Don’t be ashamed of suffering Christians

“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God,who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,” (2 Timothy 1:8-9)

Verse eight is not nearly as popular as verse nine. We much prefer the assurance  we’re saved by grace not by works, to the context of this verse. We tend to avoid suffering, not want to share in the suffering of others. Our idea of comforting and encouraging someone frankly often comes across to the hurting as “get over it” because, frankly, we want them to get over it and stop making us uncomfortable.

Empathizing, entering into their pain, crying with them, lamenting with them, rather than rushing them to “praise God” and “glory be”, how many of us actually do that? Even fewer than those of us who wouldn’t be tempted to turn on a believer imprisoned because of their work for the Lord. Surely they’re bad people and misguided, bad Christians and that’s why they’re in jail. The media, after all, told us so.

Don’t be deceived. Misguided or not, they have a record for same reason the Apostle Paul would have one today. Don’t be ashamed of their testimony and standing up for scriptural truth as best as they understand it.

We are not saved by our works, the scripture is clear we are saved by Grace–for the work the Lord purposed for us to do. He calls and equips us to holiness.  We are saved from sin, not saved so we can sin. If you’re using grace today as an excuse to sit on your duff, ignore his call, and ignore what the holy spirit is instructing you to do, cut it out.

This message is brought to you by Ash Wednesday and ministries everywhere in bad need of workers. 🙂

Lord, where are you leading us? What are you calling us to do? Open our hearts and our ears to hear your voice and obey you out of love, not fear of condemnation and hell. Forgive us for the times we’ve been ashamed or have turned our faces away from suffering or unwittingly heaped on others suffering with “encouragement” that condemns them for hurting. Give us wisdom and show us how to enter in to others suffering as you lead. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.