Timothy of the things he heard “from
me among many witnesses.” Those two
prepositions paint quite a picture of the
road these two men walked together: a
spiritual dad with his beloved son in the
Lord. It portrays Timothy as having been
alongside Paul in ministry. Paul did not
just tell Timothy about the work; he took
Timothy with him. How many of us have
learned a skill by hanging around someone and just watching? Perhaps they did
instruct us at some time or another, but
there was no substitute for just being with
them. It was more “caught” than “taught”
when we learned how to do woodworking, bake cookies, work on a car, crochet,
handle money, or be a parent.
When we are the adult, it is much easier to just do things ourselves, and there
is the temptation to think that kids just
slow us down or get in the way. But discipleship happens in that time together,
like it did when Paul wrapped his arm
around a young man he called “my son”
and took with him. Something precious
is passed along in those times, which is
why he uses the word “entrust,” like a
But there is a cost to depositing such
treasures into the lives of our children
through our home discipleship. You well
know what those costs are. It takes time
you don’t think you have to give, leaving
other things undone. It costs energy you
don’t feel you have. It tries your patience,
stretches your mind and emotions, and
leaves you feeling beat. But this is war,
and the hearts and souls of our children
are at stake. How are our time, energy,
and emotion being deployed as dads?
Empowered by grace
But how will I ever be able to do this?
To that daily question we find ourselves
asking in the battle of home discipleship,
Paul has a simple answer in verse 1: “Be
strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
The phrase “be strong” comes from the
Greek word endunamoō (English “dyna-
mite”) and is in a form indicating that it
is continual. Be continually empowered
from within by the grace that is in Christ
Jesus. This is not our battle, brothers—it
is His. It is not our strength—it is His. It
is not our wisdom, emotion, patience, or
anything else that is needed for this bat-
tle—it is ALL His.
Simply, Jesus is not asking us to fight in
our ability; he is asking us to be the avenue through which He disciples our children. This is the desperate need of our
day. The need is not for dads who “have
it all together,” know what they’re doing,
and have some perfect plan which they
flawlessly execute. While these things are
what the world tells us we need to be, the
call of God is for us to just be men who
are available, open, and willing to let Jesus do through us what we cannot possibly do ourselves. For any dad who wants
to disciple his children but says, “I don’t
know how,” there is a simple yet heartening instruction from Paul in these “final
words.” If you want to make disciples,
be one. Fan the flame with Jesus in your
own life. Respond to Him with all your
heart. Depend upon Him with all your
strength and let Him work through you.
As you do, wrap your arm around the
beloved little one next to you and take
him or her with you. Take it from a man
who was ready to leave this world: that is
the “good fight” worth fighting.
John Juneman, D.Min., and his wife, Tri-na, have been involved in home discipleship with their two children since 2000. Dr.
Juneman teaches live weekly online Bible
Survey and Logos Study classes to High
School students around the world through
The Potter’s School (www.pottersschool
.org). He travels to preach and teach the
Word in churches of various denominations across North America, focusing on
spiritual renewal, discipleship, and equipping believers in the Word ( www.johnjun
eman.com). He has written numerous
books, including his daily devotional,
LifeMessage 365: A Daily Immersion in
the Word. The lifelong discipleship of his
family is John’s first and highest calling.
God called us to disciple our children and be involved in their homeschooling
as an integral part of that, and no one is more called or qualified.
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