How should a follower of Jesus live? I love how the apostle keeps this simple for us in his 2nd letter to Timothy, “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 2:1).
Notice that Paul doesn’t call us to be strong in ourselves. The answer to Timothy’s timid tendencies is not better self-esteem. According to what I hear from Paul, the resources I require to do the will of God do not come from within but from without. By every appearance, the Christian life doesn’t simply begin with grace, but it continues with, and depends upon grace daily.
Most followers of Jesus get that we begin the Christian journey by grace, but I fear that many, having begun the journey by grace then attempt to continue by their own efforts and strength. I’ve tried that route. It doesn’t work! Moreover, if I do the work by my own power, if I resist temptation by my own will power, then I get the glory……that’s not God’s design. Rather, we follow, we strive, and we work, fueled by the power God provides so that He gets all the credit (see 1 Pet. 4:11).
This is what I think Paul means when he says, “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
Paul says many more hugely helpful things in this passage of Scripture, and I’ve attempted to unpack them in the audio message embedded below.
This is encouraging stuff, Paul gives us. There is no candy-coat here though. The way of the Christian is challenging, to be sure, but those who choose it will find great reward. There is much to be gained when one abandons the road of self-sufficiency in favour of the road paved by grace.