BE STRONG IN JESUS  (2 Timothy – 4)

READ: 2 Timothy 2:1

Having reminded Timothy of some important qualities he needed (zeal, courage and faithfulness), Paul began a list of 11 duties Timothy must carry out to be a godly pastor and leader.  The first duty is was the third exhortation Paul gave Timothy: be strong.  “You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:1).

Be strong” is a command, a must for all pastors.  The Greek tense in which it is written says it is something we receive, not something we must provide ourselves.  Strength doesn’t come from within us, it is something God gives us when we trust Him.  This command is in the present tense which means that we must always be letting God’s strength work in us.  I am naturally fearful and weak.  I have always needed God’s strength to stand for Him, correct those in error, keep going when criticized or travel to difficult locations.  I have been involved in spiritual ministry for 40 years and I need God’s strength to minister to people in bondage to demons.  I have learned, along with Paul, that the weaker I am the more clearly God’s power can be seen working through me (2 Corinthians 12:9-11).

Paul doesn’t just say we are to be strong.  And He doesn’t say we are to be strong in power, words, actions or abilities.  He says we are to “be strong in grace.”  Grace is the source of our strength.  As we grow spiritually, we become more aware of our need for grace and God’s provision of it.  When we walk in submission to His Spirit and follow His will, His grace (undeserved favor) fills us with all the wisdom, strength and guidance we need to do what He wants.

Growing in this is a life-long process.  Pastors and leaders still need to keep growing.  Some think that they have arrived at spiritual maturity because they are leaders, but that isn’t true.  Pastors are not exempt from the trials and temptations others face in life.  In fact, often we face more because we serve Him.  God uses the difficulties and problems of pastoring to cause us to trust Him more and lean on His grace more completely.  God did not remove challenges and hardships I faced in ministry; He has allowed them so I learn to trust Him more fully.  He wants all of us, like Paul, to learn that “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness(2 Corinthians 12:9).

God doesn’t need us to do His work.  He could get along very well without us.  But we need Him 100% to accomplish what He wants. He allows us the privilege of having a front row seat as we watch Him work through us.  It is His strength working in us that produces His results.  What He wants from us is our submission and service, done out of love.  He wants to have a personal, intimate relationship with us, not just a working relationship where we do things for Him.  He wants us to spend time connecting to Him and loving Him and experiencing His love.

We grow in His grace by spending time in His Word, listening to Him talk to us and talking to Him, worshiping Him, meditating on Him and His truth and by living for Him.  Are you doing that?  Are you growing in Him as His grace grows in you?

PAUL’S ADVICE: Allow God to work in you and through you by His grace so you can minister in His strength, not your own.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10  7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Are you becoming more aware that all the good that happens in your life and ministry comes from God?

Spend some time thanking Him for all He does in you and through you, giving Him the credit for it all.


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