As Paul continues to encourage, equip, and exhort Timothy in the challenges of pastoral ministry, we also get an insight into Paul’s personal spiritual life. His instruction doesn’t just come from his head, but from his heart. He has fully experienced what it means to live wholeheartedly for Christ, and to suffer for doing so.
In these verses Paul speaks about suffering for the gospel, as a “when”, not an “if”. He knew that anyone who faithfully steps out to do the Lord’s work, will have conflict with the enemies of God. We will be looking together at how sharing the gospel is such a “normal” expectation for the genuine believer, and that we shouldn’t be surprised when we suffer for doing this. There is only one way that a believer can stay strong, and maintain perspective when he or she suffers for the gospel. See if you can discover this in verse 12, and discuss with your family this primary way in which we as believers can live as unashamed followers of Christ, being fruitful and effective in our witness to others.