GOD USES IMPERFECT PEOPLE

Bible Reading: 2 Timothy 1:6-12

As we take a closer look at Timothy we clearly see that like all of us he has weaknesses as well as strengths. When God writes a biography it includes both the strengths and weaknesses.

One of Timothy’s weaknesses is timidity. Paul says to Timothy that, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind” [2 Timothy 1:7]. The word “fear” in this verse is often translated as “timidity”. The Greek word is ‘deilia’ and can be translated as cowardice, timidity or fearfulness. A derivative of ‘deilia’ is found in John 14:27, and means “to shrink for fear”. This word is always used in a negative context.

Timothy struggled to face up to difficult situations and confront issues and the reason was probably fear. Many years ago a pastor told me that one of the most difficult decisions a leader has to make is when to confront a situation and when not to do so. There were situations in the church at Ephesus that had to be confronted, and especially the false teachers who were leading people astray. Sometimes it is easier to deny that a problem exists or just hope that it will go away without taking any action. I suspect that confronting people was a struggle for Timothy.

Timothy did not need a new experience, because God had given everything that he needed. What Timothy needed to do was to stir up the gift that was already in him by the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands. Paul tells Timothy to stir [“fan into flame” NIV] up the gift within him [2 Timothy 1:6]. Have you noticed how seemly dying embers on a Barbecue can suddenly become aflame and hot again when they are fanned?

Three natural issues may have also contributed to Timothy’s timidity. The first was that he was not physically strong, had stomach problems and was frequently sick [1 Timothy 5:23]. The second was his youthfulness. Paul needed to encourage him not to let this hinder his ministry [1 Timothy 4:23]. It would not have been easy, in that culture, to teach and confront older people.

The third issue was his lack of training, and through his letters Paul needed to instruct Timothy on how a local church should be managed.

Questions:

How do you handle the issue of confrontation? How do you know when it is necessary to confront someone and when it is right to wait?

Are there things in your life that hinder and hold you back from ministering to other people? How are you prepared to deal with those hindrances?

What do you think that Paul means when he speaks about not being ashamed of the testimony of Jesus [see 2 Timothy 1:8]?