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Today as one of our readings, we look at 2 Timothy 1: 8-14:
8 Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, 12 and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him. 13 Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.
Today as I read scripture, I thought of the words of one of my mentors, he used to always tell me when reading scripture, pay attention to when you see the same thing repeated. This is God’s way of saying pay attention. Back then, they didn’t have highlighters, so God sometimes yells at us through the pages of the Bible – pay attention.
Today, I noticed in verse 8 this encouragement – do not be ashamed. Then again in 12 – I am not ashamed. I thought about what it means to be ashamed, especially not ashamed of the Gospel.
But here’s the thing, speaking at least in our context here in Mississippi, here in the south. We still live in a pretty culturally Christian place. It is not uncommon to go into stores and to hear Chrisitan music playing. It is not at all uncommon to say or hear said a blessing over food in restaurants. Our ball games still start with prayer. This is the water that we swim in here. And it is good. But, it can also be dangerous.
One of my favorite philosophers is the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard. One of his struggles was the Christian life lived out. I heard it attributed to him before the notion that the hardest thing to do is to be a Christian in the middle of Christendom. Or to put it like we would back in Bogue Chitto, when everyone is a Christian, then no one has to act like one.
Sometimes, around here, our Christianity is a safe one. We go through the rituals and the actions of our faith, but when was the last time our faith called us to do something deeper? Or different. When was the last time that our faith caused us to do something that we thought, oh goodness, they are going to think that I’ve lost my mind?
When was the last time that our faith caused us to do something that we thought may bring shame?
Does our faith affect how we spend money? Time? What we do? Say? Act?
Does our faith cause us to live in a way where we even worry about feeling a little shame from our neighbors? Paul tells us he does not feel shame because he knows who has have believed.
So do we. Today, live not ashamed.
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