Up Close & Personal

Paul’s mentoring relationship with his ‘mentee’ Timothy was up close and personal.  Mentoring was not just a conference theme, a blog post, a sermon series but a complete lifestyle.

In order for Timothy to live differently and lead differently in a godless environment, he had to be exposed to the full gamut of Christian doctrines and practices. So Paul reviews the opportunities Timothy has been given thus far….

“You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings–what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured…”

Timothy had been granted a front row seat to observe what Paul believed and how he lived.

1) Teaching – He had heard public and private teaching. He had seen Paul address unbelievers in various contexts with messages of evangelism.  He had been part of various congregations Paul had taught with messages of edification.

2) Lifestyle – I’m sure Timothy knew Paul’s favourite beverage, his morning routines, his favourite reading material, his typical daily habits.

3) Purpose – If Timothy had been paying attention, he knew not only the WHAT but the WHY behind Paul’s choices.   What motivated him? What goals was he setting out to accomplish with individuals, families, churches, commiunities?

4) Fruit of the Spirit – I’m grouping the ‘faith, patience, love, endurance…’ under the heading of fruit.  What was the Holy Spirit producing in Paul’s life on a daily basis? What tested Paul’s patience? What were Paul’s love languages? How did Paul keep going when ministry became tough?

5) Price of Obedience – Faithfulness to God has a price-tag! Paul had suffered and suffered and suffered.  Reread Acts 9 and note on the first day of his new faith journey, God reveals the reality of suffering.  

We all have an audience.  Children, grandchildren, friends, neighbours, colleagues are watching us, noting the decisions we are making, what ‘turns our crank,’ what encourages and discourages us.

When it comes to discipleship, let’s stop pretending.  Let’s seek, by God’s grace, in 2017, to be more transparent about where we are at in our journey of obedience.  As contemporary Christian music soloist Steve Green often sings, “May all who come behind us find us faithful!”

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