For this reason, I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.
2 Timothy 1:12
Guided by the Spirit, Paul reminds us of his confidence. But his confidence was not in ‘what’ he believed, but rather in “whom.” Think of it— dungeon entombed below the floor in a dark, dripping cell, awaiting his execution, seemingly forgotten and ignored… cast-off to the world. How was he able to keep such a high perspective, writing a letter which inspires, and instructs the church two thousand years later on the other side of the world?
Certainly, Paul knew ‘what’ he believed as well as any Christian to have ever lived—after all, he was the author of 14 of the 27 New Testament books. But the stress is on the “whom”(not ‘what’) he has believed in, and continues to believe in. There is no wavering, no doubt, just profound confidence of perpetual faith and confidence in his relationship with his God, and God’s goodness for him.
Jesus said, “I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.” Doing the will of His Father was the one dominating concern throughout our Lord’s life. Be it joy or sorrow, success or failure (in the eyes of man)… even the cross, nothing deterred Him from that purpose.
Natural life thrusts ambitions upon us–we are often consumed to fulfill them. In the Christian life we ultimately have no goals of our own, rather it is fulfilling the will of God. This can be difficult to accept, and yet there is such tremendous freedom in realization of a fulfillment to a ‘whom’ as opposed to a ‘what’. We very likely have no idea what God’s goal may be. We may even consider that God’s aim for us seems to have missed the mark… but this is only because we are too nearsighted to see the target for us which is in His sight.
At the beginning of the Christian life, we have our own ideas as to what God’s purpose is. We say, “God is leading me into this or that…God has called me to do this or that.” We do what we believe to be right, and yet we may have no idea of the much greater plan God has for us and His people. With maturity in one’s walk with God, comes the realization of the Psalmist in 119:67—that God is good and only does good!
Some good verses to give consideration of (from the J.B. Phillips N.T.):
We also pray that your outward lives, which men see, may bring credit to your master’s name, and that you may bring joy to His heart by bearing genuine Christian fruit,
and that your knowledge of God may grow yet deeper. Col. 1:10
Now the God of peace, who brought back from the dead that great shepherd of the sheep, our Lord Jesus, by the blood of the everlasting agreement, equip you thoroughly for the doing of His will! May He effect in you everything that pleases Him through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Heb. 13:20-21
It is our aim, therefore, to please Him, whether we are “at home” or “away”. II Cor. 5:9