Paul says to young Timothy that there is a solemn charge he gives him—but he gives it to him not with Paul as his judge. There is One before Whom Timothy shall stand Who is far greater than any human being we know—or ever will know. Paul says this, “I charge you in the presence of God.” The phrase, “in the presence” is a legal term. It was used to speak of a court case where one would come before a judge. If you judge were named Bill Jones, your summons would read something like this, “You are commanded to appear in the presence of Bill Jones this Friday.” When someone received something like this, they would know that they were going to be standing in judgment for whatever case they faced. What the judge said in that instance would be final. In much the way that this happened, Paul is trying to impress upon us the seriousness of our own day before God.
What if you just didn’t feel like appearing before the judge that day? You would appear any way—because the option not to appear wasn’t given to you. You WILL show up on that day—and you WILL be judged according to the law. What Paul is saying to Timothy is that he needs to remember Who is going to be judging him in the end. Knowing this Timothy will be motivated to walk in God’s will regardless of whether he was in season or out of season.
Paul also makes it clear that this is no human courtroom. We are to appear “in the presence of God and Jesus Christ—WHO IS TO JUDGE THE LIVING AND THE DEAD!” There is no one who will not stand before God and give account. That accounting will be based upon the clear commandments of His Word—which are NOT contingent on whether we felt like we were having a good day or a bad one. Living in light of this should motivate us to love and serve God—if not out of a feeling of love—out of a choice based on godly wisdom and very real accountability. Sure, it would be great if we did all we do out of strong good feelings, but that is not always guaranteed. Therefore when we have those “out of season moments” we obey out of clear obligation and accountability to God for our actions.