Paul commends Timothy for being a devout student and follower of him. He lists qualities such as conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love and perseverance. Paul followed Jesus and Timothy followed Paul. This is the essence of discipleship. As we become followers of Christ, others will follow us as well. This is the formula Jesus gave us before He left the earth, that we follow Him and teach others to do the same. The same qualities that Paul listed as the ways Timothy followed Paul, we too should follow Christ. Discipleship is not a teacher/ student relationship where just a few subjects are taught, exemplified, and learned; rather it is a relationship where the discipler disciples in all aspects of life.
Paul reminds us that anyone who dares be a follower of Jesus Christ will face persecution. I find it too easy for us to think of persecution solely in the light of others ridiculing us or disagreeing with us and our faith. We need to expand our view of what persecution is so we can understand more when it is happening. Persecution can also come in the form of our old sinful ways warring against how we desire to behave. We see Paul talk about this occasionally when he mentions how he acts differently than he wishes to act and vice versa.
I appreciate the contrast Paul gives us in verse 13. Evil hearts will not only continue to grow more evil, but they will continue to deceive and be deceived. We tend to forget about that last part. Those who have not grasped the truth will continue to be deceived which results in further deception and evil. The enemy constantly works to deceive us. Do you like being lied to? I don’t know anybody who enjoys it. Furthermore, isn’t it even worse when you find out you have not only been lied to, but that you believed the deception? This is why we must continually seek out God’s truth about life, purpose, faith, and love.
Have you been deceived in the past? Are you being deceived right now? How much do you desire to seek and know the truth? The deception you are experiencing may be the thought that there is no need to know the truth.