Let an Older, Wiser someone speak loving truth into your life.
FOR THE SPIRIT GOD GAVE US DOES NOT MAKE US TIMID, BUT GIVES US POWER, LOVE AND SELF-DISCIPLINE. -2 TIMOTHY 1:7
Who do you want to look like?
Over the years, I’ve sought out faithful women I wanted to be like. I would say, “I wish I loved people like Michelle” or “If I only knew the Word like Anita” or “I wish I could fast and pray like Dawn.” And I’d just start to stalk them, peeping out from behind the fake plants at church… Okay, not really... but kinda. Seriously, sometimes I’d ask them to formally mentor me, and other times, I’d just keep asking them to coffee until… Wait! What’s that?!?! I think you’re my mentor! Obviously, I needed it! I still do. I gave these wise, faithful women permission to speak into my life, I trusted them with my worries and my struggles, I asked them for guidance and help. And do you know what? They walked me through many a hard decision, prayed me through ups and downs, spoke truth to me, encouraged me, and drew me closer to Jesus. Through it all, they loved me well and taught me how to be a woman of God. Frankly, I’m overwhelmed by the investments these amazing women have made in my life over time, investments that still bear fruit today.
So, what does that have to do with our verse?
So, so much. You see, this verse isn’t just a wise word that magically materialized from the heavens. Nope. It comes out of this rich context of a mentoring relationship. Our verse comes from a letter, written by the older, faithful Paul to his long-time disciple, Timothy. Read them again in that context. “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” These words are specific; they’re for Timothy, they’re from Paul. Paul really knew Timothy, he knew the inner-workings of his particular situation, and therefore he said precisely what Timothy needed to hear. Now, Paul’s words weren’t just from any old letter, they’re Scripture. So, they weren’t just for Timothy in his particular situation, they’re for us too, right now. And looking at them through the lens of their mentoring relationship challenges me to think about the value of having people like Paul in my own life.
Read more from Natalie about the impact and importance of friendship within the church in Enduring, Impactful Encouragement.
(CONTINUED FROM ABOVE)
Paul really knew Timothy.
I don’t think I can overemphasize this point. They had over 20 years of history together, traveling the known world planting churches. They endured troubles, beatings, and imprisonments, worked hard and lost sleep, dolled out patience, kindness, and sincere love. They spoke the truth by the power of God in all kinds of circumstances (see 2 Cor. 6:4-10 for more). And they went through it all… together. These guys were thick. Paul knew Timothy like he knew himself. And he knew that Timothy was still unsure in his leadership, tending towards timidity and fretting about things. So, it’s out of this deep well of relationship that Paul said to his fainthearted friend, “The Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power…” Do you hear his fatherly care? His knowing encouragement? Timothy needed a shot of courage, and Paul was just the person to give it. “Don’t fret Timothy, I may not be there, but God’s own Spirit is in you, giving you courage and power.” While this may be true generally for us all, Paul spoke this word to Timothy specifically, because he knew it was what he needed to hear.
Paul knew Timothy’s situation.
Paul also knows just what Timothy was up against. You see, Paul and Timothy spent 3 years together starting the church in Ephesus. And when Paul moved on, he left his trusted protege in charge. But this was no cushy job. At the time of this letter, Timothy had no shortage of issues with his congregation. There were false teachers stirring up controversies and confusion in the church. What’s worse is that they weren’t outsiders, they were trusted members of the church that had gone off the rails and were leading others astray. And it’s into this context that Paul reminded Timothy that he had the SPIRIT OF GOD in him! YESSSSS! Who can come up against the Spirit of God and win? The Spirit would supply Timothy everything he needed to fight heresy and lead in power, love, and self-discipline. Paul may not have been able to support his friend in person, but these words bolstered Timothy up in difficult circumstances.
Paul loved Timothy enough to speak truth.
If you were to go back and read both of Paul’s letters to Timothy through the lens of their mentoring relationship, I think you’d be floored at the depth of affection displayed there. In this second letter, Paul talked about how he longed to see Timothy, remembering their last tearful goodbye and constantly praying for him. And Paul called Timothy “his true son in the faith” (1 Tim 1:2). These letters are packed full of fatherly words, written to a younger son in the faith—words of encouragement, truth, and instruction. What’s clear is that Paul loved Timothy enough to say them. Don’t we all need someone like that in our lives!?!? I’m so grateful that our Scriptures show what real life-on-life mentoring relationships should look like, giving us something to aim at. So I have to ask you this question…
Do you have a mentor?
I’ll be honest. I don’t right now. But I know I need one. I need a Paul in my life—someone who really knows me (the good, the bad, and the ugly), who knows my situation fully, and who loves me enough to speak truth to me. I’ve had mentors before, and it’s priceless. Because, just in case you’re wondering, I haven’t arrived yet. I’m still growing in godliness, it’s a lifelong pursuit. And I need someone who’s just a little ahead of me on the path, someone to help show me the way. So, I’ll ask you again: Do you need a mentor too? While you marinate on that a bit, I’ll leave you with this little verse God recently put on my heart. I think it’s all too fitting. “The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice (Prov. 12:15).” I know it’s not a feel good verse, but it’s certainly a good verse. As for me, I need someone to give me sound advice, or I’m in danger of playing the fool.
Have you ever had a friend or mentor speak into a situation or a struggle and say precisely what you needed to hear?
If you don’t have a mentor, who is that wise, faithful person that you could ask to coffee (repetitively… until they’re mentoring you)?
Does your way seem right to you all the time? How is that a danger? How might a mentor help you see more objectively?
Thanks for reading,
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Hi there, I'm Natalie. I'm so glad you're here. I'd love to connect with you and hear more about what God is doing in your life!
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