“You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 2:1
Strong in grace. Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? “Strong” refers to athletes and body builders and soldiers and….Christians? Strong isn’t exactly the first word I think of when I consider my faith. In fact, weak would probably better describe it, which I believe puts me in the perfect position to be strong (2 Corinthians 12:9).
I love that Paul said strong IN GRACE. I can be strong in my own strength, strong in faith, strong in good works, strong in giftedness- but that’s not the point. Without grace, my strength is nothing. There is nothing stronger than admitting that you can’t do it so that God can. And the moment you do that, you welcome power beyond anything you can muster yourself. “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
Power from the Holy Spirit gives us the strength to press on.
“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:10)
Right after Paul instructs Timothy to be strong in grace, he also encourages him to teach others what he has learned and to make disciples (2 Timothy 2:2). The grace God gives us isn’t for selfish means. His grace is enabling – it allows us the opportunity to extend that same grace to others. Only God’s grace can be so strong and selfless.
As a result of being grace-strong, you will be treated so. “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3). Paul doesn’t sugar-coat the message for Timothy. I love that he tells it like it is! Grace isn’t a way of life that leads to Easy Street, it’s a way of life that equips us to endure hardship for the sake of the Gospel. Our strength should cause others to look on and say, “How does she do that?!”
And our answer should be….”No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.” (2 Timothy 2:4) As a soldier of Christ, it is both my duty and delight to fix my heart solely on Him. When I am set on His goodness and grace, I don’t allow room for the other junk to creep in and distract me in the midst of warfare.