Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Stopping the Pity Party Mindset

2 Timothy 1:8-12 -  8 So 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, 9 who 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, 10 but 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. 11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12 That 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.

Today, as I began my Bible Study, I did so with a pity party mindset.  I was tired, frustrated, and had simply had enough drama from all of the "messes" going on in my life.  However, as I began to sit down and pray and read the beginning of Second Timothy, my Heavenly Father began to give me a slight attitude adjustment. 

At the beginning of the letter, Paul is in prison and is writing to his beloved pupil, Timothy. Other supporters had deserted him and he has suffered a lot for the cause of Christ.  However, Paul instructs Timothy to not be ashamed of the gospel or of its messenger.

I began to meditate on verse 12.  Paul suffered so much, yet complained none.  The reason for this is because He knew WHY he was suffering.  He realized that there was a purpose for it.  His purpose was to share the gospel, no matter what.  More importantly though, Paul was able to suffer well, because He knew the Lord well.  He was not ashamed because he KNEW whom he believed.  The Greek word used here that means "to know" can have two different meanings: the first is to have information about someone or something and the second is to be intimately acquainted with someone or something.  The range of the word is as vast as our own use of the English equivalent.  However, Paul KNEW Jesus.  It is evident by his testimony he gives in verse nine. 

In thinking about these verses, I have come to realize, how we handle suffering directly correlates with how well we know Jesus.  If we simply know him to be the subject of children's songs, hard times will seem pressing.  However, if we trust in Christ as the one who has the power of God, who has saved us and has called us to a holy life, not because of anything that we have done but because of his own purpose and grace, not only will we endure suffering, we will conquer it with JOY.  Paul was such a great testimony to Christ because he was not ashamed in his suffering. Rather than blaming God for his perils, He praised Him for His purpose because he knew that in his suffering, others would see Christ.

Paul understood how difficult it was to have such fortitude in a harsh world.  That is why he wrote Timothy such strong words of encouragement.  I know I often cower in my own discomforts, but it is my prayer that I may have the MINDSET of Paul so that my actions may gravitate toward gratitude.

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