“The Apostle Paul clearly determined to die well. He fought the fight and kept the faith. Let’s do the same.” ~ Chuck Swindoll
Following Christ ought to come with a warning label: Christianity is a battleground, not a playground. For 30 years, Paul had “fought the good fight” (2 Timothy 4:7), suffering for the cause of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:23-27). Paul’s heroics are writ large over our faith, making it easy to conclude that every believer ought to be or have been just like him—charging the gates of hell with a bucket of ice water. Not so. Some of God’s choicest saints were reluctant (like Moses), rebellious (like Jonah), and fearful (like Timothy). Despite his timidity, Timothy was called to follow God onto the battleground. To do so, the young man needed courage to stand for Christ, even if it meant suffering.
Second Timothy 1:8-12 has a simple message: Stiffen your resolve! Stand Strong! Be brave! That’s what Paul is telling Timothy to do. And in a spiritually soft and passive society, it’s a message we’d be wise to heed with one important caveat: we can’t do it apart from God.
God has given us the Spirit of power (2 Timothy 1:7) yet Timothy was afraid. Paul was in prison and Christians in Rome were being persecuted. To Timothy, his choices were either shame or suffering. Paul told Timothy to pick suffering and gave him five action steps to stiffen his resolve.
1. Do not be ashamed of the name of Christ (2 Timothy 1:8)
2. Do not be ashamed of the people of God (2 Timothy 1:8)
3. Be willing to suffer for the sake of the Gospel (2 Timothy 1:8)
4. Be sure your life is anchored in sovereign grace (2 Timothy 1:9-11)
5. Be convinced that God will vindicate your life (2 Timothy 1:12)
Stiffen your resolve! Paul gave us five steps to do just that. All that’s left is for you to answer one question—a question only you can answer. Are you willing to give God your very best? God gave His best—His Son, His grace, His Gospel. What about you? Is God worth your best?