“In the sight of God and these witnesses, I now pronounce you husband and wife!” These words often spoken at the end of a marriage ceremony communicate an important idea. The couple has publicly proclaimed that they will live in a lifelong covenant relationship with one another. When times get difficult, they remember the vows they made before God and their friends and family as an encouragement to faithfulness.
As Paul draws his first letter to a close, he reminds Timothy of a similar commitment he made before God and others. At his baptism, Timothy made a public confession of faith in Christ (v. 12). He also carried out his ministry “in the sight of God . . . and of Christ Jesus” (v. 13). Not only was Jesus a witness to Timothy’s ministry, He provided the model for it. Even in the most difficult circumstances, Jesus remained faithful “while testifying before Pontius Pilate” (v. 13). If Jesus was faithful, even with the imminent threat of crucifixion, Timothy could persevere as well. Additionally, Timothy was encouraged to persevere by looking to the future. One day, Jesus will return in triumph and glory (v. 14). This return is guaranteed by the promise of God (v. 15).
It is a mark of how difficult Timothy’s circumstances must have been that Paul felt it necessary to provide him with all these reasons to pursue “righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness” and to “fight the good fight of the faith (vv. 11–12). Perseverance in ministry can be difficult. Paul understood that we often need to be reminded of who God is, what He has done, and what our future holds to maintain the perspective we need for faithfulness.
>> Are you losing your eternal perspective? Are there difficulties in your life or ministry that you are facing? We must never forget that we serve and worship a God who is in control. In Him, our future is secure.
As Moody graduates celebrate Commencement, we pray over them the words from today’s reading: “[P]ursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness . . . Fight the good fight of the faith” (1 Tim. 6:11).