Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ ... /1 Timothy 1:1/
Paul often referred to himself as ‘an apostle by the will of God,’ (1 Corinthians 1:1, 2 Corinthians 1:1, Ephesians 1:1, Colossians 1:1). In this case, however, he says, ‘It’s not just His will for me, it’s His command that I am to be an apostle — one who is sent out, one who shares truth.’ The things that we have been commanded to do can sometimes become wearying when we find ourselves in situations we weren’t anticipating — like prison. After all, it was from a Roman prison cell that Paul wrote to Timothy. And in this, I am reminded of another who found himself a prisoner ... ‘Oh, Lord, I cannot speak. I am but a child,’ Jeremiah protested when called to minister (Jeremiah 1:6). ‘Before you were born, I knew you and ordained you to be a prophet,’ the Lord replied. ‘I will put My words on your lips — and you shall go,' (Jeremiah 1:5,9)
So Jeremiah did. And what happened? He eventually ended up in a dungeon. ‘Okay, Lord,’ he said. ‘Yes, You commanded me. Yes, You anointed me. But people aren’t responding. No one is getting saved.’ So Jeremiah decided to quit prophesying, to quit sharing — until he realized that the Word of God was like fire in his bones and that he could not keep quiet (Jeremiah 20:9). Maybe like Jeremiah, or perhaps like Paul, you feel imprisoned and are tempted to throw in the towel, to quit sharing the Gospel with people since none seem to respond. But if you do, the Word of God will burn in your heart as surely as it did in Jeremiah’s, and, like Paul, you will realize you have no choice in the matter, for you are under the command of God.
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