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Help Us to Develop the Virtues of Patience and Self Possession
“Be self-possessed in all circumstances; put up with hardship; perform the work of an evangelist; fulfill your ministry” (2 Tim. 4:5). Well, here is the reality of the faith life lived out in this world. Paul is writing to Timothy here as a loving and honest teacher, admonishing Timothy to “hang in there” even though preaching the gospel may be met with opposition, hostility, indifference, and even the defections of many from the community. The younger Timothy needed this encouragement, just as we do today. And Paul is holding back nothing in his admonishments. He begins this chapter of his letter with the gravity of obligation that is incumbent on Timothy as the leader of the community. He says, “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power: proclaim the word, be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching” (verses 1-2). This admonition is as serious and true for us today as it was for Timothy. This is what we are charged to do, “in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus,” as professed Christians in the world today. Let’s be honest. In the present cultural environment, do we not often try to escape this duty because it is “inconvenient” to our own comfort? Do we avoid our calling on many occasions, because we don’t want to appear to “offend” a friend, or “create a scene” that might be uncomfortable, even dangerous? Do we give up, or not even try, because we feel that we do not know how to “convince”? And reprimand! Who wants to be “guilty” of reprimanding someone for fear that you you might be accused…