The apostle Paul says of God, “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (2 Timothy 1:9).
Every person who is “in Christ” is called by the Lord. And we all have the same mandate: to hear God’s voice, to proclaim his Word, to never fear man, and to trust the Lord in the face of every conceivable trial.
Indeed, God made this promise to his prophet Jeremiah when he called him (see Jeremiah 1:1-10). Like Jeremiah, we don’t need to have a message prepared to speak before the world. He has pledged to fill our mouths with his Word, at the exact moment it’s needed. But that will happen only if we trust him.
Paul tells us that many are appointed as preachers, teachers and apostles, and that they are all going to suffer for that reason. He counts himself among those: “I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For the which cause I also suffer these things” (2 Timothy 1:11-12). He was saying, “God has given me a holy work to do. And because I have that calling, I am going to suffer.”
Scripture shows that Paul was tested as few ministers have ever been. Satan tried to kill him time after time. The so-called religious crowd rejected and ridiculed him. At times even those who supported him left him abused and forsaken.
But Paul was never confounded before men. He was never dismayed or put to shame before the world. And Paul never did burn out. On every occasion, he had an anointed word to speak from God, just when it was needed.
The fact is, Paul simply wouldn’t be shaken. He never did lose his trust in the Lord. Instead, he testified, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Timothy 1:12). He is saying, “I have committed my life fully to the Lord’s faithfulness. Live or die, I am his.” And he urged his young charge Timothy to do likewise: “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (1:13).