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2 TIMOTHY 4:17

But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.

One of my favorite verses in the New Testament is found in 2 Timothy 4:17. It is a verse which speaks assurance to us that we never have to face any difficulty or calamity in our lives standing alone. Our Lord is by our side.

When I read this verse, I might see me standing before someone in authority attempting to accuse me of a misdoing or breaking a law of man. That, I think may be the common understanding of Paul’s statement. However, in reality I see me being accused of believing in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. I see, not just myself, but all who are preachers, elders, deacons, all followers of Jesus Christ standing before the worldly judge accused of spreading the Gospel.

I am convinced that we can do nothing (at least nothing worthwhile and lasting) without Jesus Christ. He is our strength. He knows our suffering and He knows our joys. We are weak within ourselves and we can do nothing without His strength.

When we stand accused of serving a Savior we cannot see, He comes to our defense. And, as He does, our fear can be set aside. In place of the fear or intimidation He places boldness, presence of mind, courage, the ability to stand before our accusers.

Jesus stands with us as we proclaim His death, burial and resurrection as truth. It is only by the strength He gives us that we can boldly stand before our accusers and proclaim the message clearly so that it may be understood and accepted by anyone who might have scoffed at us for our belief.

Personally, one thing I quite often ask God to provide for me is boldness. Boldness to speak the truth (not my opinion, but the Truth) without concern that it may offend someone. It will offend, because the Gospel message pierces the minds of those who consistently reject Him.

Paul speaks of being delivered from the lion’s mouth as he refers to the trials he endured before the Roman courts. The world is the lion – the one who desires to destroy our faith and our love for our Lord. The Apostle Peter tells us about the evil of this lion. He encourages us in 1 Peter 5:8 - “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

Gary K Fair

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