7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
8 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, 9 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, 10 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, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, 12 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 me2 Timothy 1: 7-12
While walking through Wal-Mart, searching for my sister, I saw this lady in one of those store-provided scooters. No thoughts of prayer were even crossing my mind. I only had one goal, find my sister. Yet, when I saw her, I thought pray for her. I kept walking, sure that I had conjured up the thought myself, until I began to get sick at my stomach, like someone was squeezing my insides. Gut-wrenching as my sister says.
I sought God. Asked Him what I needed to do, and I sought advice from my sister. The conclusion was obvious. Pray for her, right there in the middle of Wal-Mart, in the greeting card section, pray for her.
I fought God for a minute, sure that He wasn't really telling me to go pray for her. But, He was serious, and I was going to obey.
I asked her if she minded that I pray for her, and she shook her head, obviously she was uncertain about some crazy girl walking up to her in the middle of Wal-Mart saying God wanted me to pray for her.
So, I prayed for her, unable to find the words. I babbled, feeling incompetent and stupid, and all I could think to say was be with this woman and whatever need she has, whether she knows it or not. So that's what I prayed.
And you know what? After that prayer, she hurried away from me, riding that scooter as fast as it could take her without a word. And even though that's a hilarious image, the fact remains that, she thought I was insane. Heck, I felt insane.
I immediately began to doubt myself. Did God even tell me to pray for her? If so, why me? Why did I have to be the one whose words were nervous and silly sounding, pray for her? Surely someone else could've done it. Someone better with spoken words than me.
No. That wasn't the case. I may have acted like a bumbling fool, but God wanted me to do it. I don't know why. Only He does, but I obeyed Him. I could've ignored Him, ignored the woman who needed something, but I chose not to. Why? Because I don't want my Father hurt because I disobeyed His commands. But not only that, God has so many things in store for us if we OBEY His voice!
For instance, Exodus 19:5 states, "Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine;"
To be God's treasured possession. Just think about that. If we obey God, if we listen to His commandments, we will be treasured among the peoples, among the earth. Can you imagine the favor we would be getting for just listening to God and doing what He wants us to do? Really. Just imagine what He will do for us that we cannot do for ourselves, the doors that will be opened just by obeying.
In fact, I can give you an example of just what God will do for you simply by obeying Him. Read Deuteronomy 28. In that chapter is listed blessings you will receive just by obeying God. And then, it lists the curses that will befall you if you don't obey God.
Deuteronomy 28: 13
And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you shall only go up and not down, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, being careful to do them,
That is just ONE example of what God will do for us if we obey Him.
Now, what happens when we DON'T obey God?
Your life shall hang in doubt before you. Night and day you shall be in dread and have no assurance of your life.
Not only does this hang over us if we don't obey God, but why should we be ashamed for being a Christian? To listening to God? God sent His Son to die for me, for us. So why should we push Him aside because we don't want people to know we're Christians?
And why don't we want people to know we're Christians? That we're the heirs of God? I want people know to that I'm a Jesus Junkie! I want people to know that God is my Savior because without Him, I would be a nobody, I would be lost and in sin. I don't want that life. I want this one! I want to be one of God's treasured possessions!
My dad preached a sermon once about being ashamed of the gospel. Here's what he said:
When I was about to ignore God's command and push it aside as my thought instead of God's, I thought of this sermon.
The apostles went through so much more than strange stares and hurried escapes. They died. People still die in the name of God, missionaries and Christians in countries where Christianity is against the law. And we're afraid to walk up to someone and say, "Hey, Jesus loves you." Where is the justice in that? How can we not see that we're the ones in the wrong for ignoring and being ashamed of the gospel and what Jesus has called us to do, share His Word?
I know it's not easy. I fought this. People fight it and ignore it all the time, but I'm stepping out here and saying, don't be ashamed. Please. God will lead you where you need to be at the moment you need to be there, and He will tell you what to say. Just listen to his guidance.
For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.