“I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you.”
II Timothy 1:5 (NLT)
Perhaps it is the recent Mothers Day we celebrated, or perhaps it is my grandmother’s upcoming birthday anniversary, but memories of my family have been strong in my mind this week. I’ve always loved today’s verse, initially because my mother’s name has been included in the Bible. How mind blowing would that have been if my mother had been “Eunice” and my grandmother had been named “Lois?”
Well, my grandmother was Harriet (Mabel) from Ohio and my mother was Lois (Marion) from Illinois and my name isn’t Timothy, but the rest of the verse is applicable. My grandmother was a believer, my mother was a believer and my sister and I have also chosen to follow Jesus Christ. The LORD found us when it was supposedly an easy time to be a Christian. “If you were an American, you were a Christian.” Churches of all faiths and denominations abounded, often located across the street from each other.
Thank God that the faith He imparted to us through the preceding generations was genuine. When Paul wrote this letter to Timothy, Christians (who had always experienced some form of distrust and persecution from the masses) were about to face government led persecution of the highest order. Paul would soon be executed and it would take solid, sound faith to equip followers of The Way to stand firm.
Paul wrote gems of wisdom to Timothy as admonishment for the days when his mentoring would be done and he would be gone. They were words to live by then and a timely message for today.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord.” verses 1:7-8a”
“For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was His plan from before the beginning of time–to show us His grace through Christ Jesus.” verse 1:9
“Hold onto the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me…Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you.” verses 1:13-14
“Always remember that Jesus Christ, a descendant of King David, was raised from the dead. This is the Good News I preach.” verse 2:8
“Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive His approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.” verse 2:15
“…God’s truth stands firm like a foundation stone with this inscription: ‘The LORD knows those who are his,’ and ‘All who belong to the LORD must turn away from evil.” verse2:19
“Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.” verse 2:25
And so many more…”You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be difficult times…and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution…you must remain faithful to what you have been taught…You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus…All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right…Keep a clear mind…don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.”
To a certain point our pasts shape us. We receive genes that determine how we look, have great influence over our health, affect our intelligence, spark our ambition. Our birthplace may greatly influence our manner of speech. Our families greatly influence our attitudes. But all of this can be changed by God.
Being born into a family that loves God doesn’t mean the children will continue to love Him. Conversely, being born into a family which has no awareness of God doesn’t mean the children will be lost. Thanks to my grandmother and mother, it was easier for me to find Jesus because I was always aware of Him. However, there are others in my family who took that faith for granted and never made it their own.
It is the LORD who found us, you and me. It is the LORD who is bringing us through the good and the tough times of our lives, who gives us hope and the heart to rejoice in Him. It is Jesus Christ who fellowships with us through our suffering. It is Jesus Christ who is coming again for His own…so we may rejoice with Paul…
“I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me–the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to His appearing.”
II Timothy 4:7-8 (NLT)
Stand firm, dear Sisters in Christ. Whether or not you have the history of believing ancestors, determine to pass on the witness of your genuine faith in our LORD to your descendants. May these lives we live bear the true testimony of Jesus Christ to all generations.
by Marilyn Allison