“But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.” (2 Timothy 1:12b-14)
As Paul wrote his final epistle to his good friend Timothy, he wrote with a sense of urgency. He wanted to send some final words of encouragement to exhort him to uphold the truth of the gospel in the face of persecution, suffering, slander, false accusations, dishonest and deceitful teachers and faithless and quarrelsome brethren. Paul was concerned with the continued transmission of the gospel of truth and Timothy’s role in it. He did not want his friend to become depressed or discouraged by Paul’s suffering or even his own. Paul reminded Timothy that his faith and calling were from Christ, rooted in the steadfast faith of his mother and grandmother who trained him in godliness, led him to Christ, and nurtured his pastoral calling. Timothy must not fear but have faith. He must trust God to supply him with all he needed to carry out the ministry of the gospel.
As we look at the events of modern times, we saints might tend to become discouraged. We see the triumph of the wicked on every hand, and endure our own suffering from illness, financial hardship or persecution. Those whose faith is insincere, who came to Christ thinking that it would be easy or financially and socially rewarding are under the impression that suffering is not part of the victorious Christian life. These either fall away from the truth into total unbelief and immorality or adopt the lies of the gospel of health and wealth. Those whose faith is firmly rooted in Jesus will be upheld in the truth by the Lord. The Holy Spirit will enable them to see that suffering and loss of material possessions are not things to be ashamed of but are the means the Lord uses to enable His kingdom, and us, to grow.