It means Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed, the acronym AWANA. AWANA is a fantastic ministry that Karen and I had the privilege of being involved in for a number of years. The acronym comes from the verse 2 Timothy 2:15:
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
A worker who does not need to be ashamed…is that you? Is it me?
Am I unwilling to share the gospel of Jesus Christ because I am fearful of ridicule?
Am I unwilling to stand in the gap for Jesus Christ when the world says an action is okay but the Word of Truth clearly condemns it?
Why am I ashamed? Of what am I afraid?
Did you know that it is a sin to allow fear to keep you from sharing the gospel? I know, that little tidbit of truth was like being hit in the teeth with a two-by-four. The truth hurts sometimes. It is a sin because if the Bible tells us to do something or not to do something, and we disobey the teaching, then we sin. We are not given the option of not being fearful or ashamed of the gospel.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 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 1:7-12)
We love to quote 2 Timothy 1:7 but fail to include the succeeding verses. Verse 8 begins “Therefore” and whenever you find a “therefore” in the Bible you need to look at the preceding verses to see what it is there for!
Paul teaches in verse 8 that we are not to be ashamed of Jesus’ testimony or of His workers; we are EXPECTED to share in persecution for the sake of the gospel. Why? Well the “therefore” tells us first we were not given a spirit of fear. Secondly, because of the power of God that resurrected Jesus Christ from the dead and defeated death once for all and saved us, we have a holy calling. And we don’t get to choose our works that are comfortable to us or to serve in a way that fits our schedule and lifestyle. It is according to God’s good purpose and grace.
How do we overcome our fear of ridicule and quite possibly someday in America as in other places in the world, imprisonment or death? You need to be convinced and confident that your belief in and service for the Lord Jesus Christ He will keep until He returns. The Greek verb for “persuaded” in 2 Timothy 1:12 is peitho and it means “to have trust in; have confidence in.” It all comes down to faith.
So it all comes down to faith…do I have that kind of faith? Do you? Do your pastor, your elders, and your Sunday school teachers; do they all have that kind of faith? Does your church work to develop a biblical worldview in its members? Or is it of the “go along to get along” crowd.
Are we as Christians rightly dividing the word of truth when we are told and encouraged to vote for healthcare amendments that have an exception that will result in tax payer dollars paying for as many as 17,000 abortions a year? Would you willingly send your money to an abortion clinic to pay for even one abortion, much less 17,000 every year? If no, then why would we as Christians ever follow any Christian organization, belong to any church, or vote for any elected official who supports such murder?
It is because we are not using the spirit of power and of love and of a right mind; we are succumbing to a spirit of fear. Fear that is motivated of losing an election, a motivation that is caused by political pragmatism rather than personal piety and holiness. This comes from a wrong focus.
One of my favorite Keith Green songs (they’re all my favorites!) is “Make My Life A Prayer” and the chorus confesses:
Well I wanna thank you now
For being patient with me
Oh it’s so hard to see
When my eyes are on me
I guess I’ll have to trust
And just believe what you say
Oh you’re coming again
Coming to take me away
Jesus is coming again…why as an approved workman would I ever be ashamed of that truth? Because I all too often have my eyes on me.
I’ll leave you with the third verse from Keith’s song:
I wanna die and let you give
Your life to me so I might live
And share the hope you gave to me
The love that set me free
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Copyright © 2009 David Jeffers