For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. 2 Timothy 1:12
There is a lot of advice out there when it comes to finding success in life. One man may say that you must know yourself in order to find your way to the top. Others will say that you must know your competition in order to succeed. Sun Tzu the ancient Chinese military strategist said, “know your enemy and know yourself and you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.”
Certainly, there is great wisdom in understanding who I am and who my competition is, but most important of all, if I am going to truly find success in my life, then I must know who Jesus is. Yes, I must know who Jesus is for my salvation, but Paul is taking this beyond knowing God for salvation and my eternal destiny. I must really know Jesus and what He is doing in my life now. I must know His power, character, and activity that drives my every thought, word, and action. When I know these things, I gain godly boldness in my life. Boldness that can only come from God will play an enormous role in fulfilling God’s plan and purpose for my life.
Why did Paul do what he did? Why did Paul act with such boldness and tenacity in the face of great persecution? He truly understood the power of Jesus Christ on his life. His words to Timothy in verse 7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind,” speak of that which God has given each and every believer in his or her very soul. So what’s the problem? Why do I not move forward in my life with power and love and a sound mind or discipline.
Do we really want the answer? Probably not but here it goes anyway. I lack boldness because I don’t truly know Jesus. Oh, I know Him enough for my salvation and a ticket to heaven. But as far as an intimate knowledge of Jesus, I’m holding back. My flesh is strong and I like being in control. I like going to church, fellowshipping with other believers, hearing the preaching and teaching of God’s Word. But at the end of the day, I am still the god of my life. I don’t drink, smoke, use foul language, or anything like that, but I am still the god of my life and I refuse to change. I live in the fear of letting go of my ways, therefore I do not experience “power, love and a sound mind.”
I must be persuaded or convinced in my mind that what God intends for my life, He will do in my life. God will keep or guard that which I have decided to entrust to Him. I must come to grips with what brings my success. When I understand this success then I will gain a boldness that comes from God alone and changes my life. How do we gain this boldness?
Salvation: Success that comes from God is a success that will completely satisfy. Why could Paul be content in whatever state he was in (prison, hunger, cold, beatings). Because his success and attitude of success came from God. However, if I’m not a child of God then success will not come from God, but only from my limited efforts and when I fail in my efforts, then my boldness decreases. God takes the “least of these” and makes the very most of them. He makes them more than they could ever be without Him. Second Timothy 1:9 states that God saved us and then called us. In order to hear God’s calling on my life I must know Jesus Christ personally as my savior. I must admit that I am a sinner, repent of my sins and believe that Jesus died on the cross for me. I must believe that He was buried and arose the third day and in doing so conquered death. Death no longer has a grip in me. I understand that, yes, I will die a physical death here on this earth, but my soul will live eternally in heaven. Without salvation, there is no calling of God on my life. He certainly has one reserved for you if you’re not saved, but God will not reveal it to you until you become His child.
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be
conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be
the firstborn among many brethren.
Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called:
and whom he called, them he also justified:
and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
God had a plan and a calling for me before I was in my mother’s womb. It’s on reserve and waiting and it is glorious and tailor made to fit me perfectly. If you are not a child of God, what are you waiting for? Confess Jesus today as your Lord and Savior.
Salvation gave the apostle Paul boldness. When he pinned the words in Philippians 1:21, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain,” he understood that he was essentially bulletproof. Paul believed that no matter what happened in his life, he was going to win. If I serve God with all my heart and live, I win. If I serve God with all my heart and it gets me killed, I still win!
God intends for you and I to live for His glory and not ours.
Stephen was called to be deacon in Acts chapter 6. We know that a deacon’s job is to wait tables and serve the widows of the church. Stephen’s job cost him his life as he died preaching the gospel and giving glory to Jesus. James (the brother of John) was an apostle whom Herod killed with the sword in Acts chapter 12. However, Peter was also imprisoned by Herod to be murdered, yet his life was spared by God through an angel. Why did Peter live, but James did not? Only God knows the answer, but both men were fulfilling their God-given calling.
For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.
I don’t know if these men were afraid of death and I don’t believe they set out to die, but they understood the bigger picture—death has no sting for the child of God. Live fully for God and let Him take care of the future.
I love the boldness that Paul expresses in 1 Corinthians 15:53-58 that directly applies to each and every Christian today.
“53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
We can press forward in rock solid boldness and steadfastness knowing that death is conquered and my mortality has put on immortality. I can move forward in a supernatural confidence that has nothing to do with me and everything to do with Jesus.
Commitment. Paul stated in 2 Timothy 1:12, “for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
If God saves and then calls me to works that He promises to do through me according to His power and grace, then what is my role?
My role is commitment!
Don’t think for a minute that exploring and living out God’s plan for my life is easy. It’s hard! It will be the hardest thing I will ever do. Why? Because I have to completely surrender my will and desires that are flesh driven and commit to God’s ways and purposes.
Galatians 5:17 reminds us, “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
I will NOT do the things that I would and should be doing if I am not committed to complete surrender to God and walking in the Spirit. There is only one alternative to walking in the Spirit and that is walking in the flesh. There is no middle area. There is no compromise in God’s economy. I am either walking with God or I am walking according to my flesh.
I must choose.
Let’s stop right here and talk about this word commitment. What does it mean? In our context here it means to entrust, a deposit, or to be held firmly and faithfully, and to be conscientiously delivered unto others. Practically speaking it is something I do no matter what. If I commit to something, then it is no longer a matter of convenience. It does not matter how I feel, how tired I am, or what my circumstances are, I am committed no matter what. I have made the deposit, entrusted my life to God and will faithfully and firmly stick to my decision.
Commitment cannot be about convenience!
How often do I hear people say, “I’m committing to church and my Bible,” but as soon as things get tough or things don’t go their way I never see them again. Why? They committed to convenience, not to God.
When I commit to God and His ways the battle will rage each and every day inside of me to move ahead of God. I will think that things are not moving fast enough. The money is not coming in quick enough. Other people’s actions and decisions are not going my way.
Resist the temptation to act in the flesh!
First Timothy 1:12 reminds us that suffering is part of fulfilling God’s plan for our lives. Paul states that it was for the cause of God’s calling and purposes in his life that he suffered many things in his life. Suffering in general usually brings us down and draws us away from pursuing great things. But when my life and purposes are committed to God, then the opposite can happen. Suffering and pain become catalysts that launch me forward not backward. God moves me up and out through pain, suffering, and trials. We don’t typically grow nor are we strengthened outside of these things.
In these verses Paul states, For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
Paul took notice that the suffering was not cause for shame and discouragement which eventually lead to giving up, but rather these were for his own good and therefore he was committed. Paul had to make up his mind that no matter what, he was going to stick with God’s plan. Paul came to the point in his life where he understood that suffering for God was a privilege and not punishment; it was and is an honor to suffer for God. That must be our mindset in contrast to our American Christianity of ease, comfort and convenience. We must commit it all to Jesus—our lives, our bodies, our thoughts, our results, our desires, our reputation, our character, and anything that we find value in we must commit to God.
Many times when I commit to something it is for a period of time. Perhaps I commit to losing weight or reading a book that will cease when the goal is reached. In the case of committing to Jesus, this is a lifetime commitment. Paul stated that he committed unto him against that day. What day? The day that Paul meets Jesus.
Paul makes a similar statement in Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” My commitment is forever. My commitment has no expiration date. One day I will stand before the King of kings and the Lord of lords and I want that day to be precious and it will only be as precious to the degree that I commit my life to Him.
Do you know whom you believe in and are you truly committed? If so, then God will give you the boldness to press forward in the plan that He has for your life.