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A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

ThinkstockPhotos-181713957“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” - 2 Timothy 2:8-10

 When you are weighed down by life, do you lack the courage to trust the Word of God? In the midst of struggles, do you need to be reminded that it is the power of the Gospel that changes peoples’ lives and makes a difference even in the darkest of circumstances? A godly older woman in my life, who is a great help to me when I face discouragement, will ask me, “Where are your eyes right now, Lisa?” My answer is often, sheepishly, “On me, and on my circumstances.” To which she gently replies, “And where should they be?” She and I both know that the best place for us to have our eyes is on the Lord.
But when we look to God in hard circumstances what things are important for us to see? Paul’s second letter to Timothy helps us answer this question. Paul encourages Timothy to persevere in the face of suffering for the following reasons:

1. Jesus Christ is risen! Paul wants Timothy to consider Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus’ victory over the grave reminds us that death does not have the final word. In our darkest days, we can know, “If we have died with Him, we will also live with Him” (2 Timothy 2:11). Our present suffering will not have the final word. The Bible tells us how the story ends! Jesus’ ascension to the right hand of God the Father means we will one day reign triumphant with Him. Jesus’ crucifixion on a Roman cross has granted us forgiveness, and spiritual life forever!

2. Paul is an example.
Paul does not promise Timothy an easy journey. In fact, Paul invites Timothy to “share in suffering” (2 Timothy 2:3). Paul uses the imagery of a soldier, an athlete, and a hard-working farmer to describe the Christian life. These vocations evoke pictures of toil, sweat, great sacrifice, and in the case of the soldier, risk of death. But Paul sets a remarkable example for Timothy by joyfully and willingly embracing suffering.

3. God’s word is not bound! Paul writes to Timothy from prison, knowing the time is close at hand when he will be put to death, martyred for his faith in Jesus Christ. And yet, the very next thing he says is “But the word of God is not bound!” Paul may be bound, and soon killed, but he knows God’s Word will continue to go forth unchained. After more than 2,000 years of people trying to prevent the Gospel message from being spread, God’s Word continues to do its work in our lives and our hearts! Paul and many of the other disciples who founded the early church were persecuted and put to death, but that has not stopped their cause. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is, was and always will be “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16)!

We serve the kind of God who loves us so fiercely, with such great might, and power, that no one can thwart His plans in all of history! Today, as you fast, think over what Paul has said, so that you may find the encouragement you need to overcome your hunger pangs, the Lord’s refreshment in your circumstances, and hope to buoy your soul! 

Lisa Jeffrey
Ministry Fellow at Princeton
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