I have never been in the military or places of extreme danger, but I have experienced moments in my life when “the Lord stood by me and strengthened me” (2 Timothy 4:17). I will never forget a serious car accident at the age of 19, or a terrifying hour in New Delhi, India six years ago. At both occasions, I literally cried out to the Lord for help and His presence, to which He responded with loving grace immediately.
Paul went through far more times like this that were much worse than anything I have ever experienced. Most of what Paul endured was because he was fearlessly proclaiming the gospel which was met with hostile forces that wanted him dead so his voice would be silenced. Paul says, “I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.” He knew why “the Lord stood by” him and why he was “rescued”, “So that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it.” There was a purpose to his life that had eternal consequences. Any risk was worth taking because Jesus and His message was worthy of every risk in getting it proclaimed.
I speak directly to those of us today who carry the precious gospel of God’s grace in Christ; what do you value more? Remember Paul’s words in Acts 20:24’ “I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself.” What Paul said to the Ephesian elders was exactly what he indicated to Timothy his spiritual son; “if only I may…testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”
With those values and that vision, Paul’s closes his final letter with, “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into His heavenly kingdom. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen!” (2 Timothy 4:18). What unshakeable confidence!
My readers, I ask that you stop right now and take inventory of what is most valuable in your life. Have you put the gospel and its eternal redeeming power above everything else in life? Do you carry it to the nations with the confidence that Paul had? You can – if you let the Spirit empower you!
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