2 Timothy 3:10-15
10 But you have followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, and endurance, 11 along with the persecutions and sufferings that came to me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. What persecutions I endured! Yet the Lord rescued me from them all. 12 In fact, all those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 13 Evil people and impostors will become worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed. You know those who taught you, 15 and you know that from childhood you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
Although the text includes verses 10-15, the driving portion of this text that captures the essence of spiritual growth for me is verses 14-15. In the Phillips New Testament, Phillips captures these two verses in a very powerful manner, providing the believer with powerful words explaining what and how spiritual growth occurs.
This is how he brings these verses to life: “Yet you must go on steadily in all those things that you have learned and which you know are true. Remember from what sort of people your knowledge has come, and how from early childhood your mind has been familiar with the Holy Scriptures, which can open the mind to the salvation which comes through believing in Christ Jesus.”
As I have listened and learned from these two verses, several ideas become obvious for promoting and sustaining spiritual growth. The initial truth from the passage is the faith relationship with Jesus Christ. Of course this first relationship is a product of listening and learning from the sacred writings.
Timothy’s understanding of Scripture provides the guidance and direction to move steadily in understanding spiritual next steps. Steady growth comes from practice. Although the text doesn’t completely describe the practices Timothy may have used, it is clear that he pursued an ongoing diet of Scripture and relational interaction that enhanced Timothy’s ability and confidence to be bold in his mission.
Timothy was blessed with teaching from his grandmother, mother, and Paul. Though these teachings originated from his mentors, these truths would become his own. The theme of this devotional is learning spiritual growth through models and mentoring.
Timothy was mentored first by his grandmother, and then continued in a mentoring relationship with his mother, Eunice. After his family he was passed on to Paul. Paul was intent on Timothy getting intense encouragement, correct doctrine, and dedicated instruction on what he needed to do to carry out his mission.
Each believer needs models and mentors to learn such things as the practice of spiritual disciplines, including specific ways to pray or a plan for Bible Study and how to approach it:
- First and foremost investigate a plan for Biblical intake – follow the plan daily. It is through Scripture that God speaks to us and helps us understand potential spiritual next steps.
- Practice silence and solitude. I find that during these times with some segment of Scripture God gives me a story or a truth or simply an awareness of His presence. In these days of my life, I am more aware of an inclination to these words, story and understanding.
- Develop a spiritual friendship with a fellow believer. This friendship should focus on the single question: “What is God doing in your life right now?”
- Find a small group of peers and trusted friends, so when things get tough you have someone who is prepared to help you manage difficult times.
- A mentor or coach, depending upon where you are and what you need, will provide invaluable assistance in developing and taking spiritual next steps. For more information on spiritual friends, mentors or coaches to go www.brentwoodbaptist.com/mentorrelationships.
- Determine if you need a mentor. A mentor will enable the believer to gain information and experience to grow spiritually. Go to www.brentwoodbaptist.com/mentorrelationships to request a mentor.
- Regularly learn how to reflect on the interaction with those in your life who have taught you, who have been influential in your life. Reflection provides an opportunity to match information with experience and hopefully come up with a new direction and understanding. In order to engage reflection more effectively, seek out a coach. A coach will equip the believer through listening and asking questions to focus reflection on new behavior that can be owned by the individual being coached.
- Practice, practice, practice – find what you need to practice and stay at it!