“But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel.”
Character is crucial in sports. If a player has character, he has stability. People can count on him. He will persist through the tough times, such as a losing streak. Here Paul talked about the character of Timothy. Here was a person who had proved himself. Paul could count on him; he would be there when the going got tough.
“But you know his proven character”
The word “proven” means the state of being tried. This is a person who has been through the wars and has come out stronger. His integrity has proved right. Timothy established himself as someone Paul could send to Philippi. He was dependable. When he got there, people could count on him to operate with integrity.
“that as a son with his father “
This is spiritual fatherhood and sonship. Timothy was wise enough to learn from a veteran missionary. As the son of a father, he learned from Paul. He was open to allow his character to be guided. Paul taught him the Word and how to live it out when things were not going well.
“he served with me in the gospel”
Timothy helped found the church at Philippi. As a vest-pocket edition of the apostle Paul, he learned how to serve with Paul in the gospel. The phrase “in the gospel” means in getting the gospel out to the Roman world. Sharing your faith in a world that has never heard of Christ is a rough business. But he was willing to put himself on the line with all its risks and dangers. He cultivated character through trusting God in difficulty.
Character comes over some time if we build the right kind of structure into it.
Character does not come by floating along in life with the flotsam and jetsam. Character comes by structuring into our lives, events, and situations that will demand that we grow beyond where we are. Love grows in life because a person is secure in being loved by others. This kind of person is willing to take risks. But by stepping out of our little niche, we will stretch our boundaries of attributes. For example, many of us never witness aggressively because of fear. To run from fear will lock us into the fear. To face fear is to master fear. If we put ourselves on the line, we will find how God can work through us in spite of our frailties. With whom are you “serving in the gospel?”