To Timothy, my precious son in the faith!
I am writing this letter to you to remind you what I have seen in you and what I hope will continue after my departure. I remember the first day I met you. You had such a zeal to be taught in the faith. Your enthusiasm for the gospel was so refreshing. You were hungry for truth. You asked one question after another. I was impressed. You didn’t know it all. You had a teachable heart. I saw a sincere faith in you that I knew was worth the investment. You have not disappointed!
Never forget to pass on to faithful men the things that I have taught you and you have witnessed in me. Do to others what I have done to you. Never forget the values that I have attempted to relay to you. I have not always been a perfect example for you. Please learn from my failures. Do not repeat the same mistakes that I have made. Turn failures into success.
Always love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. Our Lord says that this is the first and greatest commandment. Never let your love for God become perfunctory. It is one thing to say that you love God; it is quite another to live it. Love for God is to pervade every part of your being. You must be moved by a passion for God. You know that my love for God is so zealous that sometimes it is misunderstood by others. That’s okay, God will be the final judge.
That love for God must be fanned by the Holy Spirit as you study the Word of God. His Word reveals to you His heart. Never be afraid to take a stand on the truth of the Word. It is quite natural to have a spirit of fear, but we know that fear comes from the evil one. God will give you the boldness to preach and live the truth when you feel like it and when you don’t.
There will be times that you will think that you stand alone. There will be times when you will look at your peers and think that you must have missed something. But persevere. Don’t doubt what you have been taught. Don’t give in to peer pressure, always rely on the Spirit of God. He will never mislead you. Find others who are like-minded in the faith, for iron always sharpens iron.
Never think that you know it all. Always have a teachable heart. Never be afraid to dialogue with those who see things a little differently than you do. But stand firm! Never compromise on the sound doctrine which you have been taught.
Never become complacent or apathetic about the calling that God has given you. The ministry is an easy place to hide. Never just sit in your office studying. Engage with the body. I encourage you to always surround yourself with people, faithful people, who you can pass on your love for God and His Word. Let people see you live out your faith. Sure, you will fail from time to time. But, let people see how you handle your failures. Let them see you struggle to know God more.
Our Lord tells us that the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. If you truly have a love for God, you will have compassion for people. Never allow people to become your enemy. We know that flesh and blood is never the enemy, but victims of the true enemy, the devil.
Be willing to lay down your life for people. Set an example before them that they cannot help but follow. Let that start with your wife. You know that your bride is your nearest neighbor and your love for her will be imitated by those in the body. Love your children. Be a godly dad. We know that the home is the proving ground for godly character. It is easy to preach at people, but it is much harder to lve before the flock with Christ-likeness.
Never apologize for your faith! Always keep it real! Be bold like I have seen you do so often. I will never forget how you have labored beside me and ministered the gospel with me through conversations, confrontations, and times of encouragement. Be relentless! I know you are and I pray that you will always be.
I pray that God will use you in great and mighty ways for His glory! You have much to offer, never underestimate the wiring that God has assembled in you. Your spiritual gifts are unique to you. Never try to be me. Never try to be someone else. Be who God made you to be! Don’t ever make excuses for bad behavior. Man up and humble yourself before God when you are wrong.
There is so much more that I would like to teach you. I love your zeal for learning. Time is short! We must be busy serving our Lord. Keep on pressing on!