Long before the decisive moment when Billy Graham came to faith in Christ at age sixteen, his parents’ devotion to Jesus was evident. They’d both come to faith while growing up within a family of believers. After their marriage, Billy’s parents continued that legacy by lovingly nurturing their children, including praying and reading Scripture and attending church faithfully with them. The solid foundation Graham’s parents laid for Billy was part of the soil God used to bring him to faith and, eventually, to his calling as a bold evangelist.
The apostle Paul’s young protégé Timothy also benefited from a strong spiritual foundation. Paul wrote, “Your sincere faith . . . first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice” (2 Timothy 1:5). This legacy helped prepare and steer Timothy’s heart toward faith in Christ.
Now Paul urged Timothy to carry on this faith tradition (v. 5), to “fan into flame the gift of God” within him through the Holy Spirit, who “gives us power” (vv. 6–7). Because of the power of the Spirit, Timothy could fearlessly live for the gospel (v. 8). A strong spiritual legacy doesn’t guarantee we’ll come to faith, but the example and mentoring of others can help prepare the way. And after we receive Jesus as Savior, the Spirit will guide us in service, in living for Him, and even in nurturing the faith of others.
Who or what did God use to help to lay the foundation for your faith? How can you help to do this in someone’s life today?
Paul’s second New Testament letter to Timothy represents some of the apostle’s last recorded words. Imprisoned in Rome for preaching the gospel and declaring Jesus as Lord rather than Caesar, Paul believed his execution was near (2 Timothy 1:8, 11–12; 2:8–9; 4:6). Sensing his days were numbered, his words reflect his confidence in God, his care for the body of Christ, and his affections for a spiritual son—Timothy—who Paul described as a most trusted co-worker (Philippians 2:19–22).