1 Timothy 4:11-16 NKJV These things command and teach. (12) Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. (13) Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. (14) Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. (15) Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. (16) Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.
I really enjoy Paul’s letters to Timothy. They are filled with such fatherly instruction, encouragement, and of course pastoral wisdom. Timothy faced a number of obstacles as pastor of the church of Ephesus. He had strong opposition from those against Christianity in the community. He had opposition from those within the church that didn’t respect his leadership. And he had opposition from within himself where he dealt with thoughts of self-confidence and self-doubt. Throughout his letters to Timothy, Paul touched on these areas and exhorted Timothy. We can learn some things here too that will help us in the face of opposition or any other kind of obstacles that might begin to cause us to fear.
In the face of fear or any obstacle remember these 3 things.
1. Identity – Who are you? Paul encouraged Timothy to be strong in who he was and live it out in every facet of his life. Like Timothy we are Believers and we can be encouraged by Paul’s letter to be examples to others in what we say, how we act, how we love, our disposition, our faithfulness & confidence in God, & holiness of our lifestyle. We can continue to grow in these areas as we study the Word and apply what we learn (Rom 12:1-2)
2. Calling – What is your call? Not all of us are called to pastor, like Timothy, but we all have a call and have been given gifts to assist us in that call. Some will be called to ministry, some will be called to sort mail, design buildings, work in the medical field, teach, build houses, etc… for the Glory of God. Our identity tells us who we are. Our calling tells us what we are to do. Even if you are not walking in your calling yet, it gives you direction in where to head.
3. Purpose – Why are you here? Purpose tells us why we are here. Your purpose and mine may be vastly different, but we share at least one commonality together with Timothy. We are called to bring others to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and teach them to do likewise. Our individual purposes can vastly differ as do our callings, but that thread is entwined in the fabric of the purpose of every Believer.
Knowing who you are, what you are supposed to do & why you are here will encourage you to stand and press forward when you are tempted to give in to fear. Take some time to reflect on who you are in Christ, the gifts and callings on your life, and why you are here. If you are unclear or not sure yet, talk to your pastor and help them fulfill the vision of your church, re-read Mark 16 a written purpose for the Body of Christ and get busy doing those things before you to do.