To My Children …

This year, as I celebrate Mother’s Day, I can’t help but be reminded not only of the things my mother taught me, but things that my father taught me also. The lessons I learned in the home were not only spoken, but lived out by their examples. I wonder … when I’m gone, what will my children remember that I taught them—not only by my words, but by my example?  

This Mother’s Day, there are three things my parents taught me that I, in turn, want to make sure my children learn. Even if you don’t have biological children of your own, ask God whom you can impart these challenges to. As far as we know, the Apostle Paul didn’t have children either, but he referred to Timothy as his son. And Paul taught Timothy the same three things my parents taught me … by example.

Read 2 Timothy 1:1-18 

I. DON’T BE AFRAID TO LIVE FOR JESUS (2 Timothy 1:1-7)

  • Give the phrase in verses 1-7 that implies Timothy was afraid. What reasons can you think of for his fear?
  • Give phrases from the following verses that imply fear—and its consequences: Numbers 14:1-23; 1 Samuel 17:20-24; John 12:42.
  • When have you been afraid for some of the same reasons? Do you think your children might also be afraid?
  • Read Psalm 27:1-3; 91:1-7; 118:6-7. How does the psalmist comfort those who are afraid? 

A. You Are Prayed for

  • How did Paul encourage Timothy in verse 3? Give some ideas as to how Paul prayed for Timothy from Ephesians 1:17-19; 3:16-19; and Colossians 1:9-12.
  • When do you pray for your children? How do you pray? Write out a prayer for each of them.
  • Have you ever told your children you are praying for them? If it’s appropriate, this Mother’s Day give them the prayer you have written for them.
  • According to Hebrews 7:25, Who else is praying for your children? How do you think He is praying for them? See John 17:20-26.

B. You Are Prepared

  • Assuming Timothy’s father and grandfather were not believers, how could living in a spiritually divided home help prepare Timothy to live for Christ?
  • How else was Timothy uniquely prepared to live for Christ? See verses 5-6.
  • Who have been your children’s spiritual mentors? 
  • What or who has God allowed into the life of your child that uniquely prepares him or her to live for Jesus? Use Romans 8:28 to help pinpoint God’s preparation and to encourage your child.

C. You Are Empowered

  • Where does power to live for Christ come from, according to Acts 1:8? 2 Corinthians 4:7? Ephesians 3:20? 2 Peter 1:3?
  • When did Timothy receive God’s power?  
  • Has your child received the gift of salvation through faith in Christ? If so, use the above verses to remind him or her that God will give them the power to walk in faith, if they simply ask.
  • Where was Timothy from, according to Acts 16:1? What example had Paul set for Timothy there that would lend credibility to Paul’s words? See Acts 14:8-20.
  • What are you teaching your children by your example: fear of living for Jesus … or courage?

II.  DON’T BE ASHAMED TO LIVE FOR JESUS (2 Timothy 1:8-12)

A. Unashamed to Share the Gospel

  • In verse 8, what did Paul tell Timothy not to be ashamed of?
  • What is the testimony of our Lord? From the following verses, give several elements that are fundamental to His testimony: Acts 1:9-11; 3:12-21; 4:9-10; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8; Revelation 1:5-7.
  • When have you taught your children the basic tenets of the Gospel?
  • When was the last time you shared the Gospel with someone? If you have not shared it in the past year, why haven’t you?
  • How can you and I expect our children to be unashamed to share the Gospel if they never see us sharing it?

B. Unashamed to Suffer for the Gospel

  • Why is our Lord’s testimony offensive to our culture today? See Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:23; John 14:6; Acts 4:12.
  • If your son or daughter takes a strong stand for our Lord’s testimony, or simply shares it with someone else, do you think they will increase in popularity? What does Paul say twice in verses 8-12 that indicates otherwise?
  • How can you encourage your child from the following verses: Joshua 1:9; Ephesians 6:10-18; 2 Timothy 2:1; Acts 4:20; Matthew 10:19-20; Jeremiah 1:7-9?
  • In spite of his suffering for the Gospel, why did Paul say in verse 12 that he was not ashamed to share it in the politically correct, pluralistic, multicultural Roman Empire of his day? Explain how you could say the same.
  • How were Paul’s words backed by the example of his life? See 2 Timothy 4:16-18; Acts 24:1-21; 25:23-26:29.
  • What are you teaching your children by your example—shame of living for Jesus … or confidence to live for Jesus?

III. DON’T BE APATHETIC (2 Timothy 1:13-18)

A. Toward God’s Word

  • What do you think Timothy heard from Paul, as referred to in verse 13?
  • How did he expound on these instructions to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:14-17?
  • When do you read your Bible? When have you instructed your child to read God’s Word? What have you done to get him or her started in a daily, systematic Bible study?
  • Why is it important for our children to get into God’s Word for themselves, according to Psalm 119:9, 11, 89, 105? Can you think of other reasons?

B. Toward God’s Work

  • How would you describe the work of Phygelus and Hermogenes in verse 15? Why do you think they quit?  
  • What did these two men have in common with John Mark? See Acts 12:25 with 13:13 and 15:36-40.
  • How would you describe the work of Onesiphorus, in verses 16-18? How did it differ from the work of Phygelus and Hermogenes?
  • How would you describe your work for Christ? Is it more similar to the work of Phygelus and Hermogenes, or Onesiphorus? Why? Have you ever walked away from God’s work? If so, tell Him you’re sorry, and ask Him for another opportunity to serve. See 2 Timothy 4:11.
  • How did Jesus set an example for us, in John 4:34? John 17:4?
  • Explain John 9:4.
  • How does 2 Timothy 4:6 reveal that Paul was aware of the approaching “night”?
  • What can you do to teach your children to serve the Lord when they are young? What can you do to encourage them to serve the Lord when they are older?
  • How does 2 Timothy 4:6-8 describe the example Paul was setting for Timothy?
  • What are you teaching your children by your example: apathy … or a lifelong commitment to live for Jesus?

My mother once quipped, “You can’t teach your children to like spinach if every time they see you eating yours, you gag!” In other words, our example can have more impact on our children than our words. So much of what my parents passed on to me was caught, not just taught. This Mother’s Day, give your children the example of a parent who isn’t afraid to live for Jesus … you’re courageous; the example of someone who is not ashamed of the Gospel … you’re confident in it; and the example of someone who is not apathetic toward God’s work or God’s Word … you’re committed to it—because you are committed to Him! ©2019 Anne Graham Lotz

Adapted from an article originally published in May 2005.

Anne Graham Lotz has proclaimed God’s Word worldwide for more than 40 years. Her latest book, “The Daniel Key,” is available from major booksellers.