“Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;”
2 Timothy 1:8
It’s interesting how people connect to stories. A person that has been through or going through a similar situation can always draw sympathy, understanding, and even courage through sharing their story! I’m always encouraged when I speak to people and they are sharing something I can identify with and learn from. Good stories however, are the stories of victory! Or as we say it the good versus the bad guys. Without triumph the story is….boring, depressing….pitiful. The BEST stories are stories that are relayed from an eyewitness, or someone connected to the story! To be able to say, “I was THERE,” or “I helped,” brings about a different level of impact when its YOUR TURN to tell the story of give your testimony.
Jesus Christ is the greatest story ever told! Born into this world, full of deity and humanity at the same time! The perfect balance of power and humility. Able to hear thoughts and also feel emotions. Imagine Him weeping at the loss of His friend Lazarus, then calling Lazarus from the cold tomb and clutches of death! Jesus was a rebel, avenger, and sacrifice all at ONCE!! Taking on the sins of mankind and publicly being put to shame JUST to show how SERIOUS his love is, and the lengths he would go to guarantee our salvation. And here is the reason why Paul instructs Timothy: Don’t be ashamed of the story/testimony of our Lord (Jesus). Why? It’s the greatest story ever told!
Paul also said in His instructions to Timothy: don’t be ashamed of me under incarceration, but join me in the story of Christ! What is the story of Christ? Afflictions lead to power!! The cross that made Him our Savior and Redeemer!! Paul understood, in order to identify with Christ, affliction would come into play. There has to be a knowledgeable decision, to ENDURE suffering, as Christ did, so that we can say…..I’M A PART OF THE STORY!
What is affliction?
This word affliction is used often in scripture, and in the Hebrew it mainly describes hurt, depression, evil, or something bad…..However, this word that Paul uses in the Greek means something different. Paul is referring to hardship, or suffering that has the ability to connects us to Jesus….AND HIS STORY!
AFFLICTION: Greek- TO SUFFER HARDSHIP IN COMPANY WITH someone!
Two benefits attached to affliction:
1.)Even thought its hard, Christ is with you-
-He said I will never leave you nor forsake you, His promises are His word and it never falls to the ground (many are the afflictions of the righteous, but GOD DELIVERS!)
-The testing is God-ordained, which means what you are going through is DESIGNED to bring you closer to Christ.
2.) The process brings us closer to Christ and helps us grow in Christ.
Revelation almost always seems to come with affliction. There is something God teaches us when we suffer with Him. We get to know Him in a more intimate way. His love story is servanthood, and affliction often develops Godly character.
-Afflictions are the road to power! God can’t trust us if we have not been tested.
(If you wanted to gain more muscle mass, one option to look into would be weightlifting. To build bigger muscles, they have to be stressed, or torn……that’s that soreness you feel after those first couple days….training your muscles, enables them to build a capacity for greater muscle mass.)
God has to stretch us to help us be more flexible, more usable….more open to what God wants to do!
Our senses then become enhanced, prayer life gets on fire, new levels of worship….and we see new levels of the power of God.
Paul basically told Timothy there is no shame in afflictions because that is the story our Lord and savior! Without the cross, none of us would have a hope in God. Sin would bring us ultimate death.
This testimony….is the greatest story ever told.
Be a witness…..
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