{not ashamed} – The Power of the Gospel

Welcome to the first of our evening reflections! You can expect them on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and there will be a new reading and reflecting list on Sundays!

So, this week we are going to read the first three chapters of Romans…if you haven’t yet done that, go ahead and read Chapter 1 now!

Our first look is at verse 16 of chapter 1:

 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

 

3

 

The thing I remember most when I read this verse is a song by Delirious that was very popular when I first became a Christian!  It seemed at that time like an entirely straightforward confession. Yes I am a Christian. No I am not ashamed.

And as I sit here today, I cannot help but wonder how this changes as we grow and mature. Do we still say with the full confidence of Paul that we are not ashamed of the gospel? Do we even realise when we are acting in a way that could be synonymous with shame?

Let’s go back a few steps.  Rome at the time Paul was writing was a large, thriving city – a hub of some of history’s greatest architectural, artistic, poetic and philosophical achievements.  If you were to think of somewhere today that bears those same marks, what city immediately comes to mind?  Somewhere grand and imposing like London? Or somewhere vast and sprawling like New York?  Where are our modern day hubs of art, language, literature, philosophy and education?

If you’re anything like me, you might well love the rush and vastness of a city. Maybe your life is part and parcel of exactly such a place.  There are so many fantastic and awe-inspiring things to do and see in the world’s greatest cities.  But the one thing I would say, despite loving the visits to these tremendous places, is that they are also intimidating.  They are rush and busy.  They are rows of people on subway trains and layers of people in high rise buildings.  You are entirely unknown, a face in a crowd made up of oceans of people from every walk of life, background, ethnicity and belief system.

But my life – and maybe yours is similar – is on a far smaller scale.  I live on a small island in the North Atlantic – a good piece from any major city.  I live somewhere with relative safety and security and my need (or even ability) to travel to a city is limited.

Imagine how Paul must have felt with his longing to go to Rome to preach the gospel.

Of course, we are not all called to travel in this way.  We do not all have the same longing to visit the cityscapes and preach the gospel as Paul did with Rome.

But I suspect that we all have our own Romes to conquer.

We likely belong to churches where we know people and are known. We have relative security there. We can be safe and we can worship God and lift our hands every Sunday, listen to a sermon, fellowship with others, and we can leave again.

And we leave to go into our homes in communities, our jobs in offices, our classrooms in schools…we all live a day to day life where there are people in our immediate vicinity.  Some of those we happen upon regularly. Some of them we see in shops and out for walks. Some of them we chat with at the coffee maker, or sit with at a desk.

How often do we see these places as those we have a calling to be in? As the places where we have our chance to proclaim the gospel because we are not ashamed?

Not long after I became a Christian, I was taught quickly by those who aren’t that there is shame to be had in it.  Shame does not happen naturally unless we are taught that we have said, or done, or believed in something that is to be ashamed of.  And let’s be clear, there is a place for that! We should be ashamed of our sin; shame is our moral compass and those feelings that come when we realise our mistake, or shortcoming, help us realise that a change is due.  And while we do not need to bear the weight of our sin, because Jesus did that for us, we need that internal plumb line telling us when we have done something wrong.

With every eye roll, sarcastic comment, sigh and huff, joke to your face and joke behind your back, the dog of shame soon comes wagging its tail around your ankles, telling you to retreat.  After all look at what other people are thinking about you.

The world will teach us that we have something to be ashamed of when we believe in the power of the gospel.

If I am honest, it would sometimes be easier to go and stand in the middle of a large, bustling city where I am NOT known.

But!

We can have that same confidence that Paul had! We do not need to be ashamed. We do not need to hide our lights under bushels!

So how can we stand firm as Paul did? How can we, when the scoffers come, remember that we do not need to be ashamed?

  1. We remember the good news that Christ died for us
  2. We praise God for his power
  3. We thank Him for our salvation

 

Thoughts for Reflection

 

  • What can you do to remind yourself that Christ died for you, especially when you feel the world will laugh at or mock you?
  • How do you praise God, and what can you do to focus on His power?
  • In what ways can you make sure you don’t forget to remain thankful for what the gospel did for you?

 

Grace and Love

Helen x

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: