2 Timothy 1:3-7:3 I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, 4 greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, 5 when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. 6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Christianity is a generation to generation thing. We all know about ”hand me downs” don’t we? Anyone who grew up in a family with even one brother or sister knows about getting someone else’s clothes or toys or just about anything else of value. In my family, in the fifties, new Levis were just about out of the question. I even got some from my brother that were already patched. Remember those iron on patches? We don’t patch jeans anymore we wear those holes proudly. It costs a lot of money these days to make something look old. My mother would have been mortified.
There are some things we expect to pass on to others but how about faith? Is this even possible? According to Paul and Timothy’s experience it certainly is. Very likely Paul was not from a family of believers. He came to Christ all by himself – but not Timothy. He had the example of a godly grandmother and mother. What an advantage. Timothy’s was a heritage of faith.
Even if you don’t come from a heritage of faith you can start building one today. One day you’ll pass on your wealth and your property and maybe even your body parts. Why not your faith?
TIMOTHY’S HERITAGE OF FAITH WAS BASED ON A SOLID FOUNDATION
5 when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.
Both Lois, Timothy’s grandmother, and Eunice, Timothy’s mother, possessed the genuine article when it came to faith in Christ. These people were more than just church members. They were more than just casual attenders of worship. They possessed a genuine faith in Christ. The changes that were produced in their lives by their sincere or genuine faith were clearly evident for everyone to see. When something is real you’ll know it.
Why not give your next generation something that is real? Let your kids and grandkids see in you a faith in Christ that is the genuine article. If you do it’ll make it much more likely that they’ll desire it for themselves.
TIMOTHY’S HERITAGE OF FAITH WAS EMPOWERED BY AN AWESOME GOD
6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
The Holy Spirit was the gift Paul referred to in this verse. Only those believers who possess a genuine faith in Christ have access to the Holy Spirit. The phrase ”stir up” means to ”rekindle.” It’s a phrase that would have been used by men sitting around a campfire during a cold Judean night. When the fire goes out we have to stir up the coals so it can burn hot again. Problems he’d encountered in either life or ministry or both had caused Timothy’s fire to go out.
Don’t let the fire go out in your life. What’s wrong with our nation? What’s wrong with our churches? That’s easy. Too many believers need to stir up the embers of their relationship with Christ. The fire is going out and only the power of the Holy Spirit can rekindle it again.
This was possible in Timothy’s life because of his heritage of faith.
TIMOTHY’S HERITAGE OF FAITH PROTECTED HIS HEART AND MIND
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
There is no other way to put this, Timothy was afraid. Afraid of what, we don’t know. Timothy had some health issues that could have produced fear. Timothy was a young pastor and could have been afraid that he might not be equal to the task. It really doesn’t matter what makes us afraid. Fear has the capacity to ruin our world and wreck our witness unlike just about anything else.
What if Timothy had not possessed his heritage of faith passed on to him by his grandmother and mother? What if he had not had access to God’s power because of his faith in Christ? A heritage of faith does far more than just save our souls. Our heritage of faith is a shield of insurance that protects us during our most vulnerable times.
When you pass your faith on to someone else you will give them a gift that keeps on giving for the rest of their lives.