Beyond the Gospels: Timothy

Today’s Scripture: 2 Timothy 1:10-18
[Open up your Bible or open up the link above to read today’s verses.]

And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle
and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am.
Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed…
2 Timothy 1:11-12
Paul suffered because of his appointment as a herald of the gospel. Have you heard this truth before? that we suffer because we’ve been chosen as Believers? It seems like much of the popular teaching today focuses on how much the gospel can do for you. Giving joy, peace, prosperity. Really make your life great. But we rarely hear about the suffering.
This letter from Paul, inspired by the Spirit, was written while he was in prison awaiting execution. To be on death row is a shameful thing. But Paul said he had no cause for shame because he knew just who he had put his faith in.
I find it interesting how little the church thinks of its suffering these days. When hardships cause suffering we think it’s because we’ve done something wrong. We don’t really get the magnitude of the unseen spiritual war waging around us which is the source of most of our suffering. We also seem to forget that every trial is actually a test. A testing of our faith, a forging of our collective (and individual) character as the church. 
And I wonder if this confusion comes from the reality of how little we actually know the One we say we believe in. Perhaps, we haven’t spent enough time pursuing Him individually or collectively. Maybe, we haven’t really sought and followed His Way.
Paul’s confidence, zeal, and faith are no less because he finds himself on death row. If you remember, the One in whom he believes, the One he knows, also found Himself in the same place. It was at that point of His death, leading to His resurrection, that He had His greatest victory. Paul trusts the One who overcame death to be with him now. Even in death.
Suffering. It’s part of what we’re called to do as heralds of the gospel. And if you are a Believer, you are called to be a herald of the gospel. A teacher of disciples. It is our great commission, both individually and collectively.  With this commission comes not the possibility, but the probability of suffering. How do you handle times of suffering? Do you let them transform and strengthen your faith? Or do you find yourself undone?
Maybe it’s time to draw closer to the One in whom we say we believe.
Maybe it’s time to really consider what we do believe and why we believe.
Maybe it’s time to reconsider what suffering is all about.
Lord Jesus, You suffered much for me.
Your suffering made the way for many to be saved.
Open my heart to You and what it means to be Your herald
and to suffer in Your name.
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