Paul was in a Roman prison for the second time. He had put Timothy in charge of the church at Ephesus when he left. The letter was to be guidance for the young minister. There was lots of fear. Persecution against the church was high. We should be very thankful that we don’t have to meet in secret. The world would like to stomp out Christianity. Many seem to be okay with us talking about God, but when the name of Jesus is brought into the conversation it’s not acceptable. It still takes the blood of Christ to be saved. We’re told that Emperor Nero set fire to Rome and blamed the Christians. So they arrested the leader–Paul. Tradition says that Nero was responsible for Paul being beheaded in Rome. This is the backdrop for this letter to Timothy.
II Timothy 1:2 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, 2 To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 3 I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day.
Paul was called by God. I still believe God calls men to preach the Word of God. Paul wrote some of his greatest writings from prison. How does adversity affect you? We all get down and out. Even in those times don’t let it get the best of you; don’t get to the point of losing your faith. Paul kept the faith. We may suffer loss of a job or our health. We may lose loved ones. Friends may turn against you. When these times come, how will you react?
Some quit. The parable of the sower tells us about the one who through troubles and trials throws in the towel. I see it a lot. Adversity drives people away from the church. Some trial, some busybody causes an uproar and they’re gone. They become hard and cynical. In Psalms 119:71 David said that his adversity profited him. Joseph had adversity. He didn’t quit. Daniel had it. He didn’t quit. The list goes on and on. Paul didn’t start the letter talking about his adversity. Yet he had it. We all get sick but we can remain more positive. Remember others face things far worse than what we do. Walk through a nursing home or hospital. You’ll see them. Things could be worse.
Timothy is the example that God can use anybody. He was young. He wasn’t in great health. He was timid. He leaned on Paul. That’s all right. We don’t have to be superhumans for God to use us. God uses the usable. This is not about me or you. It’s about Jesus. He is worthy of all praise. According to historians Paul wasn’t a good looking man but he was willing to be used. Let your life be used to glorify God.
In verse 3 Paul talks about his pure conscience. We can ignore our conscience. Others can stir it up. It’s far more sensitive in some than others. Can you and I say we have a good conscience toward God? Can we say we live that way? In John 8 we see the story of the woman caught in the act of adultery. In the end her accusers left one by one because of their conscience.
Whatever you need from the Lord he can do. In times of adversity, will you quit or give up? It’s your choice. You can become hard or cynical. That’s your choice. Or you can choose to profit from it. Adversity will come. How will you face it?