Our Women’s Bible Study Group is studying 2 Timothy. Yesterday we learned how Paul urged Timothy to remain strong in the midst of great trial and persecution. Indications are that Timothy, a young pastor, was starting to cave under the weight of great hardship. The opposition was great. It came from within and without. The temptation to “shrink back” was no doubt rising up and starting to appeal to Timothy. But Paul, imprisoned and in chains, urged his spiritual son on. “Don’t be ashamed!” he told Timothy, “Fan into flame the gift of God!” (2 Timothy 1:6).
If anyone had the kind of weight and authority to give this kind of counsel, it was Paul. No one practiced what he preached better than he did. For Paul, the message of the cross meant sufferings, imprisonments, beatings, desertions, and ultimately the loss of his own life. Yet, it was by the power of God that he would suffer. “Timothy,” Paul would tell his son, “He has given you everything that you need for the battle. Walk in the power you have already received!”
True discipleship is costly. This is true. But, by God’s grace we can join Paul and Timothy in “suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.” (2 Timothy 1: 8-9).
Whatever cross God has purposed for you to endure, heed the words of God through the Apostle Paul, and do it for the glory of God and by the power of God! For if we endure, there is a sure reward for us in heaven.
“Only a man thus totally committed in discipleship can experience the meaning of the cross. The cross is there, right from the beginning, he has only got to pick it up there is no need for him to go out and look for a cross for himself… Every Christian has his own cross waiting for him, a cross destined and appointed by God. Each must endure his allotted share of suffering and rejection.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer