“You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 2:1
Christianity faces numerous challenges today. Bible teaching is watered down, twisted, or disregarded altogether. Christians around the world suffer persecution for their faith. And new threats to Christian freedoms arise every day. No doubt, it’s a difficult time to be a follower of Jesus. But many similar issues already existed in the First Century. That’s why Paul’s encouragement to Timothy is still timely advice for 21st Century Christians.
In 2 Timothy 2:1, Paul tells his young protégé to be strong in the grace of Christ. It’s the same basic instructions he gave the church at Ephesus in Ephesians 6:10, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” You see, effective Christian service rests on God’s performance, not on human skill or strength. Believers must rely on His might in order to be strong in the grace of Christ. This requires stepping out in faith to possess all that God’s grace already provides.
First, we need a confident knowledge of God. Daniel 11:32 tells us, “The people that know their God will display strength and take action.” The more we know about God, the more it motivates and empowers us to act in His strength daily. Learning the names of God is a great way to begin. The Psalms reveal His nature by names such as, Mighty God, Lord of Host, God our Refuge, Rock, Deliverer, Defender, Healer, Helper, and Provider. As we grow in the truth of Who God is, we grow in faith as to what God does.
We also need a heart set on Christ. In Matthew 12:30, Jesus says, “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” A heart that is not intentionally set to know and serve the Lord defaults to thoughts and actions that do not please Him. Whereas, a heart set firmly on Christ never considers any option other than obedience to His Word. As the old hymn says, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”
So, when the Christian life seems difficult, remember Paul’s timely advice. Be strong; not in your own strength or skills, but in His might. The Lord will enable you to do all that He commands. And His grace is sufficient for every challenge.