“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share in suffering for the Gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of His own purpose and grace, which He gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. 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 in us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.“(2 Timothy 1:8-14 ESV)
Have you ever been ashamed of being a Christian? That might sound like a strange question, so let me ask in a different way. Chances are that being a Christian has created differences in your life that other people notice and wonder about. For example, you may live on a lower income, because out of love for Jesus you are giving part of your money to support somebody in need. But that can result in raised eyebrows when you have the oldest car in the neighborhood, or when your child doesn’t have the same electronic gadgets that everyone else in school has. That can cause a real temptation to feel ashamed.
Or take another scenario. You may find yourself the only person at your work or in your group of friends who is not getting involved in some popular sin. Maybe you aren’t gossiping about the office grouch, or maybe you’re dating someone but not sleeping with them. And the people around you stare and think you’re weird! That can certainly lead to feelings of shame, even though you’ve done nothing wrong.
And then there’s the shame of being associated with what looks like the losing side! In Paul’s case, he was actually in prison for the sake of Christ. He had good reason to be concerned that Timothy might be ashamed of that.
But Paul is not ashamed, and he wants us to be free from shame also. Why? Because in spite of what the world thinks, we know what is actually good and important and true—and wonderful. We know that God has sent His only Son into the world to be our Savior, to live and to die and to rise again so that everyone who trusts in Him may become a child of God. We know that God gives His Holy Spirit to us, transforming us to be more and more like Jesus. As the psalmist says, we have tasted and seen that the Lord is good! (See Psalm 34:8.)
When we keep our eyes on the Lord and on how much He loves us, it stops bothering us when other people mock or ask questions or treat us like weirdos. Yes, we will stick out, and other people will wonder why we do what we do. But our eyes are on Jesus, and He is our joy and our hope. And who knows? In time, some of those who laugh at us now may begin to ask us about the hope and joy we have. Then they, too, might come to believe in Jesus.
Prayer: Lord, when I am tempted to feel ashamed or awkward about You, help me. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on September 28, 2022
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved
1. Tell about a time when your faith made you feel out of place.
2. How do you deal with those feelings?
3. What advice would you give a child who felt embarrassed or out of place as a Christian?