Have you ever stopped to think who you identify with more? Do you feel more like a son or daughter, brother or sister or father or mother? Does your life reflect one of someone seeking or found? What about Paul and Timothy- who do you relate to more?
I am in the season of my life that I should answer that I am walking in Paul’s footsteps. You gain it with age, right? Leading and mentoring others naturally follows as you get older.
Paul and Timothy’s relationship and story unfolds in 1 Timothy 1. Paul shares he is under the command of God and calls forth Timothy as his son in true faith. Even though Paul is not physically present with Timothy, he continues to reaffirm Timothy’s calling. Paul comes alongside Timothy as a mentor, follower of Christ and believer in all God is preparing Timothy to do.
The image of coming alongside someone in life has always brought reassurance and strength to me in my own life. It only takes one person to affirm something in your life for you to feel loved and known. Jesus chose us as His son or daughter to know Him and in the process become known by others. Sit with the thought of being known for just a minute.
How does it make you feel?
Last year, I completed Beth Moore’s Bible study, Entrusted. It takes the reader on a journey through 2 Timothy and creates a space to learn what God entrusts us with in our own lives. The study touched deep and left me knowing that sometimes I am more like Paul, leading the way and taking others under my wing. And other times I am very much like Timothy just starting out and trying to find my way.
Either way, my identity is the same. My name is Mary and I am a child of God. Put your name in place of mine and declare it for yourself.
The Father chose me even before I was born. (Jeremiah 1:5) My identity came into being by the blood of Jesus Christ. God calls me beloved and that name is mine as well as yours. We are beloved forever and always as God’s children. We can rest confidently in this truth.
When I hold tight to my identity in Christ, everything else flows out of this. God remains my Father and I belong to Him. So when I answer the question, do I relate to Paul or Timothy, I know that my age does not dictate the answer. I am a both/and woman. Paul and Timothy both describe who I am in different seasons. It is a gift to be a mentor or mentee depending on my life circumstances. I love that who I am does not change. God has already written that part of my story.
[Tweet “When you hold tight to your God-given identity, life naturally flows. “]
Friends, rest in your God-given identity. Don’t let those around you feed you with words that don’t align with who you are. Choose God and He will aways choose you. If you are in a season that looks like Paul, then lead well. Or if you would benefit from someone to walk alongside you, as Paul did for Timothy, then that is exactly where you should be.
Cherish when someone recognizes your gifts and affirms them for you. Hold onto the hope that comes when you see the fruit of a relationship of someone secure in their identity. Spend time pursuing your legacy of faith as Paul describes in 2 Timothy.
I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. 2 Timothy 1:5
Paul takes a young Timothy and builds into him. Throughout the process, encouragement flows and recognition of who Timothy already is as a man of faith. It is a beautiful reminder to me of how we are all called to be Paul and Timothy to others in our lives.
This week I want you to know that there is no such thing as a perfect Christ follower. Instead, think of your legacy of faith and never stop pursuing Christ.
In pursuit of Christ,
Photo by Marl Clevenger on Unsplash
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That Beth Moore study sounds interesting, Mary. I read her book on Paul’s life and really enjoyed it. Our Pastor is teaching from 2 Timothy just now and I admit, like you, I’m finding things in both Paul’s life and Timothy’s that I can identify with. Beyond the Message, there is so much to learn from the lives of the men themselves. Great post!
I really learned a lot from the Entrusted Study. It came at the perfect time for me. I have not read Beth’s book about Paul but I might need to check that out. I never want to be defined in a certain category because of my age. I know that is why I wrote this post. We can be either/or or both/and a Paul and Timothy at different ages in our lives. The best part is that both can teach us so much about ourselves.
mmm … ideally, everyone should have a mentor. And everyone should be one. It doesn’t always work that way, but I can’t help wondering how much richer our lives would be, how much more authentic our relationships would be if we could figure how to live this out …
Yes, we should all have a mentor. That has not always been the case for me and it is a desire of mine to have a mentor in my life. I see the blessings it brings to those who have the gift of this relationship. Blessed by you and your wisdom.
Thank you for reminding us of our identity in Christ, Mary. I love this truth – “The Father chose me even before I was born. (Jeremiah 1:5) My identity came into being by the blood of Jesus Christ. God calls me beloved and that name is mine as well as yours. We are beloved forever and always as God’s children.” Love and hugs to you!
I love Jeremiah 1:5. I can feel His arms around me when I declare that truth. We are God’s child and He calls us beloved. May we know this truth everyday.
Thank you for this great post, encouraging us to be teachable and willing to share with each other. I appreciate how you have expressed that we could be both/and when it comes to mentor or mentee. The Lord has given us such beautiful ways to connect and share within His Body! Blessings to you!
I am definitely a both/and girl and it is exactly what God calls me to be. God provides everything we need even when we don’t know we need it. I think about the mentor/mentee relationship and see His hand in that too. Blessings to you too!
Love reading this today, Mary! I stopped in the middle of your post to text my “spiritual daughter” for the first time in a few days. Then I came back to reading. Thanks for this reminder. My mentor passed away 1.5 years ago, and I haven’t quite found someone to replace her, but as you (and the Good Book) say, I’m still a child of God.
Your spiritual daughter is blessed to have you in her life. The loss of a mentor must have been very difficult. Who we are as a child of God is what gives us the strength to walk out in obedience to God. Thank you for sharing your story and being an important part of this community.
I love reading about Paul’s relationships He had on his journey. He seemed like a very relational type of man! I often wonder about Timothy, what he may have looked like, and how he may have looked as he read those letters from his mentor. Our relationships on our faith journey are so important. Thanks in your own way for being part of mine!
After completing Beth Moore’s study, Entrusted, I also had more questions about Timothy. I have learned that I am nothing without the community that supports me in this faith journey. I am blessed now to think of them as family. It’s a beautiful thing when your biological family is spread across the country. Blessed that we are on this journey together.
Yes! “You are a baptized child of God; whatever else you are, remember that you are that; for that is the basis of whatever else you are.” These words are on a plaque given by my seminary advisor. In other words, everything comes back to being a called and claimed child of God.
I love knowing I am a called and claimed child of God. It does all come back to that. I am blessed by these words today.
Throughout my life and still now I have been both mentor and mentee. I think this is how God designed it to be. He commands the older, more mature women to counsel the younger ones. I still have women in my life, more mature in their faith, and I see God giving me courage to come alongside others who are wading through some of the same waters I waded through. It’s all in the beauty of God’s design. And He gives me peers, like you, who encourage me greatly in my walk!!
Blessings to you sweet friend,
I imagine you are a wonderful mentor to other women. Yes, God calls women to step out in faith and come alongside other women, (Titus 2), but I know that age should not be the determining factor in what that should look like. Our faith journeys continue to grow and I know many younger women who are farther along than I am. This writing community is filled with mentors and it is a big part of why I keep doing this. I learn so much from everyone.
Your post reminds me of all the women who have been Paul to me in this following life. I want to persevere in teaching and encouraging others God brings into my life. What a privilege it is for us to be part of this chain of historical faith!
It is a wonderful privilege. What I need to remind myself of is just because I am “older” doesn’t mean I need to be Paul (mentor) to others. I love that role but I am not too proud to say that I also need a mentor in my own life. I love this journey of faith!