Minister of Women
Follow the pattern of the sound[a] 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 1:14
As a follower of Christ one of the most important things we are charged to do is to protect the Gospel. 2 Timothy 1:14 instructs us, 'By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you." How do we guard the Gospel? Four ways come to mind.
Be Unashamed of our Faith
In 2 Timothy 1:8 Paul urges Timothy to be unashamed of Christ and the gospel and to join him in suffering for the faith. There is a great social pressure today to compromise our biblical views. Proverbs 29:25 says "the fear of people becomes a snare." Yet we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to be bold with our words, to show love to those who criticize, and to live out a life of holiness for others to witness. Through the Spirit we can stand up against persecution and guard the good deposit entrusted to us.
Paul was never ashamed of his faith, his trust in Jesus never swayed. Paul said: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes." And this commitment to the gospel never diminished. Paul’s last words include “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." The word translated "kept" means "to keep by guarding, to watch over." To the end, Paul modeled the importance of being unashamed of our faith.
Knowing the Genuine Article
Knowing God's word empowers us to discern the counterfeits. Timothy was one step ahead in knowing God's word better than most as he was taught the Word of God by his mother and grandmother. He then was discipled by Paul and served with Paul in ministry for years. Even though Timothy knew the Word of God and was well equipped, Paul tells Timothy that he needed to be diligent in the study of the word and in rightly dividing the Word of truth. Surely Timothy realized the importance of knowing God’s word and to distinguish it from false doctrine.
Share The Gospel
In 2 Timothy 1:13 Paul tells Timothy to be vigilant in teaching and preaching the gospel and that his teaching should be reflected by a life that has been transformed by the gospel. The early Christians took this command seriously and they let nothing stop them - not fear or persecution, and the gospel spread because they refused to stop! We must honestly ask ourselves how determined are we? We must continue the call both to share and live the gospel. This is discipleship in its purest form. Sharing the gospel is not about trying to convert people to Christianity, that is the work of the Holy Spirit, but in sharing and living the gospel we partner with the Holy Spirit in that work.
Discipleship is a relationship that provides an opportunity to share the gospel and to exercise the 3 ways above to guard it. It is an honor to teach someone how to apply the gospel to their lives and to witness the transformation it produces. Making disciples keeps us anchored to God’s Word. And working with a disciple provides a perfect opportunity to encourage your disciple to boldly share the gospel and fulfill the Great Commandment to "therefore go and make disciples of all nations."
If we are confident in the truthfulness of the gospel, and depend on the power of the Holy Spirit to know it, to live it and to share it, we can guard the good deposit entrusted to us.
Prayer: Dear Lord, You have entrusted me with something of utmost importance - your Word and the responsibility to share it with others. Help me understand the gravity of your words. Provide the daily opportunity to study it and to see how it can help me to be a reflection of you. And give me the courage to use it, share it and protect it.