Suffering With Power

“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and self-control.  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” (II Timothy 1:7-8).

Let’s continue in this short section of Scripture by adding verse 8.  Because we are infused with His Spirit of power, love, and self-control, we never have to be ashamed of the word of the Lord; the gospel message of Jesus.  We never should feel shame if we are called to suffer for the gospel.  And we should never be ashamed of being associated with others who are being put down for sharing the good news.

Because the world system is opposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ, it will always make us out to be the foolish ones.  Don’t believe them.  We have the words of life; words the world needs to hear and embrace.

Can you remember back to your high school or college days when a popular student made sarcastic remarks aimed at outspoken believers?  How did you feel?  Did you want to be lumped in with the Christians who appeared foolish in the world’s eyes?  Because of the desire that many of us feel to be liked, it can be a challenge to identify with those who are being put down by the “in” crowd because of their faith.

But the apostle Paul calls us to join him in suffering for the gospel.  The very thing, shame, that the world is trying to throw our way is to be rejected.  We should not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord.  Shame and timidity do not fit our new Spirit.  We are to be courageous in the face of being maligned.

And our power to withstand the world’s attempt to silence us with shame is once again provided by the promise of God’s Spirit under the new covenant.  Paul is saying in these verses, “Even in my suffering for the gospel, I am buoyed by God’s power.”  Even if we suffer for the gospel, we are buoyed by the power of God in us.

The power of God in us gives us the fortitude to withstand the shame, the shade, and the insults that may come our way.  The power of God in us energizes us to respond with grace, not anger.  The power of God in us is a spirit of courage, not fear.