Spiritually speaking, Paul considered Timothy his “son in the faith” (I Tim. 1:2). And, like any parent, he had noble aspirations for his loved one. In the Book of II Timothy, he is very specific about four things he wants Timothy to become for the Lord.
First, he wanted him to be a good servant of the Lord (1:6). God had given him a temporary spiritual gift that was not to be wasted, but consistently used in the local church, where he would have opportunities and the obligation to use this divine enablement.
Paul also wanted Timothy to become a good soul-winner (1:8). Apparently, there were real dangers in doing so for Timothy, and there was a danger he might shrink away from this essential task. He might allow the fear of men, and their reactions, to prevent him from sharing the gospel. If Timothy did not grow beyond such a fear, his lack of action would essentially be saying he was “ashamed of the testimony of our Lord.” What a reminder for us today as well!
Next, Paul wanted Timothy to be a good student of the Word (2:15). Specifically, he wanted him to diligently apply himself to the study of the Scriptures so that he would be able to rightly divide the Word.
Finally, Paul wanted Timothy to faithfully hold fast to the distinctive doctrines taught only by the Apostle Paul (1:13,14), to continue in them without wavering (3:14), and then teach them to faithful men who would stand with him in dispensational truth (2:2). In Paul’s eyes, it would only be as Timothy achieved these four goals that he would be a spiritually-mature saint.
In a practical sense, each of us today can gauge our own spiritual maturity by measuring ourselves against these four goals that Paul had for Timothy. If we are consistently using our God-given capabilities for the Lord in our local church, then we’ve taken a step toward spiritual maturity. If we are bold and faithful in giving out the gospel to lost souls, we have taken another step toward maturity in Christ. If we are willing to endure hardship in ministry for Christ, without stopping our service, we have taken yet another step in maturity. If we are unwavering in our loyalty to the distinctive dispensational truths of God’s Word, as taught exclusively by Paul, we have taken still another important step toward spiritual maturity.
When young children begin to walk, they take one wobbly step at a time. Sometimes they fall down. The important thing in their development toward physical maturity is the process of getting back up when they fall, undeterred, and continuing to walk on toward greater stability. Dear saint, if you’ve fallen down in one of these four areas of growing in Christ toward spiritual maturity, get back up and start walking again in the right direction. Your Heavenly Father is watching and waiting to be pleased of what you choose to do next.
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.