I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. 2 Timothy 1:5, ESV
What Are People Saying About You?
When I think of Timothy, I think about struggle. Timothy was a young man with lots of issues. Issues internally, issues externally – this young man had the worries of the world on his shoulders.
When Paul thinks of Timothy, he doesn’t think about his problems but his faith.
When people talk about me – when they talk about my faith and about my life as a man, brother, husband, dad, friend, pastor – I hope that they can use the word sincere. It might not be the most exciting word. It sounds rather bland. Amazing, fantastic, and epic are more dynamic; would I not rather hear those terms describing my life? Truthfully, I love a challenge. Being amazing, awesome, or even epic seems attainable, but to be sincere- that seems impossible!
Keep It Real
This little word sincere is also translated as genuine which is a term that means real, or without hypocrisy. It means that there is an alignment between who you say you are and who you are. It is a challenge towards authenticity, towards being straight and unwavering. Amazing, awesome, and epic seem like little hills against the mountain of genuine and sincere faith.
Sincere faith lived out in our lives gives our kids hope, our wives honor, and our community an example, something to admire and something to follow. Timothy learned this from his mom and grandma – with the noticeable absence of a dad! I love a challenge, and my kids need me to be a mountain climber. I’m leaving epic, awesome, and amazing behind, and I am aiming for sincere!
The word itself, sincere (lit. sin-cere), means without wax. It comes from a bygone era when pottery artisans would hide the cracks in their work with wax. The customer would see a perfect pot from a distance, but an expert would know to look closer. The pot or plate or cup would be lifted and tested against the sun’s light. The light would reveal the wax, and the purchaser would know that this vessel is not what it claims to be.
When Paul encouraged Timothy that his faith was “without wax,” he said that his faith had integrity. While his life and leadership came with issues, struggles, and shortcomings, his relationship with the Lord was real, authentic, and honest. His cracks and flaws were on display for all to see, and it was glorious. After all, it was Paul who taught his disciples in Corinth, “We have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:7-9).
While his life and leadership came with issues, struggles, and shortcomings, his relationship with the Lord was real, authentic, and honest. His cracks and flaws were on display for all to see, and it was glorious.
Brothers, let us pursue a sincere faith, leaving behind the culture of religious cover-up, spiritual hide and seek, and holy showmanship. Let us begin to pursue a relationship with the Lord that is real and authentic – cracks, and all!