Don't Be Ashamed To Suffer For Christ
Paul was in prison because he preached Christ Jesus, the Son of God, the Saviour of the world and the judge of everybody. Instead of telling Timothy that everything would be all right in Ephesus, Paul told him that there was no shame in suffering for Christ and the gospel. It was an important hurdle for Timothy to get over; once he had accepted that he might well be imprisoned or even killed for his faith, he could then get on with the task of church leadership and evangelism without internal constraints. The future was in God’s hands and not his.
Timothy’s role in the church was not his idea, but God’s. The Lord had called him. That call was set in God’s heart before the universe was created. So Timothy should not be ashamed; rather he should realise the privilege, that the God of eternity had called him to preach the gospel, even before the world was made. So Paul invited Timothy to embrace suffering if that was to be a part of God’s call, because God’s purposes are always perfect.
Nobody enjoys shame or suffering. But God knows what He is doing and He chooses how we can best glorify Him. We need to understand that God’s call on our life is not a casual decision, nor can it be negotiated by us; it was decided before time started. Therefore it is a huge privilege to accept that call and allow the Lord to guide us in whatever way He chooses. If it involves suffering, then can we not trust the Lord to sustain us through it? That is a real act of faith, but an essential step … otherwise we will always be tempted to abandon the gospel, and be ashamed of those who have held tightly to the cross of Christ. Let us not dishonour them or the Lord who suffered greatly for us.
© Dr Paul Adams