Going through 2 Timothy, I was struck by the two opening verses of the second chapter. Verses one through thirteen are titled “A Good Soldier of Jesus Christ,” and I was under the impression that this would be behavior or attitudes that God’s mighty men would (have to) possess.
The letters of Paul to Timothy are so fantastic because they’re written by a godly man who knows his spiritual brother and friend so well. There’s an intimacy to it that allows Christian men who are equally connected to other men in the church, to receive the wise lessons taught in it.
It opens with these two verses:
You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men,[a] who will be able to teach others also. – 2 Timothy 2:1-2
What rich verses! As I thought about them more, I identified the following attitudes or behaviors that I think Paul is encouraging godly men to have as they fight the good fight:
- They know they are members of the family of God. The first four words of the verse are “You then, my child.” As Paul writes this, he calls Timothy his child. As the man who led Timothy to his faith in Christ, Paul is like a spiritual father to him, but he also plays a mentoring role to Timothy’s growth in the faith. When we come into the family of God, all the men in our spiritual family become brothers, and the wiser, more experienced ones take on a mentoring role, and it can be lifesaving to know that there are godly men we can run to, in times of trouble.
- They are humble. The next portion of the verse reads, “be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” While the verse clearly tells us to be strong–that’s number three on this list–it also tells us to BE strengthened BY THE GRACE. The world will tell us that physical strength comes from within, that we get strong by working out and pumping iron and all that. The strength referred to in this verse, for me, is an inner strength that serves us just as powerfully. The Bible tells us that God’s grace is abundant, and ultimately, He is our source of strength. To me, it indicates that godly men are humble because they acknowledge their strength comes from God, and they are willing to be strengthened.
- They are strong. Men who rely on the grace of God for strength know that this grace never runs out and is always available. When our source of strength is infinite, there is a strength and courage that permeates every area of our lives. After all, “he gives strength to the weary and increases the power to the weak.” (Isaiah 40:29)
- They are open to instruction. Verse 2 opens with “…and what you have heard from me…” This indicates that Timothy heard godly instruction from Paul, which tells us he actively sought to listen and learn from Paul. A mark of a true man is when he learns from the wisdom of others.
- They keep the company of other godly men. The next portion reads, “in the presence of many witnesses…” This tells us that Timothy wasn’t alone in listening to Paul; he was with other godly men who also heard and benefited from instruction. The Christian walk cannot be done in a vacuum; we are all called to spiritual unity, accountability, and brotherhood in the body of Christ, and it is both a responsibility and a challenge to build relationships with other godly men in the church. But, as we see, not only in the verse, but two thousand years later, the church is still very much alive, thanks to the familial relationships that are built over time in the church.
- They are open to teaching others. The rest of the verse reads, “entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” It isn’t enough for us to attend church; we need to be engaged, and engage others as well. If there is a shortage of godly men in church, it isn’t because God hasn’t provided the men! Godly men also establish other men in the faith. By faith, we can build godly men in the church to lead: we identify, instruct, impart and intern these future leaders.
These are six characteristics I’ve observed from these two verses. I hope this was helpful to you. Did you see anything I may have missed? Want to share any positive experiences that have helped you grow in your walk as a Christian man? Please share them in the Comments!