Seven Qualities of A Spiritual Son

Paul had a special place in his heart for Timothy, his “dearly beloved son.”

2 TIMOTHY 2:2 NKJV And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

As a true spiritual father, Paul goes on to instruct his favored son on the qualities that he should build into the men he would be discipling, the same traits of character that he embodied. There are seven that are noted by an author somewhere in my studies over the years, not my original discovery but valuable material to pass on.

1. Faithfulness of the Steward.

2 TIMOTHY 2:2 NKJV And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

Paul said it was “required in stewards to be found faithful.” Whatever truth we have received is a sacred trust to be passed on to others in the faith.

1 CORINTHIANS 4:2 NKJV Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

2. Obedience of the Soldier.

2 TIMOTHY 2:3-4 NKJV You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.

Those in military service understand that obedience is not an option but a requirement. True spiritual sons have learned the same lesson by walking in close relationship with their fathers in the faith.

HEBREWS 13:17 NKJV Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

3. Sacrifice of the Athlete.

2 TIMOTHY 2:5 And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.

When raising spiritual sons it is necessary that they learn “self restraint.” An Olympic Champion has paid the price for victory by using discipline and self restraint. They learn to sacrifice many indulgences in order to qualify for a “ place in the race.”

1 CORINTHIANS 9:24-26 NKJV Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.

4. Industry of the Farmer.

2 TIMOTHY 2:6 NKJV The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops.

There is no replacement for hard work in the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ so Paul emphasized the work ethic to his sons in the faith. Jesus said, “work while it is day for the night comes when no man can work.” We only have this life to get our appointed work done. When we die our light goes out, it is nighttime for us.

5. Accuracy of the Workman.

2 TIMOTHY 2:15 NKJV Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

I love this one because it involves the deep study of God’s Word in order to preach and teach without error. True sons in the faith have become “students” of the Scripture and have an extensive library of study resources to prove it. I should study the Scripture itself, but also the writings of those teachers that God has directed me to learn from including my own spiritual fathers who have become published authors.

6. Cleanness of the Vessel.

2 TIMOTHY 2:20-22 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Personal holiness is exemplified in the life of spiritual sons who have learned the “fear of the Lord.” Paul tells Timothy that even the young men and women should learn to bridal their passions and dedicate their bodies to God as a living sacrifice.

7. Gentleness of the Servant.

2 TIMOTHY 2:23-26 But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

Last of all, Paul points out that great servants of God have developed that quality of “gentleness” when dealing with those who are opposing God and have come under the influence of the devil. Avoiding strife is a hallmark of those who have learned the devil’s schemes to bring people into captivity. Gentleness is linked with “meekness” in this passage, the grace to yield rather than strive with an individual who is not ready for deliverance.

As spiritual fathers who have learned to walk as sons, we can impart these traits to those sons who will become fathers themselves someday.

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