“…standing firm in the faith…”
1 PETER 5:9
Though Satan walks around like a roaring lion looking for prey, Peter is confident that we can stand firm in the fiercest trial. But faith is a fight. It is the good fight. 1 TIMOTHY 6:12
Luke records Jesus as he taught his disciples about persistent praying. In a closing thought, Jesus’ voice almost seems to trail off as he wonders about his return and whether or not faith will still exist. LUKE 18:8
And in 2 Timothy, we get a glimpse of just how difficult the fight of faith is, how hard it is not to shrink back in the face of trouble, and how we have to battle to stand firm to the end.
As this letter is written (A.D. 66–67?), Paul is imprisoned in a cold cell (4:13), in chains (2:9), and with no hope of deliverance (4:6).
Demas (“in love with this present world”) has now deserted him. Not only that, Alexander the coppersmith (probably the same Alexander who stood by Paul in the Ephesus uproar), has now turned on Paul, causing “a great deal of harm.” Timothy is warned to steer clear of him, for he strongly opposes the gospel message.
Demas and Alexander have not stood firm.
Paul, who has always valued surrounding himself with other faithful believers (see the people list in Romans 16) is now suddenly down to only Luke. He longs for Timothy to come soon, suggesting that he bring Mark with him when he comes (yes, the same Mark who he had no confidence in, as recorded in Acts 15). Not only has Mark not shrunk back in his faith, the years have apparently matured him into a solid dependable man of faith.
Paul asks for his cloak. It’s cold in prison, and winter’s coming. He asks for his books, especially all the parchments. Keeping his mind on things above is key, and Paul knows that.
And then Paul reminisces for a moment, recalling how he has been delivered in the past, and how the Lord has stood by him and strengthened him. He has been rescued from the Lion’s mouth again and again.
And then he closes with a flourish of praise to his faithful Lord.
The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. 2 TIMOTHY 4:18
May Paul’s praise be our praise as Kenny Clark reminds us this coming Sunday to stand firm in the power of God’s mighty arm.