Stand Firm - Always Give Yourselves Fully!
“I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in (people’s) welfare… Timothy has proved himself.” (Phil. 2:20,22)
In his letters to Timothy, Paul reflects a concern for the younger man; Timothy had gone to Ephesus, where he seems to have assumed pastoral responsibilities for the Christians in that area. He seems to be a person of deep care and compassion. Yet, Paul did question Timothy’s resilience, the way he was intimidated by older people and an issue with his own self-discipline. It seems as if Paul is encouraging 3 Timothy to view his life under a microscope and consider every aspect of it according to the highest of Christian standards; stand firm - give yourself fully for people, says Paul.
Self-examination of the ways that we behave, act and react is not an easy thing to do or if might be that we have been, generationally speaking, encouraged or discouraged to this way of ‘growing’. Yet, Paul sees it as an important discipleship matter to ‘watch your life and doctrine closely’ and for the majority of the commentators this is not a morbid introspection into the ‘self’ but a prayer that is more in line with the prayer of the psalmist, who called out:
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24)
The search for resilience is impossible if a person is unwilling or unable to engage in a reflection on oneself in the way in which Paul encourages Timothy to take part in. The challenge was to give yourself fully in speech, in life , in love, in faith and in purity; we have that same challenge!
REFLECTION & STUDY
Consider Paul’s letter to Timothy (1 Tim. 4:12-16). How do you read his message to him? Is he speaking about self-discipline?
Gordan McDonald writes about resilience and says “resilience is a pursuit - a relentless one”. How far do you agree or disagree with this statement? Does resilience mean different things to different generations?
Discuss and reflect on ‘giving yourself fully’ in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. Are there areas of your life where you need to grow and learn how to give yourself fully?
Using Psalm 139: 23-24 as a basis for a prayer, PRAY for:
1. A better understanding of who you are - speak to him about your anxious thoughts and
the ways you interact with other people and stop and LISTEN;
2. Consider, and pray about, your answer and thoughts to question 3 above.
IDEAS FOR FAMILIES
This section provides a few ideas for families to engage with the ‘Week of Prayer’ material. It acts as a guide for you to develop with your family as appropriate.
“I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in (people’s)
welfare... Timothy has proved himself.” (Phil. 2:20,22)
TO TALK ABOUT: Being strong (resilient) every day with Jesus!
Ask the children who is their best friend. What do you like about your best friend? Talk about Paul and Timothy who were good buddies and about the way they helped each other. Explain that Timothy had a difficult task and he needed help - Paul helped him by giving good advice.
Talk about the times when you (or ask your children when they) helped a friend. How did it feel to be helpful?
Remind the children that Jesus is a source of our help and the children can ask Jesus all the time about what to do. We do this by praying!
ACTIVITY (Optional): Draw around the outline of your hand or your child’s hand. Write or draw a prayer for a friend.
TO THINK ABOUT: Sometimes friendships go wrong and people say things that they get upset about. Talk about the ways in which we can pray to help these difficult friendships.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank you for our friends. Help them and bless them
in all they do! AMEN
Day Four - Sunday Services
There are no readings for this day.
PBC Week of Prayer 2020
Thursday 2nd - Wednesday 8th January 2020