----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Rob Smith <email@example.com>
Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 7:20 AM
Subject: the high calling
As believers we must first win a battle within ourselves before we can fight the good fight for the Gospel. We can expect a great resistance to well up within when we have come into saving faith. The ancient enemy wants to keep us self contained and not "out there" sharing the great truth of freedom and salvation in Christ. The apostle Paul dealt with this subject in his final letter to the young disciple, Timothy. Paul tells Timothy that he has been praying "night and day" for him in constant prayer. And it seems that the point of those prayers was that Timothy would be bold to share the Gospel! He tells Timothy that when he is fearful of telling others about Christ, that fear has not come from God, who is the source of "power and love and self control". He reminds Timothy that a gift has been given him spiritually to equip him for this work and this gift is to be used! He exhorts Timothy in chapter 1, verse 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." It's interesting that Paul doesn't offer an easy way or a pain free path and, in fact, calls Timothy to suffer. He's being called to the battle. But it is the high calling. Paul also reminds Timothy that the reason he must step out in faith is because (verse 9):" (the Father) saved us and called us to a holy calling...which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began...through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel."
Paul encourages Timothy that the bottom line motivation he uses in his own life is his personal relationship with Jesus (verse 12): "But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me." As Timothy steps out to the battle and responds to the call Paul tells him the battle plan in verses 13 and 14. He tells him to "follow the pattern of the sound words" that Paul has taught him...to walk "in faith and love that are in Christ Jesus" and to draw on the power of the Holy Spirit ("who dwells within us").
Before we can do battle for the gospel we must win the battle and respond to the high calling.