Thursday, March 15, 2012
“Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God” (2 Timothy 1:8 KJV).
Has God promised us Christians a “carefree, trouble-free life,” as today’s prosperity preachers assert?
Young Timothy, pastor of the Ephesian church, has grown weary because of satanic opposition: he is fearful, for the lost world has intimidated him to the point of discouragement and/or silence (verse 7). Timothy is ashamed of God’s Word, and of imprisoned Paul. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul encourages Timothy with today’s Scripture: “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord!” “Speak up, Timothy! They need to hear God’s Word, so endure the suffering!”
Satan is against us, saints, because he is against our God. The devil wants to wear us out; he will use unbelievers—and even “Christian” brethren—to intimidate and mock us. Satan uses evil men to persecute us, so we grow “ashamed” of God’s Word, and then throw up our hands and quit! We need to be “partakers of the afflictions of the Gospel.” No greater privilege do we Christians have than suffering for the God who died for us!
“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). In verse 11, Paul speaks of his “persecutions” and “afflictions,” “but out of them all the Lord delivered me.” How did God deliver him? The end of today’s Scripture tells us: “according to the power of God.” In order to endure Satan’s attacks, we rely on God’s power, not on our strength and resources (or we shall be defeated) (2 Corinthians 1:8,9).
“And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation” (2 Corinthians 1:3-10; 2 Timothy 2:11-13). We have God’s sufficient grace to comfort us: “Therefore I take pleasure… in reproaches,… in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
So, be thou partaker of the afflictions of the Gospel!