March 13 I Tuesday
“…but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling...” —2 Timothy 1:8-9 NKJV
Timothy was a young disciple of Christ much beloved and mentored by Paul. His story is one almost every Christian can relate to. At first, we are all eager and willing to serve but somewhere along the line, confusion, doubt and worry steps in.
Timothy grew up with tension caused by the stigma attached to his mixed parentage and with only one parent being a believer, but God had plans for him. While still a young man, someone new entered his life, not someone with a new message, but someone bold and fresh. Accompanied by Barnabas, the Apostle Paul was on his first missionary journey into Turkey when he first met Timothy in his hometown of Lystra. A friendship formed and under Paul’s ministry, Timothy, within the context of a very dramatic event, was converted to Christianity.
When Paul and Barnabas came upon a man crippled from birth, Paul healed him through the power of Christ. In a euphoric response, the crowd hailed both Paul and Barnabas as gods come down to earth in human form. They were deaf to Paul and Barnabas’s adamant protests, claiming to be only human as they were. When they began to preach, Jews who had come down from Antioch incited the crowd against them. The pendulum suddenly swung from wanting to worship Paul and Barnabas to wanting to kill them. Paul, being the spokesperson, was viciously stoned, dragged out of the city and left for dead. As other disciples gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city, presumably taking refuge in Timothy’s home. Battered, bruised and swollen, Paul wants to know, “Timothy, would you like to be a disciple?”
What would our answer have been at a time like that? To help us know, we need to ask what is involved in becoming a true disciple of Christ. The Christian church has one job description and that is to make disciples. These are men and women who will say “yes” to unconditional surrender of their lives to Christ, regardless of consequences to themselves. There is notably a turning from oneself to a turning to God with no middle ground, no bargains.
True discipleship is not a sentimental journey of faith, nor does it promise a life of comfort and ease. It is a denying of oneself for the purposes of Jesus Christ. There is no doubt the Gospel is costly, but it is also deeply enriching and rewarding because we have Jesus in control who is our strength, direction and the only resource we need. Discipleship is a lifestyle dynamically alive and meaningful as opposed to having beliefs we try to follow but do not pass on.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me never to cower away from anything You have called me to. I ask that You fill me with the courage and boldness of Paul so I may serve You better. Thank You, Lord.