Paul wrote to Timothy from a prison cell, I am suffering because of the Truth, “but I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He (God) can guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.” (2 Timothy 1:12 ESV) Paul walked like a lion, the certainty and power by which he lived, communicated, and suffered for the Gospel of Jesus Christ is astounding.
His absolute faith rested on this Truth, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” Based on this assurance, he encouraged all who believe, to never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News.” We can be confident like this because “God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us His grace through Christ Jesus. And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior.” Those who believe can be certain of God’s ability to do as He promised because “He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News.” (2 Timothy 1:7-10 NLT) Paul, like Abraham, “did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded God had the power to do what he had promised.” (Romans 4:20-21 NIV)
We can live with this same confident faith as Paul. Here are the keys he gave to Timothy? First, we are saved by His mighty work of redemption. By grace, those who believe God’s Word, receive forgiveness of sins and are declared justified before God. By Jesus’ completed work, we can enter boldly into the presence of God by prayer and thanksgiving. Second, Jesus tells us, “Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them through the Holy Spirit, who the Father gives you as my representative. He will not leave you, and He will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.” (John 14:21, 26 NLT) God gives us the Spirit as a down payment towards all we will have in Heaven. By the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles went from fear and timidity… to boldly proclaiming and willingly dying for the Truth. Their confidence rested on one thing; they were certain God can and will fulfill all His promises. The proof of this is, “He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We can live with the same assurance and reliance on the Spirit as well.
The evidence for this is overwhelming, you only need to dig in and pursue the Truth. God provides the help you will need to understand, for “when the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all Truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. The Spirit will tell you about the future. He will bring me (Jesus) glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.” (John 16:13-15 NLT)
Knowing He was headed to the cross as the substitutionary atonement for our sins, Jesus says to us all, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NLT)
You want to walk as a lion… steadfast and confident of the Truth? Then live by faith in God’s Word, dig into it as if it was the very air you need to breathe; don’t live by trust in material things that all end up in the trash dump! And finally, trust in the work of the Spirit that is with you and in you… don’t grieve His work by imposing your egocentric desires.
You will benefit from God’s Word and the work of the Spirit as much as you allow space in your life for them. You can live as confident as you want to be, the choice is yours…
Praying 4 U
Written by David Brown: David Brown is a husband, father, grandfather, Pastor with a Masters of Religious Studies and a Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religions. Dave is the Associate Pastor of Pemberton’s First Baptist Church.