18 Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, 19 holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. 20 Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.
1 Tim 1: 18 – 20
I love the scenes in films where the two armies are facing-off ready for battle, that moment when the ‘goodies’, who are usually out-numbered, out-gunned and out of time, know they will probably die at the hands of their enemy. But before the charge is sounded, the captain rides out in front of his men, flags flapping, wind whipping, fear dripping all around him. He raises his voice to give them hope and courage – and it gets me every time!
William Wallace: ‘I *am* William Wallace! And I see a whole army of my countrymen, here in defiance of tyranny. You’ve come to fight as free men… and free men you are. What will you do with that freedom? Will you fight?’
Veteran: ‘Fight? Against that? No! We will run. And we will live’.
William Wallace: ‘Aye, fight and you may die. Run, and you’ll live… at least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin’ to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take… OUR FREEDOM!’
Sometimes movies aren’t so different from real life… okay, so maybe we won’t be battling English tyrany or the might of Rome next week, but we all face challenges. The most challenging of which are the times when we are to stand up and fight for truth! It is at these moments we need a captain to embolden us with words of strength to keep us ready to stand and fight rather than flee.
This was that moment for Timothy. Charged and entrusted by Paul to square up to the false teachers, this might not be an easy battle, Timothy knew ‘war wounds’ were a part of the job description, after-all, he had been with Paul long enough to see this was the case. But Paul knew the clarion cry Timothy needed to hear in order to ready him for battle (v.18-20)
- Remember the prophecies made about you – This will help you wage a good war
- Your faith and a good conscience – These are your sword and shield
- Finally, the most important thing as we wage war is to make Jesus central – we avoid shipwrecking our faith by keeping our eyes fixed on the one who is the Light of the World!
I can just picture the first time Timothy read these words, almost hearing the voice of Paul in his ear… His shoulders went back, his chest out, he grew two or three inches, he grit his teeth and his head went up!
- Are you facing a moment in life that feels like a battle?
- Who is speaking words of courage and faith into your heart and mind?
- Why do you think the Bible often paints the picture of a life of a believer as being a battle?
- What part do faith and a good conscience play in this battle?
- What is the ‘good fight’ (v.18-20) Paul urged Timothy to fight? (See also 6:12)
Memorising short verses of the Bible is a great way to have those words of strength and courage with you at all times… why not set yourself a simple goal of memorising 1 or 2 verses from 1 Timothy this week?
- Thank God that the words of Jesus on the cross ‘It is finished’, means we already have obtained victory over our enemy
- Ask God to speak into your life words of courage for you or someone else today as you need it
- Ask God to fill you freshly with is promised Spirit for courage and boldness today