So keep at your work, this faith and love rooted in Christ, exactly as I set it out for you. It’s as sound as the day you first heard it from me. Guard this precious thing placed in your custody by the Holy Spirit who works in us. (THE MESSAGE)
Some of us grew up as those who went to Sunday School, youth group, and church. We sang songs, played games, got excited, got bored, formed relationships and ended relationships, shed tears and had lots of laughs.
Embedded in that growing up was a genuine but only dimly understood Christian faith. We sang songs which had words which we scarcely grasped. We engaged in bible studies that sometimes went in one ear and out the other. We made rather painful and pathetic attempts to “witness” to others. We recited prayers in church that didn’t make much sense.
And yet, something was sown. Amidst all the rather shallow choruses and tedious liturgy, a kernel of truth remained. And as adulthood replaced childhood, some elements got discarded along the way, swept aside in the slipstream of our personal history. We look back and wonder at our naiveté or our silliness and at the same time recognise that it was not all folly, not all childhood enthusiasm, not just a phase we went through to see us through the darkest nights of our growing pains.
And so we are conscious of doing what Paul urges Timothy to do. We guard what is precious to us, we retain the core of belief even if some peripheral elements have irredeemably changed. We haven’t thrown out the baby with the bathwater. Whatever else has ceased to matter, the fact that God loves me and that Jesus proves it, continues to matter.