Christians will suffer for Christ in some way in this life, but it is far better that one’s faith be marked by suffering than by shame at Christ or those who proclaim Him. Paul did not want Timothy to misunderstand his imprisonment. Paul understood who he served, and he was not ashamed. We can expect to face suffering and persecution just like Christ did. The glorious message of salvation is worthy of our suffering. God’s grace and purpose bring life. Obeying God is the central purpose of Christian lives. That obedience includes love, mercy, justice and caring for the poor. All of these involve giving and sacrifice.
Paul was confident in his mission, and he understood the importance of carrying out that mission. He knew that faith is not a one-time act, but something that includes the past, present and future. Because of his faith, he found strength instead of shame when he faced opposition and persecution.
The gospel must be guarded as a treasure. Its words are right, healthy and whole and must not be tampered with. If anyone thinks he or she can adequately watch over this gift, he or she needs to remember Paul’s words to Timothy, especially his instructions to rely on the Holy Spirit’s help.