Thursday, December 9, 2021
I get a great sense of satisfaction from completing a project. When I know I have invested my best in an assignment and can stand and see the results it fills me with joy. That same feeling of gratification can be ours in our spiritual lives as well when we become fully invested in the assignment we have been given.
Jesus Christ has commissioned all of us as His followers to be witnesses of His saving power and to go into the entire world and make disciples. The Apostle Paul fulfilled the commission of Jesus Christ in its entirety. He not only went with the message but he passed on the disciplines of the faith so that others were equipped to live faithfully for Jesus. Sometimes our fears keep us from doing this. We are either afraid to begin a conversation about Jesus with an unbeliever, or we are afraid of the commitment level it takes to disciple a new believer. But if we are going to be considered successful at living the Christian life then both of these actions must be active in our lives.
2 Timothy 1:7-14 “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me 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. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 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 I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you – guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.”
Paul reminds us of several things that serve as the foundation for fulfilling the commission to be a witness and a discipler. First he tells us that the Holy Spirit has provided us with what we need to witness – power, love, and self-discipline. He specifically states that the fear we experience when we are put in a situation to be a witness is not from God. If sharing our faith scares us it may be because we have chosen to listen to Satan who is empowering our pride to be brought to the top priority position of consideration. We must make a choice at that point to surrender to the Spirit of God who gives us the self-discipline to say no to self-serving solutions, the power to conquer the influence of Satan’s deceptions, and the love for the lost that reflects the heart of Christ. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord.
Second, Paul reminds us of our previous condition before our salvation, that we were unable to do anything about our sin, and that God initiated a plan to save us that has now been revealed in Jesus Christ. We have been brought into the light of the Gospel by the grace of God. We did nothing to deserve it. We did nothing to earn it. Death has been destroyed for us. Immortality has been granted to us. What have we to fear? It is only as we live in the gratitude of this gift that we will be willing to suffer any loss for the sake of serving the one who saved us.
Third, Paul encourages us to become convinced of our faith and of the faithfulness of God to keep us secure. This assurance will result in confidence so that we will not be ashamed of Jesus Christ in any area of our lives. When we are convinced of the outcome we can endure any difficulties encountered in the process. We must keep our eyes on the finish line.
Finally, Paul tells us that we are personally responsible to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in making the most of what we have been taught and to teach it to others. There has been a good deposit made to our spiritual bank account, and we are given the responsibility to guard it. This is not referring to our salvation, for we are kept by the power of God as the children of God. It refers to all of the teaching that was given to us by the people who discipled us for the purpose of bringing us to maturity in the faith. It is our responsibility to choose what to do with that mentoring. We can guard it and live it, or we can turn from it and live according to the old nature. The most significant part of this decision, I believe, is that we have the opportunity to choose. Someone has invested himself or herself in us. That is a great thought, isn’t it? Paul invested himself in Timothy. I have invested myself in you. In whom are you investing yourself?
I wrote down a quote in my old Bible. I’m not sure who authored it, but it is my challenge to invest my life into others so that they can mature as Christians. “Christian growth is most dependent upon an atmosphere in which Christian attitudes are present.” My friends, discipleship is not primarily about teaching, it is first and foremost about modeling. Let’s be unashamed to model Jesus Christ to the lost world, and to invest our lives into those who are being saved.