May 20: not ashamed

I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God that brings salvation to evveryone who believes (Romans 1:16)

For Paul, this verse contained the central message of his letter to the Roman Christians. Unlike the other letters that he wrote, Paul never met the recipients of this letter. Therefore he could not address specific issues related to the church in Rome. So, maybe this verse has extra significance for me, because Paul never met me either.

Am I ever ashamed of the gospel? To be ashamed is to have a feeling of shame, guilt, or disgrace. I’ve had those feelings. To be ashamed is to feel inferior or unworthy. I know what that feels like. But related to the gospel? The gospel is the message that Jesus is risen from the dead, then letting that message live within me and transform my life. I’m ashamed to admit that I have been ashamed. I have not lived up to what I know God is calling me to be and to do.

But in this verse from Paul, I also hear an invitation to move beyond being ashamed and claim the power of the gospel. There is power in finding and claiming. Later today, I will return home after a wonderful week of prayer, scripture and reflection. There is something especially renewing for me to be able to spend this time at the beach, walking and listening to constant sound of the waves. In this morning’s walk, I found a sand dollar that had washed ashore during the night. It was the first one that I saw this week. I felt like I had found a treasure. I claimed it. The experience of finding and claiming added something to my day.

Each morning, I begin with scripture. By reading and reflecting on these timeless truths and allowing God to bring these truths to life within me, that’s power. Each day, I am looking for a treasure. I plan to be faithful throughout the day, but I don’t know what the rest of today will bring. But in this moment, at the start of this new day, I am claiming this treasure: “I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.”

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