A dying art, the handwritten letter is slowly but surely being replaced by emails and texts.
I confess, I just am as guilty of letting this age-old practice diminish in my own life; and yet, reading Paul’s letter to his young charge Timothy in my Bible, I am inspired to write a few of my own. Reminded to be grateful for a handwritten account of his words, I am well aware that this was no ordinary letter, but one to be recorded and cherished because of the God who inspired it.
I am pretty sure my sweet mama has saved every card and letter she’s ever received. In her 79 years, she has acquired quite a stash, and now that she has dementia they are something of a treasure. She is the only one of seven siblings left, and pictures taken of her loved ones seem almost surreal; but the letters– and those cards written by the hand of her loved ones speak volumes into her heart. Their love and sentiment bring laughter and stir up tears. Even the sight of their unique penmanship is a tangible reminder of their presence.
Don’t you see?
God’s hand–His heart is all over His book. The Bible is so much more than a book of rules or of history.
Paul sums it up well:
“..the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.” 1 Timothy 1:5
Paul’s first letter to Timothy is full of this “instruction”. There are warnings, yes. There are general words of encouragement to this young missionary, and there are also very specific calls to godliness:
“Now you, man of God, run from these things; but pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.” 1 Timothy 6:11
Using strong language, Paul lets his young charge know that there are expectations in this journey of faith:
This is not a timid reminder of God’s standards–it is a passionate call for Timothy–and for all believers to passionately pursue the things of God in this battle of good vs. evil:
“Fight the good fight for the faith; take hold of eternal life, to which you were called…” 1 Timothy 6:12
While we are not all called to be missionaries, we are all called to be “on mission”. Saying yes to God’s offer of salvation is only the beginning of the journey. Sometimes we are to pause and reflect, but always we are called to get up, go out, and “fight for the faith”.
While running or fleeing sin might be a sprint, the pursuit of righteousness is more like a marathon. We prepare, we train, and we plod forward even when it’s hard. Pursuing God is a daily discipline of the heart, mind and soul. When we choose to follow God’s plan for us, our pursuit will take us on the path of “righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.”
What are you running from and what are you running to?
I am not a runner. I don’t enjoy running like my husband, but I do want to succeed in this race called life. Staying in the Word is crucial for my spiritual health and preparedness, so I am committing this verse to memory and I am adding it to my Scripture Memory Challenge:
The beauty of this letter is that It is not just for Timothy. It was written for you and for me. God preserved this letter to show “the importance of what one person can be and do…The individuals addressed…were all redeemed sinners working for the kingdom of God in one way or another. They all benefited from the advice and encouragement offered by the letter they received.” [HCSB, p.1749]
I implore you to read the whole letter of 1 Timothy. Let it encourage you, inspire you, and possibly even challenge you! Won’t you join me in memorizing God’s Word?