2 Timothy 3:10-11 (NASB)
Now you have followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me!
The previous passage mentioned disobedient resisters (2 Timothy 3:8-9). The word "now" transitions to Timothy’s obedience. Paul praised Timothy's obedience, which was manifested in the following aspects:
• Obedience is a habit: Timothy has obeyed for a long time.
• Obedience is loyal company: Obedience is manifested in loyal following, even in adversity or persecution. At that time, everyone in Macedonia had deserted Paul, but Timothy did not leave him or forsake him. The obedient life will follow to the end when it encounters difficulties.
• Follow the teaching: The leaders in the church must first follow the teachings of the Bible, obey the rules of the church, and be sensitive to God's will and guidance. A leader must be a follower first. Only those who follow instructions can grow to maturity.
• Follow the conduct: Timothy not only followed Paul's teaching, but also followed Paul's behavior. Paul’s behavior can be seen in Acts 20:18-19: he served the Lord with humility of mind, with many tears and in the midst of severe testing. He did not hesitate to preach anything that would be helpful and taught publicly and house to house. Paul taught tirelessly. For him, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21)
• Follow the purpose: Paul committed himself to God’s holy work, to persuade people to return to Christ, to preach the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:19), and to help the church thrive.
• Follow the faith: Faith here is to live out a life of what we believe
• Follow patience: Without Christ, our sinful nature is narrow-minded and impatient, and we cannot face persecution and injustice with patience. With patience from God, we can persevere in an environment of persecution. Learn to be patient, bearing with one another with love. An obedient church is patient and tolerant with each other and patient in our fellowships. Also our church has three languages and we have to be patient with different languages, too.
• Follow love: This love is the self-sacrificing love of Jesus. We must act in love and love each other.
• Follow perseverance: Choose to persevere willingly in difficulties. Choose to suffer rather than avoid it for pleasure.
• Facing hardship: There will be no smooth sailing in ministry and on the field. The more difficulties, the more grace. Paul never boasted his success of preaching, but he always boasted about his sufferings and weakness, testifying of the Lord's salvation in the midst of hardship. Therefore, don't be frightened by difficulties or persecution, and don't run away. Just obey the Lord Jesus' guidance, believe in the Lord's salvation and promises, and by faith hold on to hope .
The growth of a Christian's life can’t be separated from obedience. Obedience leads to growth; after growing, there will be more obedience. May we also imitate Timothy and obey the apostle's teachings, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings.
～ Rev. Benguang Du 都本光牧師～