“When you bear your share of hardship for the gospel, with strength from God, you point people to God.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – October 21, 2022
So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God. 2 Timothy 1:8, NABRE
The gospel of Jesus Christ is a hardship. Wait! What do you mean? You may be thinking, “I thought when I came to know and understand the truth of Jesus Christ, I was set free.” You are set free from the penalty of sin and your selfish life has been replaced by your selfless life in Christ. And yes, being a follower of Jesus means you experience the truth of being set free, but you also encounter the hardships of rejection and persecution. You have God’s grace, but you still face ungracious foes. Unbelievers may not understand or accept your faith…it’s either threatening to their behavior or dismissed as irrelevant to their intellectual construct. But, when you bear your share of hardship for the gospel with strength from God, you point people to God.
Paul gives to Timothy, his protégé, this reality check of encountering hardships. Young in the faith, he needed to be reminded to have the courage to stir up his gift from God to serve God. The blazing fire of his salvation experience had been smothered by life’s hardships, and yet, the Holy Spirit was ready to stir the blackened, faint orange embers of faith and fan into flames love ablaze. In the heat of life’s hardships, no need to be ashamed, rather be a flame for Jesus. Bear your share of hardships, so it might not be as hard for those in darkness to see love’s light.
“This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:6-7).
Charles Spurgeon develops this idea of facing hardships as you bear your burdens for God:
“Every man shall bear his own burden. That is, if you and I are saved, we must each one have a work of his own, and we must set to work, and do it personally. The Lord has put each one of us into a position where there is something we can do which nobody else can do, and we are bound to do it, and not to begin thinking of how little others do, or how much others do, but to say to our Lord, “What wilt thou have me to do?” Let each Christian Levite bow his shoulder, and carry some burden for the Lord’s house.” Bear your share, so faith can come nearer to outsiders.
Life hardships can rob you of joy, invade your peace with worry or cause relational ruptures. If you are suffering from exhaustion, learn to rest in God’s strength, and/or give the gift of rest to a friend or family member. Maybe take care of her children or cover his work responsibilities, so they can enjoy a much-needed respite. Beware to only bear your share of a burden. You are not capable of bearing the sins of others, only as they cast their cares on Christ—sins’ burden bearer, are they able to be forgiven and free. Bear your share of hardships for the gospel, since you are not ashamed of the gospel. You know it is the power of God to salvation for all who believe!
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to save everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16, NKJV).
Heavenly Father, as I face hardships for the gospel, I look for your help to bear my burdens in your strength, through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name, amen.
What burden am I bearing that is not mine to bear, but is the result of another’s sin? A sin that only Christ can be the sin-bearer for freedom and forgiveness.
Nehemiah 9:32; Job 5:6-7; Acts 14:22; Romans 8:35-39
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