Nothing to be Ashamed of
Loving God, I praise You for Your tender mercies and Your loving-kindness. You are a faithful God.
2 Timothy 1:8-18
Consider: Remind yourself that God's interest in you right now is not "because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace" (2 Tim. 1:9).
A Scripture Union leader in an African country tells the story of her first day in school in a strongly anti-Christian culture. Being the daughter of a pastor, she was placed in front of the class and denounced as a liar who should be shunned. When the teacher left the room, the other children beat her. She resisted the temptation to be ashamed of her faith and of association with her father.
Timothy faced the temptation to be silent about his faith and to be ashamed of his connection to the imprisoned Paul (8). We may readily identify with him. Few of us like to say unpopular things or to be linked to failure. This orientation caused some former friends to desert Paul altogether (15). As a conflict avoider, Timothy was probably prone to give way.
Paul sets about equipping Timothy to face his fear and stand firm by reminding him of the greatness of the Gospel and the cause of his own imprisonment. The scope of this Gospel transcends human history but has been accomplished in a historical Jesus, who "broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life" (10b, NLT). What can equal such a message? Eduardo Paolozzi's 1960s pop art demonstrated that "the consumer world has surpassed even Surrealism in its capacity for fantasy"--but few seem ashamed of that. So why be ashamed of the message of grace that transforms status and lifestyle (9)? For Paul, the ignominy of prison is part of his calling (11-12). To some it denotes failure, but Paul knows he can trust God, whatever his personal circumstances. His fate is tied to a suffering Savior, who endured "even death on a cross" (Phil. 2:8). Timothy must guard this truth with his life--a life now fortified by the indwelling Spirit.
Today's Christians tend to look up to Christians who have "made it." Do you think this is an unhealthy sign? Why or why not?
Lord, I often feel like Timothy. Sometimes timidity overtakes me and I do not give witness to You. Release in me the inner power of the Holy Spirit so I will tell others about You.