now God’s beloved, holy and precious in his sight.
And the battle that your find yourself in does not belong to you. The battle belongs to the Lord (1 Samuel 17:47, 2 Chronicles 20:15). As you step aside from living your own life and invite Jesus to come in and live his life through you, he will fight the battle for you. And he will win. We know that Jesus’ victory is certain because he defeated our enemies of sin, death and Satan when he suffered and died on the cross and rose again from the dead on the third day that followed. Your only battle is to cling to the Saviour who is already holding on to you.
What words of God were spoken over you? The life-giving words of salvation as God claimed you as his forgiven, beloved child in the waters of Holy Baptism. The nourishing and healing words of Jesus as he feeds you with his Body and Blood—“given and shed for you”—in the sacred meal of Holy Communion. The personal words of hope and encouragement God speaks to you as you immerse yourself in his Word.
I encourage you to recall God’s Word to you so that you may face the battle well, holding on to faith and a good conscience. Jesus loves you and he is carrying you in his loving arms.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, please help me to recall the Scriptural words that have been spoken to me in the past. Help me to hear what you are saying to me today through your Word. By your Holy Spirit, help me to hold on to the faith and the good conscience that you have given me. Amen.