Read 2 Timothy 1:8-18
8So 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, 9who 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, 10but 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. 11And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12That 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.
13What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you — guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
15 You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes.
16May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. 17On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. 18May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus. (NIV)
Paul begins to get into the reason for his letter. He begins with suffering. The early church connected suffering with holiness. They believed that if they stood with Christ, they would suffer with Christ. But in verse 8, Paul connects suffering with the power of God. Paul is taking suffering to not just something that happens to us, but that in Christ, we have the power of God to rise above the suffering and to live (verse 9 and 10). Christ has destroyed death and brought life and salvation.
In this life, there will always be times of suffering. But Christ gives us hope and power to preserve in suffering to live the best life possible. To the Jews, they believed if one suffered, then there must be sin in that person that God is causing them to suffer. This would account for many who abandoned Paul in his later ministry after he was arrested. Paul talks about those who have abandoned him. He encourages Timothy to stay the course, to not be ashamed of Paul or the Gospel, but to hold to the trust he was given. Each of us has been given the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ. We hold this truth, this deposit in us. The question that we will all be asked at one point is, “What did we do with the Good News.” This is something to be shared. It is the power that helps us live. It is the life we live.
How has the Good News of Jesus Christ affected your life? Do you consider you life, now a deposit with God? I mean have you trusted God completely with your life once you accepted the Good News. Are we ashamed to be a Christian? Do we remain quiet to avoid suffering? These are all questions we need to examine from time to time.
Blessings and Peace