Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God,2 Timothy 1:8(NASB)
Timothy was called to Christian fidelity. He was encouraged to stir up his spiritual gift and to fan it into a burning flame of effective ministry and faithfulness to his calling. He was to be brave and very courageous in a world where those who followed 'the Way' were despised, marginalised, imprisoned, and even killed for their faith.
Paul was writing to Timothy, his 'son in faith' from his prison cell, in Rome. He wrote to remind him we are permanently positioned in Christ and indwelled by the Holy Spirt of God! It is not a Spirit of fearfulness and timidity that has been given us, but One of power and of love - a Spirit of self-discipline and a controlled mind. A spirit of godly wisdom and a sound judgement is bestowed on every child of God and should be rekindled afresh and fanned into flame, day by day.
The many precious privileges we have in Christ and the supernatural power of the indwelling Holy Spirit should embolden, rather than deter, our Christian testimony, which is why Paul exhorted Timothy in this verse, "Do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ... and do not be ashamed of me because I am His prisoner in chains."
There were two reasons that Paul urged Timothy not to be ashamed. Firstly, he was not to be ashamed of "the testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ," and the glorious gospel of salvation by grace through our faith in Jesus. Secondly, he was not to be distressed, discomforted, fearful, or embarrassed about Paul's imprisonment, who often considered himself a prisoner for Christ's sake. Paul proved, over and again, that God's grace is sufficient in every difficulty and danger we may face - for when we are weak in ourselves we become giants in His power.
Paul was never ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for he knew it was the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes and so he reminded Timothy - and us, that suffering for Christ's sake is a heavenly badge of honour, and encouraged us to "join with me in suffering for the sake of the gospel, according to the power of God."
Paul wanted to remind Timothy - and us, that we should not be apathetic or diffident in our Christian faith. Under the authority of the Holy Spirit, we should be actively engaged in the work God has given us to do because we have received sufficient power to overcome all trials and tribulations. As His children, we are to be actively dependent on the Lord while being passively submissive to His will.
We are to recognise that we were saved to participate in God's purposes and plans for the world and the redemption of mankind. We are to rejoice that we have a holy calling and have been saved for a purpose - to share the testimony of Christ Who died and rose again for us.
May we never be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ, nor shrink away from the blows and battering we receive for His name's sake. May we never forget that suffering is part of the course, and that there is laid-up for us a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, our righteous Judge, will give all who love Him and long for His return.
Heavenly Father, I am so grateful for the holy Scriptures, the truths they contain, the instructions we are given, the encouragement we receive, and the blessed hope we have in Christ. Thank You for all You are teaching me through the epistles of Paul and the other apostles and prophetic writings. I pray that I will never be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord Jesus and the glorious gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God working unto salvation to everyone who believes. I pray that I may be ready and willing to suffer for Your name's sake, and to consider that the difficulties and dangers of being a Christian, are worthy of the hope I have in Him. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.
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