"So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God." NIV translation
Paul continues to encourage Timothy to stand strong in the faith through the power of the Holy Spirit. We may wonder about what Paul was talking about when he urged him to not be ashamed of the "testimony about our Lord". This is speaking of the fact that Jesus Christ was nailed to a cross on our behalf. To many people (including the Jewish people) this is a stumbling block because it is looked at as a sign of weakness. Paul goes on to say that Timothy should not be ashamed to be associated with Paul because of the fact that he was in prison in Rome awaiting his execution. Instead, Paul urges him to embrace the suffering that is soon to come for Timothy and he reminds him that it is only through the strength from our confidence in God that it is possible.
In our world today (even among many Christians), the idea of being persecuted like Paul or Jesus is a foreign concept and we often wonder why this is so. The answer is pretty simple in that many come to faith with the idea that, once they make the decision, everything is going to be easy and that everyone will embrace them. That is not the biblical pattern and we see this in the connection between confidence, persecution, and courage. As we saw before, our confidence in God will cause us to stand up and stand out (be different). This difference (non-conformity) will bring persecution from those that do not know Jesus as well as many within "church" walls. The purpose of this persecution is to get others to conform to the standards of a certain group. As we see with Paul's words to Timothy, we have the courage to face this pain or grief because of the strength that we have gained through trusting in the Lord.