Fulfilling His plans for us
Ever wish that God would just tell you what He has specifically planned for your life? Maybe not all the details, but at least how He desires for us to partner with Him? Very rarely was God that clear and specific with anyone in Scripture; however, God did foretell some details to one of Paul’s young protégés.
At some point while he was growing up, Timothy was told by God that he would do great things in ministry. Paul knew of these prophecies; however, he also knew that Timothy still had work to do in order to fulfill what had been foretold about him.
1 Timothy 1:18-19
Timothy, my child, I am giving you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies previously made about you, so that by them you may strongly engage in battle, having faith and a good conscience.
Paul gave Timothy pointed instruction – both previously and in his current letter – for a specific reason: Paul wanted to encourage his child so that he could fulfill what God had designed him to do.
Paul wasn’t trying to build Timothy up just so he felt good about himself, either. Paul was looking forward to the time when Timothy was able to strongly engage in battle. This phrase was spoken of a commander who would lead soldiers to war. Timothy was to take Paul’s instructions, combine them with the special knowledge God had revealed to him, and then choose to apply them as he led an entire congregation of believers.
Timothy’s fulfillment of the prophecies previously made about him were conditional on his choices and actions. Notice the Paul used the word may. He had every confidence that Timothy could courageously lead the church in Ephesus, otherwise Paul would not have left him there and in charge. But Timothy was still responsible to make use of the instruction and spiritual gifts that had been given to him.
Now I’ve never been given a prophecy about how I would serve God and point others to Him. I suspect you haven’t, either. Yet we do have special knowledge from God that even Timothy didn’t have – we have the entire Bible. We can hold in our hands the complete revelation from God which details His plans both for and with humanity.
Our ability to achieve what God has planned for us to do is also contingent, just like Timothy. If we are willing to take the instructions of our mentors, combine them with God’s revelation, and then choose to apply them…God’s design for us will be fulfilled.