One of the biggest struggles you might face this summer is the temptation to be ashamed of Jesus. I’m sure you know of the normal temptations you might face this summer. To drink too much, or to avoid Christian community, or even to begin an unwise summer relationship. The thing that fuels all of those struggles and make us willing to do things we wouldn’t normally do is our shame towards the gospel.
This past week, in a discussion about John Piper’s Future Grace, our group talked a little bit about being ashamed of the gospel. I don’t know that I have ever thought that it was something that I struggle with. But, as we talked more about it and I dug deeper, I saw it is something I’m prone to. For example: When people ask me about what I do, I often downplay it or make excuses for why I work for a church and a campus ministry. I’ll say lots of different things. The real estate market was down, so I decided to wait a couple of years before I get into it. Or I love doing music, and this is a great opportunity for me to play and get better. Although these aren’t in and of themselves bad reasons to do what I do, they leave out something. They leave out Jesus. It’s not that Jesus isn’t the reason that I do what I do. In fact, the other reasons are so secondary, and the only reason that I would consider doing ministry is because I care deeply about the gospel. But, there is something deep inside of me that doesn’t want certain people to know that.
Romans 1:16 says this: For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
He wasn’t ashamed of Jesus or the gospel. Even in times of intense persecution. Even when he was threatened with death and imprisonment, Paul went on preaching the good news of Jesus. Why? Because Paul knew that the gospel was the reason he is saved! And not only that, but he knew that the gospel had the power to save those around him, even those who persecuted him.
The only way to not feel ashamed of the gospel is by reveling in its power for you. Ultimately, that’s what Paul does. By looking at what the gospel did for him, Paul knew that there was no reason to be ashamed of it. As you go home, or to camp, or to a completely new city this summer, meditate on Christ’s work on the Cross for you. By doing this, you will be able to be more concerned with Christ than your own self-interest and be able to withstand the temptation to deny him with your actions and words.