Timothy appears to be discouraged, perhaps at the prospect of personal suffering as he preaches the gospel. “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control”(2 Tim 1:6-7). Timothy has a (spiritual?) gift, but he must fan it into flame, awakening his passion for Jesus. God doesn’t want us to live afraid, but strong and caring and disciplined.
Paul speaks of this timidity and fear as being ashamed. “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God”(2 Tim 1:8). There will be suffering, but it is suffering we share in with our brothers and our Savior. “But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me”(2 Tim 1:12). Paul’s confidence is not in himself and his speaking skills. He is unashamed because he knows Jesus and that his trust in Jesus is well-placed. Jesus won’t disappoint, so how can he be ashamed of him? He also mentions others who were so fearful that they would be persecuted that they abandoned Paul (2 Tim 1:15) and Onesiphorus, who refused to be ashamed of Paul (2 Tim 1:16-18). Suffering is not a possibility to be feared, but a reality to be embraced as part of our service to Jesus.
It is possible for us to distance ourselves from Jesus and the controversies that have always surrounded him and his teaching. In this mindset, fear controls us. Paul shows us that our confidence comes not from ourselves, but from the character of Jesus.
------------- One Thing to Think About: In what situations am I tempted to be ashamed of Jesus, his teachings, or his people?
One Thing to Pray For: A spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control
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