might search through many libraries before finding literature that is more
restful than Second Timothy. A person of faith may read it and feel a
calmness that is not found in many other books.
This state of mind did not always characterize Paul. In II Cor. 7:5 we
find a most distressing statement: "For even at our coming into
Macedonia our flesh has no ease, but we are afflicted in everything;
outside fightings; inside fears". This was a bad state of affairs.
Paul knew that many things were wrong, and it so affected him that, not
only his mind, but his flesh, as well, was in turmoil. In EVERYTHING he
was affllicted. He was in a state of mind that would not let him to think
that there was good anywhere. His every act was a gesture of fight against
the situation that he expected to find. His mind was filled with fear.
Afterwards the apostle learned that God is working all together for good
to those who are loving God. This knowledge was a stepping stone to the
grand discovery that out of Him and through Him and for Him is all. Thus
fortified by faith, he could exhort the Phillippian saints to let nothing
be worrying them.
It was in this state of mind that he wrote his second letter to Timothy.
There was more to deplore than in the earlier period. All those in the
province of Asia had been turned from him. Saints in a whole province had
apostatized from the truth as Paul taught it. Did he worry about it? No;
he mentioned it, and then launched immediately into thanksgiving for the
faithfulness of ONE saint---Onesipherous. He was able to throw off
negative thoughts, and entertain positive ones. Onesipherous had shown
mercy to Paul. This was a blessing that compensated him for the wholesale
defection in Asia. This is the secret of happiness.
Paul mentioned the fact that he was suffering --- just barely mentioned
it. Immediately he is able to throw it off, and entertain the wonderful
truth that is stated in the words, "I am not ashamed, for I am aware
Whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that He is able to guard what is
committed to me for that day". In other words, "What if I AM
suffering? God is able to do what is necessary". This is a very
The thought of his suffering occurs to him again. Again he tossed it away,
and rejoices in the fact that he is enduring all because of those who are
chosen, that they may be happening upon the salvation that is in Christ
Jesus with glory eonian.
His thoughts dwell for a moment on the false teaching of Hymeneus and
Philetus, (saying that the resurrection has already occurred), which
teaching was spreading like gangrene, and was subverting the faith of
some. Was he unconcerned about it? He was deeply concerned. But why worry?
Is not all OF God, THROUGH God and FOR God? Could the apostle remedy the
situation by worrying? What is the compensating blessing here? It is the
thought which he not entertained, that the solid foundation of God stands.
No man can subvert or overthrow that foundation. The apostle is comforted
through positive thoughts.
Looking ahead by faith, the apostles sees that the era will be when
mankind will not tolerate sound teaching, and, keeping to themselves
teachers that yield to them, they will be turned from the truth to myths.
This certainly is not a bright prospect. But does he worry? No, there is a
compensating blessing. He can believe that Timothy will be sober in all
things, that he will suffer evil as an ideal soldier of Christ Jesus, that
he will do the work of an evangelist, and that he will fully discharge his
service. This now claims Paul's attention, and he does not worry over the
Demas, loving the current con, has forsaken Paul, but Luke is with him,
and he has the prospect of soon having Mark.
Alexander the coppersmith displayed much evil to him, but the Lord will
look after the situation. As the man had withstood words of Paul's, he
takes occasion to warn Timothy to guard against him. But there is no
At his trial all forsook him, although they had professed to love him. Did
he hold it as a grudge. No, he prayed that it should not be reckoned
against them. He is done with the negative thought of their defection.
Positively he shouts that the LORD stood by him, and invigorated him, and
caused his ministry to be fully discharged, that the nations should hear,
and Paul was not found guilty, and was not thrown to the lion. Then with a
more exultant shout he declares that the Lord shall be rescuing him from
every wicked work, and will be saving him for His celestial kingdom.
Compensating blessings, indeed!
Anyone can demonstrate that emotional upsets are bad for the flesh as well
as for the mind. When Paul was so much upset, even his flesh had no ease.
Fear will make the mouth dry. Does it stop at affecting the mouth? Worry
not only increases high blood pressure---it CAUSES it, in the first place.
Physicians now rightly call it "hyper-tension". A state of
discontent and dissatisfaction brings sickness. Dentists have discovered
that upset emotions cause tooth decay. Anger poisons the system.
When Paul was in a restful attitude, as when he wrote Second Timothy, did
he say much about being sick? He mentioned it earlier, did he not?
I know two women, both of whom are sick, and, it seemed to me,
unnecessarily so. Nothing seems to do them any good. I learned that each
has a nagging husband, and she has to be continually "on the
jump", to please him. This condition endured through the years, has
brought on sickness that physicians seem unable to cope with.
If we entertain negative thoughts continually, we may expect impaired
health, but positive thoughts are good for the body. If we can be able to
think of some blessing whenever some grevious thing occurs is us, we will
find that our mind and our flesh have ease, and we are far more efficient.
It is a grievous sin to cause anger, fear, worry, anxiety, etc., to
anyone. I have seen people tease children, just to see them become angry.
They had as well put poison in their food. "Let each one of us please
his associate for his good toward his home-building", Rom. 15:2. The
word rendeerd "edification" here is one which means
"home-building". The body is the home, and I am satisfied the
passage reters to bodily benefit, as well as benefit to the spirit. No
matter with whom we associate, whether in person or by correspondence, we
have no right to nag him in a way to cause him irritation. We are
poisoning the life of such a one.
Positive thoughts --- thoughts of blessing, happiness, success, love,
kindness, grace --- make for ease of mind and flesh. Negative thoughts,
entertained and dwelt upon, bring the opposite results.
Let us spend a restful evening reading Second Timothy.
And may our "forgetery" be in good working order, lubricated by
graciousness, and powered by love. Have people treated you badly? Don't
ever mention it again. You gain no peace of mind or ease of flesh by
continually "harping" on it. Lay it aside. Others have treated
you well. Think of THAT. Talk about it.
Forgetting those things which are behind, and stretching out to those in
front---this is Paul's recipe for happiness of spirit.
If you continually expect blessings, they will come. Always when I pray
for anything, I thank the Lord that He si going to give it to me. We have
no right to pray in doubt. Expect what you ask for!
Faith is supposed to give you calmness of spirit!
When I heard that Brother J.F. Shakespeare had fallen asleep, I said, "One
of my dearest buddies is gone. He rests from his labors. He lived to a
ripe old age and enjoyed every year of his life. I shall miss him, but I
shall see and associate with him again".
His service was glorifying to God. I shall not forget him.