When I imagine Paul writing the passage below to Timothy, his protege, I imagine a gentle yet firm posture from Paul.
It is gentle because he understands the many pitfalls and opposition Timothy faces and will face. It is firm because it is what loves demand
I am reminded that if there is any better way for God to mold us into who he intends us to be without the struggles and affliction, he would do that. Why? Because love demands it. And this gives me great comfort
I imagine there is a somberness to this letter to Timothy as Paul senses his end is near – 2 Tim 4:6-8, and with that posture Paul delivers a clarion call to Timothy. It is a call to arms of sorts, a final message to keep his beloved son, on the straight and narrow
“…Understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.
For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful,
unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.
Avoid such people.
Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:
preach the word;
be ready in season and out of season;
reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
May we ever be so ready to take up this charge, for His sake. Amen