“I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.” 2 Timothy 1:12
Many people today are unashamed for doing wrong, while shaming Christians for doing right. Why does the world play the shame game? Because it works! The more biblical beliefs are ridiculed and penalized, the quieter many of us become. Are you hesitant to speak your beliefs in today’s cultural climate? Paul’s advice to Timothy shows us how to avoid playing the shame game.
First, don’t be intimidated by criticism. Someone, somewhere will object to you living out your faith in Jesus Christ. Criticism is just part of life. Yet, a negative comment has no power over you unless you give it power. “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline” (v7).
Secondly, don’t be afraid of persecution. Remember, Paul wrote this letter while under arrest for preaching the gospel. When you take a stand on biblical beliefs, those who object might take action. But you cannot live in a spirit of fear while walking in the Spirit. Paul urged Timothy, “do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God” (v8).
Paul’s confidence was not in what he believed, but in whom he believed. He refused to play the shame game because Jesus had transformed his life. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). Like Paul, we don’t follow a creed for a certain way of life; we follow the One who changed us. The world makes the conversation about Christians and what we believe, but the gospel is a conversation about Jesus.
You don’t have to play the shame game. The key to having Paul’s boldness is confidence in Christ, “and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day” (v12). Jesus gives us the power to achieve what He calls us to do. Living in the constant awareness of what He has done and is doing on our behalf changes everything, regardless of the outcome.