Monday, December 29, 2014

Passion shows up in many ways . . .


A woman at the table next to us “never stopped talking.” Another person my husband saw at a hotel breakfast room the next day “never stopped talking.” This phrase came to mind when I read this passage of Scripture because the translators actually had to create several sentences out of the original. Apparently, the author (Paul) barely stopped to breathe, never mind put in any sentence breaks.

I’m thinking he was excited. At least that is what happens to me when I am passionate about something and start talking. Some of his letters were dictated to a secretary, but this one seems from his own hand. He never stopped writing long enough to add a few breaks or take a breath.

“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 within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.” (2 Timothy 1:8–14)

The mind of a Christian ought to be like Paul’s mind in some ways. While personality will flavor it, some details of this passage tell me how this man thought, the way I should think, and the way that Jesus Christ thinks.

First, the mind of Christ is never ashamed of the Gospel or of those who believe it, even if believing lands them in jail as it did Paul. The implications for my own life are broad. Would I go to jail for being a Christian?

Second, the mind of Christ is willing to suffer for the sake of the Gospel and the testimony of Christ, even suffer with others who are persecuted in this way. That is, I should never turn the other way when anyone is mocked or harmed for believing in Jesus. Hundreds of Christians are murdered every day for believing in Jesus. Am I willing to suffer with others?

Third, the mind of Christ inserts the Gospel into conversation wherever possible. Paul was passionate about the truth. He preached it and it landed him in jail, but he preached it even as he explained how preaching it landed him in jail! The Gospel was his reason for living. What is my reason?

Fourth, the mind of Christ is convinced of the care of God and not at all worried about what God has entrusted to him. God will give all that is needed to perform whatever He asks of His servants, including the task of sharing the Gospel, even in the face of opposition. Am I convinced?

If my mind is not like this, then my mind needs to be changed!

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