I was visiting Paul’s second letter to Timothy recently, especially that first chapter. Paul begins his letter to Timothy by first offering thanksgiving for Timothy’s faith, which was handed down to him by his grandmother through his mother. Paul also reminds him to keep “ablaze” the gift God gave him. He adds that God has not given a spirit of fear, but instead one of power (love and sound judgment). [2 Timothy 1:6-7 HCSB]
After Paul reminds Timothy that the power of God is with him to overcome fear, Paul goes on to prompt Timothy to not be ashamed of the testimony of the LORD and instead to share in suffering for the Gospel. As he did so, God’s power would be with him in those circumstances also.
“So don’t be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, or of me His prisoner. Instead, share in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God.” [I Timothy 1:8 HCSB]
The thought that caught my attention was enveloped in that word ashamed. The word ashamed (GK: epaischunomai) means misplaced confidence or support, or shame that matches the error of wrongly identifying (aligning) with something.
Paul must have felt strongly about those who are ashamed of the Gospel of Christ Jesus as he used the same Greek word when he wrote to the Romans, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek.” [Romans 1:16 HCSB]
Paul also used the same Greek word for power, dynamis, in both letters. It is the power of God that enables us to overcome fear – no matter the source of that fear (such as suffering or being aligned with those who are suffering). It is the power of God which brings us salvation and enables us to testify boldly and truthfully about the Gospel of Christ Jesus.
It is the power of God which enables us to shamelessly broadcast — I am not ashamed of my faith in Christ Jesus ….