Genuine Faith is Transferred by Faithful Moms
For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you,
which first dwelt in yourgrandmother Lois,
and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.
(2 Timothy 1:5)
Greeting saints of God,
If you’re here reading this, you can praise God for your mom, who gave you life and brought you into this world. If you made it this far, it’s because she provided at least the necessities of life to survive into adulthood, or until you were able to function on your own. If not, then there probably was someone who fulfilled that role in your life – a mother figure. For some, the memories of Mother’s Day are painful, but for others, maybe most, it is cause for gratitude. There is in scripture a memorial to a couple of very influential mothers named Lois and Eunice. Of them we know very little, except that they greatly influenced young Timothy to be the man of faith he was, and their influence was so impactful on the life of the great apostle Paul, that he would mention them by name in his last letter ever, written to his chosen replacement. What is it that stood out so prominently in these women of God? Their faith! A sincere, genuine, contagious faith that shaped Timothy to be the spiritual leader he was. It was Abraham Lincoln who wrote, “I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.” It was the great King Solomon who wrote, “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching” (Prov. 1:8, 6:20). Mothers of faith have been influencing and shaping great godly leaders all through history. I have been pastoring almost 20 years now, and I can testify from personal experience of the invaluable impact godly, faithful mothers have had on the next generation they have been entrusted to nurture and instruct, even when the father is absent or not following God and His word. So hats off to all the Lois’ and Eunices of the world – praise God for you!
Now Paul uses this term “sincere faith” to describe the faith of these godly women. The faith they possessed was literally ‘anupokritou’ – not hypocritical. It was genuine and undisguised. It was not a pretend faith, like that of an actor in a play, playing a part – something other than what one truly is. Sometimes people claim to have true faith only when around other Christians; they play the Christian role, they do and say the right things, but they are not genuine – they are people pleasers and do eye service for the crowd (Eph. 6:6), like the religious Jews Jesus called “hypocrites” (Matt. 25). We know an elderly couple who is selling their house. Because they want the best price they can possibly get, they have hired stagers to “stage” the house…in other words, make it look much better than it really is. The goal is to dress it up so as to take your eye off of or conceal all the imperfections – the truth. Is that a form of deception? That is not the faith of the godly mothers who influenced Timothy…there’s was the real deal!
Here is what Luke writes about Timothy, “And he came also to Derbe and to Lystra. And behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek, and he was well spoken of by the brethren who were in Lystra and Iconium (Acts 16:1-2). Timothy’s mother Eunice was a Jew, who had converted to Christ through the preaching of the Gospel. His father, unnamed, was not even a Jew, but a pagan Greek who had no faith in the living God. You can just imagine the household Timothy grew up in! Yet, Paul writes to Timothy, “You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2Tim. 3:14-15) Who was it that taught Timothy the scriptures? It had to be his mom and grandmother, even as the book of Proverbs tells us; or Eunice was faithful in taking her son to the synagogue so he would be taught the word of God! Was she like Hannah who consecrated her son to the Lord (1Sam. 1:24-28). Bottom line, she had a sincere faith, like her mother Lois did, which was now transferred to Timothy and ‘dwelt’ in him. So what does a sincere, genuine and true faith look like? I have compiled a short list from the books 1st and 2nd Timothy:
1. It begins with a true saving faith in Jesus Christ and a real love for Him, and appreciation for what He did for us at Calvary. It loves Jesus and the Gospel of saving grace. It embraces Christ as Lord, Savior, King and Master (2Tim. 1:8-10)
2. It is a strong faith rooted in the word of God (2Tim. 3:15-17 imparted by mom), including the right doctrines of the faith, able to refute and defend what one believes.
3. It is a faith imparted by a real experience with Holy Spirit (2Tim. 1:6-7; 1Tim. 4:14))
4. It is a faith that reflects holiness, consecration, obedience to God, self-discipline, purity and godliness – it obeys the teachings of Jesus (1Tim. 6:11; 2Tim. 2:22)
5. It is a faith that perseveres through trials, persecutions – ready to contend for and fight for the faith (2Tim. 3:10-12; 4:7; 1Tim. 1:18-19); It does not abort the plan, wander away and leave as others (2Tim 1:15; 1Tim 1:19-20)
6. It is a faith we continue to pursue and grow in and impart to others (2Tim. 2:2, 22)
7. It is a faith we are not ashamed of (2Tim. 1:8, 12; 2:15)
8. True faith possesses discernment and is not afraid to refute deceivers and liars (2Tim. 3:14; 4:1-5)
9. True faith submits to godly teachers with a desire to learn more, as Tim did to Paul
10. True faith is an example to others (1Tim. 4:12)
11. True faith presses on to the prize, reward (2Tim. 4:7-8)
12. True faith is a gift imparted by Holy Spirit (2Tim. 1:6, 13-14; Eph 2:8, 1Cor. 13:2)
13. True faith prays (1Tim. 2:1-5)
All of this was bred in him as his mother and grand-mother laid a foundation of faith, persevering through their trials of unbelieving husbands and all that entailed. Praise God for faithful mothers! Let’s continue to be faithful with genuine faith and believe that God will have mercy on our children and bring them to saving faith and into His service even as He did with Timothy.
Have a blessed week!
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