This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare. – 1 Timothy 1:18
It was the first day of our vacation, and my wife Anna and I were visiting a beautiful location on the Oregon coast. I was coming off of a high-pressured time of ministry. I knew we had a few weeks of rest ahead of us, yet it still didn’t seem like enough to compensate for the demanding season just passed. Sitting there quietly one morning, alone with the Lord, I looked out at the mist that hung over the shimmering coastline, and all I could think was, This vacation is not going to be long enough. Before I’d even given myself a chance to enjoy the time off, I felt depressed about having to go back to work.
Then “IT” began to creep into my mind: I wonder if I’m even doing the right thing with my life. Maybe I’ve violated God without realizing it, and He’s getting even with me. “It” wasn’t enough to make me say “I quit,” but “IT” began to displace my joy with a subtle, insidious fear.
That kind of “IT” is so manifest to our minds…distracting, detouring, discouraging. “IT” rarely confronts us full-blown in the face, but rather seeps in gradually and begins to erode our clarity and confidence with thoughts like, I’m tired. I’m trapped. I’m through. The same thing has probably happened to you and will probably happen again. Let me tell you how I dealt with “IT.”
First came an inner prompting, for shortly after “IT” entered my mind, there came a whisper down in my soul: Jack! Get real! Get right! And get going!
I was being confronted by the Holy Spirit, and He prompted my heart (and pen) with the following words that sweetly ministered to my soul. They are words, loved ones, that I want to challenge you to apply to yourself in confronting any kind of “IT” that seeks to reduce your joy or hinder your confidence about the purpose of God being fulfilled in your life.
Let these words whisper to you heart. They’re as true of you as they are of me-they are underwritten by God’s Word of promise and backed by His Word of power. Hear them!
- I don’t know of anyone with greater promise before them than you.
- I don’t know of anyone with reason for higher hopes than you.
- I don’t know of anyone with larger potential or a more certain future than you.
[Pause, please. Reflect on the truth and lasting reality of those ideas. Then proceed.]
Every one of us is challenged from time to time by “IT.” “It” manifests in attitudes that exploit whatever struggle we may be facing and degrade our sense of confidence about who God has made us to be and called us to become. We are all called to confront “IT”…whatever that “IT” may be.
The words the Holy Spirit spoke to me also represent a declaration spoken by the apostle Paul to his son in the faith, Timothy, as he faced the “it” that confronted him when he assumed Paul’s pastorate in Ephesus: How could someone like me follow in Paul’s footsteps? I don’t know if I can do this.
Paul’s letter to Timothy is both an urging for him not to back away but to remain where he was, as well as an encouraging to this young man not to let the obstacles, taunts or distresses he was facing cause him to give up.
The Holy Spirit speaks the same words of promise, hope and expectation to you and me today. Though he doesn’t phrase it this way, in a very real sense Paul was calling his young associate to live up to his name: Timothy. No matter what your or my name is, when we think in those terms about what Paul was saying, his letter addresses something that is true of all of us.
“Timothy” – A prophecy for your life
The name Timothy is derived from two Greek words: timao, which means “to honor” or “to establish worth”; and theos, or “God.” Wrapped up in Timothy’s name is a tremendous prophecy about every human life. While society places a dollar value on people when it determines things like wages and life insurance, a sense of worth derived from that can be very deceptive, because it is based upon a human calculation. Dollar value has little to do with real value.
Timao has to do with the true worth of a person’s life based upon what God has invested in each one of us. And once our real value begins to be perceived, that changes the way we view any of the “its” that face us. There comes a new sense of esteem. It isn’t self-esteem but the esteem of being honored by God. Not that He is marveled by how amazing we are, but that the living God, knowing what He has invested in us, will not dishonor what He has designed.
Consider the price that was paid for us
There’s another idea wrapped up in timao-the idea of penalty. While that may seem peculiar when we are talking about esteem and worth, as it was used in the ancient court systems, the concept is obvious: Timao had to do with the exacting of a punishment relative to a committed crime, i.e. the violation was worth a particular degree of penalty.
This insight prompts a countering concept-truth that refuses the doubt born of any residing sense that we are still living “penalized” for our past. In contrast to that, God’s Word summons our reviewing the enormous, intrinsic worth He has invested in you and me. Not only did He place His worth in us when He designed us, but He was also willing to pay an incredible price to redeem us from the penalty of our sin.
Think of it! Your life and mine must be worth much more than “it”, otherwise God would not have paid so great a price to redeem us! Don’t let your doubts, fears or the spirit of condemnation dispute or dishonor the value and worth God has confirmed regarding you. YES! We were sinners! YES! We were helplessly lost! YES! We had not self-strength or self-worth to recover ourselves. BUT…
BUT God gave His priceless Gift-Jesus-and in Him announced a worth-He was valuable enough to spend His life for us!
BUT God made a timeless life-YOU-and He refused to see that eternally lost. So He devised a plan to recover your value for His eternal purposes and to enjoy His eternal fellowship.
Dear one, God thinks you’re worth so very, very much! Don’t let “IT” argue against that. Hear His Holy Spirit speak the truth over and over again to us-to draw us to the recognition that if God has put such purpose in us, then there is no power or lie that ought to be allowed to challenge that!
“Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners,” Paul writes in his letter, “of whom I am chief” (1 Tim. 1:15). Every thoughtful, sensitive soul has, at one time or another, felt guilty for their sins and bad about themselves as Paul did. Sin is a violation of what we were designed to be in the eyes of Father God. The inadequacies, failures and fears of our lives-whatever our “its” may be-blind us to the possibility of hope. God has clearly evidenced His desire to see every aspect of His design for our lives fulfilled, and in sending and spending Jesus, God lovingly and tenderly was saying, This is what you are worth in My plan.
Receive the Holy Spirit’s prophecy about you
As you face your private circumstances, I want to encourage you to see, in the heartbeat of Paul’s letter to Timothy, a letter written to you:
I urge you to remain where you are; don’t back away. Wage a good warfare, according to the prophecies that were spoken over you. (1 Timothy 1:3, 18, paraphrased)
Prophecy does not only relate to future events forthcoming in the history of our world or to the study of past events in which we see the marvel of God fulfilling what He said He would do. There is another order of prophecy in the Bible in which the Holy Spirit speaks to people about themselves. You’ve probably experienced it as I have. It may be when you are reading the Bible, and all of a sudden, a verse seems to jump off the page and speak specifically to you. Or you may be facing a given situation and feel uncertain about it, and He will whisper to your soul things that the Bible says but which are not direct quotes.
The Holy Spirit speaks to us by the breath of His Spirit about things that have to do with the Father’s purpose in us. We sense it, way down deep: This is what I’m about. That sense of mission and calling is not idle fancy; it is prophecy from the Creator saying, I made you for that. There are also prophecies that come from a brother or sister in the Lord as they are speaking with you or praying with you. (I don’t mean bizarre or presumptuous things some oddball person may say-things that have no support in Scripture or clash with the inner witness of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.) But when “words” or prophetic promptings are aligned with the Word of God, there is reason to permit their comfort and confirmation to deepen our sense of the Father’s purpose, plan and provision for our lives.
Confront the “IT” in your life
Paul urged Timothy to “wage a good warfare.” In the Greek text, the single verb for that is strateuo, from which we get our word, strategy. Strategy has to do with recognizing the tactics of the enemy. It has to do with taking the high ground, with thinking clearly in the middle of the flack and holding our ground.
What’s your strategy when “pot shots from hell” are coming at you from every direction? As Paul says by the Spirit of God to Timothy, so the word is to you and me: Don’t let turmoil change your mind about what God has said about you. He’s not going to back away from the investment He has made in you.
God has invested the life of His precious Son Jesus Christ in you and me in order that His purpose be fulfilled in us, no matter what “its” we face-no matter what problems, pain or struggles seek to obstruct our confidence in that. So let us receive and affirm the prophecies that have been spoken over our lives and stand our ground as His disciples. Be urged and encouraged to confront whatever “it” may be in your life, to recognize the infinite worth, great promise, high hopes and certain future you have in God’s purpose. Hear the Holy Spirit say, as I did that morning on the Oregon coast, The investment I’ve made in you is assured.
And remember, loved one…you’re worth more than “it.”
Copyright © 2005, 2010 Jack W. Hayford, Jack Hayford Ministries, Van Nuys, CA 91405. All rights reserved.
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