Wednesday, May 25, 2016


For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.
2 Timothy 1:6-8

"I don't really tell people I'm a Christian at school. If they know you are a Christian they just give you a really hard time. Especially the Buddhists. The Buddhists love tearing into Christians at my high school. They just won't leave you alone." 

I had been in full-time youth ministry for about seven years when a teen shared this during Wednesday night youth group. The teen's father was a deacon, his family were church members, and I couldn't believe my ears. In my flesh I can commiserate with this teen, and yet to this day I haven't heard a clearer or more succinct example of what it means to be ashamed of the testimony of Christ.

If I were to ask each of you whether or not you are ashamed of Christ, chances are you would say no. But what if I were to ask you this question: When was the last time you shared what Jesus has done for you with a lost person?

Honestly, this question stirs shame in my own heart because the answer isn't nearly as recent as it ought to be. I have my excuses, but these are only attempts to explain away evidence that points in an unflattering direction. Our answer to this question matters because in context being "ashamed" must mean remaining silent. Thus to be "unashamed" must mean to speak up. Look at the text with me. 

It says, "for the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid." Why does Paul take the time to tell Timothy that Christians are not fearful? At this time, Paul is a prisoner in Rome, in chains for proclaiming the gospel (v. 8). It's reasonable for Timothy (Paul's right-hand-man) to be concerned that persecution might find him as well. So Paul reminds him that Christians do not give in to fear. Rather, God's Spirit "gives us power, love and self-discipline." God gives us power that we may be confident in the gospel's ability to change people, love to fuel our passion for telling others the truth, and self-control so we can persevere in sharing the gospel even in the face of significant opposition. 

This is how the passage ends. "So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God." Think for a moment. What would Timothy have to do in order to share in suffering for the gospel? He would have to continue telling others about Jesus. Rome wouldn't persecute Timothy if he went silent and even if they did persecute him in some way after he fell silent it couldn't be considered suffering for the gospel if he had stopped preaching the gospel. So when Paul says "don't be ashamed of the gospel," he is urging Timothy not to be silent about Jesus. 

So don't remain silent anymore. Find opportunities to talk to others about Christ. Pray for opportunities. Make opportunities. Tell your story.

No comments: