Have you ever been ashamed of the Gospel? It's not something Christians like to admit, but we all have experienced this feeling at some point. Sometimes it's easier to hide our faith than to stand up to the pressure around us.
We may keep quiet when non-believers criticize Christianity or the church. We may back down from our stand on sin when someone calls us narrow-minded or judgmental. We may feel embarrassed when our godly lifestyle sets us apart from our peers.
Even Jesus' own disciple, Peter, suffered from this temptation to publicly hide his faith in the face of antagonism. After Jesus' arrest, Peter denied even knowing Him: "I don't know the man!" (see Matthew 26:69-75). But as we see in the book of Romans, once we fully understand the power of the Gospel, we will be less concerned about the approval of other people, and more concerned with living for God. Because the apostle Paul's identity was in Christ, he knew that being a "servant of Christ Jesus" (Romans 1:1) was an honor -- not a reason for shame.
Faith is not a one-time act, but something that encompasses past, present, and future.
Paul shares with us about this transforming power: "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: 'The righteous will live by faith'" (Romans 1:16,17).
Because of the Gospel, Paul was confident in his mission here on earth, and he understood the importance of carrying out God's purposes. He knew that faith is not a one-time act, but something that encompasses past, present, and future. Because of this sure foundation, Paul found strength instead of shame when he faced opposition and persecution.
Prayer: God, help me to be more concerned with Your approval than the approval of man. May I never be ashamed of the Gospel. Amen.
"And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day" (2 Timothy 1:11-12).