7 God didn’t give us a spirit that is timid but one that is powerful, loving, and self-controlled.
8 So don’t be ashamed of the testimony about the Lord or of me, his prisoner. Instead, share the suffering for the good news, depending on God’s power. 9 God is the one who saved and called us with a holy calling. This wasn’t based on what we have done, but it was based on his own purpose and grace that he gave us in Christ Jesus before time began.
Every child who has watched the 1939 movie version of The Wizard of Oz can tell you that the Scarecrow wanted a brain, the Tin-man wanted a heart, the Cowardly Lion wanted courage, and Dorothy already had everything she needed. The first time you saw the movie, you probably remember being scared of the apple-throwing apple trees, the Wicked Witch, the flying monkeys, or the “Oh-E-Oh” guards. As the movie progresses you watch the characters learn to overcome all kinds of obstacles and threats to finally achieve their dreams. It’s a fun, little bit dark movie with a happy ending.
In this second letter to Timothy, Paul is talking about courage, love and a mind of self discipline. Christians were suffering persecution by the Roman Emperor Nero. Paul is writing from prison, awaiting his trial and execution. His life of witnessing to the Good News of our salvation, through the suffering and death of our Savior Christ Jesus, is coming to an end. He is passing his ministry on to Timothy to continue, telling him that he will experience suffering for doing this work. He tells Timothy not to be ashamed to speak or afraid to continue the work of spreading the Gospel. God has given Timothy “a spirit of power,” holy courage, to testify and bring the Good News of salvation to the world. This power is not human courage we can summon up on our own. It is the power given to us by God’s grace, so we can go into the world, sharing the Good News of God’s love for us, and make disciples. Paul tells Timothy that God has saved us and called us to a “holy calling,” to live a holy life of courage, love and self-discipline as the followers of Jesus.
In many places around the world today Christians are suffering for the Gospel. In some countries it is illegal to share about Jesus with others. Many Christians endanger their lives by smuggling Bibles or sharing the Good News of God’s love and grace through Jesus. We may suffer ridicule, or apathy, but rarely physical peril when we tell others about Jesus. God has given each of us holy courage to carry out our holy calling with love and grace to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
By Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
God has given you “a spirit of power” – holy courage – to be able to share the love of Jesus and the good news of salvation with others. How can you use your holy courage to tell someone this week about God’s love for them?
God has saved you and called you to a holy calling, a holy life of love and self-discipline. God loves you. Do you feel God’s holy calling on your life? What areas of your life reflect your holy calling? What areas of self- discipline can use some help? Ask God to help you with those areas.
Prayer: Loving God, I thank you for calling me to a holy calling and for giving me holy courage to be able to share the love of Jesus with others. Help me to live a loving and self-disciplined life. I pray for all Christians in danger and who suffer because they want to share the Good News of Jesus. Guide me to live out my holy calling for the transformation of the world. Amen.