Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Romans 1:8-17 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: When I was a kid, my dad loved to go skiing. When I was barely old enough to walk I already had my first teeny tiny pair of skis. I still remember wearing them and scooting my way around the carpet in our living room. It was great! Well, at least it was great until we went to the mountain and I had to wear snow gear. Not just any snow gear—I was dressed in a purple one piece snowsuit. Even though I was only a child, I had enough fashion sense to know that I looked like Barney. I did not love that snowsuit, and it did not love me.
To make matters worse, I was dropped off at a day camp for kids who were learning how to ski. I was always noticed because I was the shortest and smallest in every class, but when I waddled in like a big marshmallow Peep, I felt humiliated. I know I might seem like the most vain four-year-old ever, but to me it was a huge deal. I felt like any time I fell, all eyes were on me. I was embarrassed all day long.
Today we read the verse about “not being ashamed of the Gospel,” with ease. Why would we be ashamed? But when this letter was written, following a man who had died the death of a criminal and was reported to have been raised to life again wasn't something the average person wanted to boast about.
Paul speaks with confidence that he is not ashamed of the Gospel, and he is not ashamed because it is "the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” When you realize the incredible power of what the Gospel means for your life and for the lives of others, you should be anything but ashamed.
Looking back on that puffy snowsuit, I’m thankful for it. During these cold Colorado winters, I sometimes long for it! Our innocence, and sometimes ignorance, can stop us from seeing the true power of things like a warm snowsuit or the miracle of the Gospel, and it can hinder us from sharing these things with others as well.
When you think of your life spent following Jesus, you shouldn’t feel ashamed but rather feel the power of salvation throughout your life.
Recalibrate: Have you ever felt ashamed of your faith?
Respond: Thank God for the incredible power of the Gospel and ask for the courage to share it with those around you.
Research: Why would the Gospel be something to be ashamed of during Paul's time?
Remember: I am not ashamed of the Good News. It is the power God uses to save everyone who believes—to save the Jews first, and then to save the non-Jews. (Romans 1:16, ICB).
Jessyka Albert is associate pastor at Boulder Adventist Church with a special responsibility for children's ministry. She is a native of Washington State and a graduate of Union College. Jessyka is known for her passion, energy, and fun-loving approach to sharing the gospel in creative ways.
Check out God Is So Good. Sing this with your little ones as you go about your day.
God sets up the best adventures for us and He waits to see if we want to be a part of them. Say thank you for your adventures. When someone asks you why you do good things for annoying people, just say “That’s what love does. Jesus taught me that.”
So let’s bring it back and put it all together. Perhaps Paul's confidence in God’s power to save—this concept of small trust (faith) leading to big trust (faith)—could be understood through David’s example of being obedient and intentional with the small tasks. What would it look like to trust God with the small things? What would it look like to recognize that God often doesn’t give us the full picture with all the answers at once but rather gets us close in order for us to fully depend on Him for the rest? The Greek word Paul uses for “power” is the same word we have for dynamite. If you’re walking around with dynamite, I'm pretty sure you’d have confidence. According to Paul, the Gospel is the power of dynamite. May we never miss the opportunity to partner with God for something crazy huge we've likely never imagined!