Remembering in order to persevere
We all have special moments of truth in life. These drive-a-stake-in-the-ground moments happen when we discover or decide something to be true, and we choose to change the direction of our lives because of them. These moments include times like taking vows when getting married, signing to purchase a home or vehicle, and when we accept Christ as our Savior.
Based upon these declarations, we confirm to ourselves and others that, going forward, we will take action that is dependent upon this truth. In our three examples above, we are confessing that we choose this person as our spouse above all others, that we’re going to pay off the loan, and that we’re trusting Christ for eternal life.
When times get tough – marital problems, financial issues, spiritual doubts – we can look back to those special moments of truth, remember what we said we would do, and then draw the strength from our initial resolve.
Timothy had moments like that, too. Given the struggles he was going to face as he dealt with the melting pot culture of Ephesus and the abundance of false teachings, he would need some encouragement. Paul instructed him to find encouragement in what he already knew to be true.
1 Timothy 6:12
Fight the good fight for the faith;
take hold of eternal life,
to which you were called
and have made a good confession
before many witnesses.
However, this is more than a “you said you would” moment…Paul didn’t want Timothy to think he was the only one. So, he also gives Timothy an example to remember and lean upon:
1 Timothy 6:13-15
In the presence of God, who gives life to all, and before Christ Jesus, who gave a good confession before Pontius Pilate, I charge you to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in His own time.
Pontius Pilate asked Jesus, point blank, if He was the King of the Jews (John 18:33). And when asked, Jesus didn’t shy away from stating his mission. Earlier, when He was struggling with the impending pain and suffering and death, Jesus’ high priestly prayer was about relying on God the Father. When He would struggle later as He hung on the cross, Jesus quoted scripture to help Him stay on mission.
Paul’s point is that Timothy, too, can stay on mission…he can keep the commandment to fight the good fight and take hold of eternal life in the here and now. No matter what life throws at him, and no matter the opposition this young leader would face in Ephesus, Timothy can look back to his own good confession of who Christ is in his life…and find the strength to complete his own mission and calling. Just like Jesus did.