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; – 2Tim. 1:8 KJV
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The Apostle Paul it was, that posted Timothy, whom he regarded as his son in the Lord to Ephesus as the Bishop to oversee the Church there. Although he was young in age, he was very matured in spirit, having been introduced into the faith at a young age through his grandmother, Lois (2Tim. 1:5), and subsequently properly mentored by the Apostle Paul who had kept him since he joined him at the beginning of his second missionary journey – Acts 16:1. All these was before Paul started encountering major persecutions. When hatred , beatings, rebellions and regular embarrassments became a regular feature every where he had gone to preach and teach the gospel, including locations like Corinth, where he, it was that established the Church yet the people there chose to rebel against him, many started having second thoughts about their decision to be associated with him and the message he preached, after all, no one likes such experiences. Suddenly, loyalty started becoming a scarce virtue amongst people who hitherto were loyal to him, as the thought of having similar experiences was very scary to them. Some were already experiencing persecutions of their own and so had chosen to distance themselves from him and the gospel. In the scripture that is the foundation of today’s Devotional, he began to encourage them to remain loyal to the gospel and himself, advising that they had no reason to be ashamed of his chains as it was simply because of the gospel and nothing else – 2Tim. 1:8-12.
The advise of Paul to Timothy that he should fan into flame, the gift of God that he got through the laying of hands confirm the fact that the fire of the gospel in even Timothy was already going off as he was becoming discouraged, with Paul going on to remind him that the spirit that he and other Christians have is not that of timidity but one which conferred power and sound mind on the one that possesses it – 2Tim. 1:6-7. He thus;
- Encouraged him and other co-workers in the vineyard to be strong in the Grace that is in Christ Jesus – 2Tim. 2:1. The source of the strength will have to be in the available Grace that is in Christ – Acts 1:5-8. Any other pillar of strength will fail. The one who intends to remain faithful must be aware of this limitless Grace which is encapsulated in his statement that he will be with all those who are faithful to him through life and unto the ends of the earth – Matt. 28:18-20. His, is a promise that is backed with ability and so it is not an empty promise. All who believe in him have nothing to worry about even in the face of trials and tribulations because he has already overcome all those, on their behalf – Jn. 16:33; Isa. 54:15-17; Col. 2:13-15; Isa. 53:5.
- He advised him to entrust all that he has heard from him to reliable men who will keep the message alive – 2Tim. 2:2. In other for the desire of Jesus Christ, that the gospel gets to the ends of the earth, to be fulfilled, the Christian worker must continue to seek ways of transmitting the gospel, not only to those who will access the advantage that is in it, but also to those who will take the baton and move the message to its next destination. Such people must be sought out and properly indoctrinated like Paul himself did to Timothy.
- He encouraged him to endure hardships like a good soldier of Christ – 2Tim. 2:3. This was not a journey that anyone can be promised of no hardship, but one that anyone who is in, should build some form of resilience against hardships. It seems that the signposts on this path are all those hardships, some of which can be life threatening, but just as he assured all, he has overcome on our behalf, so we must build our faith in the fact that we will eventually be the winner of the battle, as long as we remain in him.
- He should focus on pleasing his commanding officer – who in this case is Jesus Christ – 2Tim. 2:4. No matter the situation that may be confronting him, the sole desire must be to do what is pleasing to Jesus Christ. The Christian worker must remain faithful till the end – Matt. 24:12-14. Though Jesus Christ promised that he has overcome, such a person should realise that not all of those battles will end in a manner that will be seen as victory by men, but it remains victory for as long as Jehovah and Jesus Christ are pleased with the action of such.
- He should do all to work according to the directives of God – 2Tim. 2:5. Still in the attempt of the Christian worker to please only his commanding officer, such must dwell in the Word of God at all times and operate only in His directives, and this will no doubt require spending time in the Word in order to be familiar with it. Just as Jehovah told Joshua, that is the only way that the typical worker of Jehovah will record good success – Josh. 1:8.
Remaining faithful and loyal in the face of intimidation and harassments, for anyone can be an arduous task. The human nature naturally does not like pain and inconvenience but it must be stated that there can be no success without some pain experienced. Men may reduce the level of pain experienced but to avoid pain completely and expect success, no matter how little will remain a mirage.
This awareness should always remain in the consciousness of the one who intends to walk with God and more importantly, work for the spread of the gospel with the intention of being rewarded with eternal life. It will be completely impossible to win the price for remaining faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ, without going through some form or level of pain and harassment, after all, like it is said generally, “nothing good comes easy”. If human beings are able to understand that some level of resilience and sacrifice will be required to achieve earthly success that is obviously very temporal, it then should not come as a surprise if they have to experience more pain and harassments for a success that is very much eternal.
The one who intends to successfully go through this pain and harassment and win the coveted price will be better off applying the advise that Paul gave Timothy, to his/her situation. That solution remains the very best to help such retain the faithfulness that is required to achieve, not only good success in this world but eternal success in the life after life. May God grant us all the ability to remain faithful till the end in Jesus name. Amen.