Sunday, July 12
Following Fear or Pursuing Power?
As Christians, we understand the importance of community and support in our own personal walks of faith; I know I can relate through the impact others’ encouragement and teaching has had in my life. Timely messages within morning devotions, almost like the author was speaking directly to me, and kind words from friends, have really spurred me on in my faith. Exhortation, in my own words, is “purposefully encouraging through creating a call to action.” As Paul writes this letter, passing his torch along to Timothy, he gives Timothy a mission to step up, be courageous, and proclaim the gospel unashamed. Paul uses his life as an example of how to live in the power of God. The Lord not only offers us, but EXPECTS us to have passion and boldness when handling the gospel, which we can see through 2 Timothy 1:7, which reads, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”
2 Timothy 1:8 suggests that being an advocate for Christ is not a walk in the park: “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.” Sadly for me, growing up in the Church, I have seen children and teens around me falling away from God quite frequently, committing ungodly acts, and/or not taking the time to study God’s word. Some of the friends I went to Jr. Youth with have stopped coming once high school came around and Sr. Youth started. This, I believe, is because it began costing them something, whether it be their free time, money, or even popularity. Is this acting in a spirit of power? Or is it in a spirit of timidity? In the first part of the verse Paul commands Timothy to not be ashamed of the Gospel. Youth do not see that the sacrifice is worth the reward. In 2 Timothy, the main instruction Paul is giving Timothy is to guard the treasure that has been entrusted to him. If we look at verse 8 in context of the theme of the chapter, it shows that suffering for the gospel reaps many benefits; Paul refers to it as a treasure; it has to be something worth fighting for!
Temporal thinking is the thinking of this generation, and the only way we can break the cycle is to commit ourselves to be fearless and bold in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is hard for all Christians to fully grasp the radical truth that the power of God is always and fully accessible. Paul still had hope like none other- even his last, dying moments. I would like to think I would be like Paul, but I would honestly probably be crying for my mama. In spite of his suffering, Paul’s attitude is full of hope. The encouragement that comes from other believers can be powerful. But even more so, the Holy Spirit enables us to harness the full power and might of God, and deliver it to others. How cool is that? We have exactly the same, powerful God as Paul did. How are you going to depend on the power of God to stand “unashamed of the testimony of our Lord?” What needs to change in your life for you to begin to break free from your spirit of timidity?