On Being Strong

“You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” II Timothy 2: 1 & 3

Who are we that we should think that we alone should be exempt from hardship? Everyone, repeat everyone, experiences them. No one wants them and everyone would like to avoid them. Yet, God allows all of us to experience them. Therefore, there must be some lesson disguised in each. Often the reason why isn’t answered until some time later. The time of waiting on the Lord for the answer often draws us closer to the Lord than the actual answer.

In seeking an answer be sure you are asking the right question. Instead of “why” consider asking “how.” That is, “Lord, now that this has happened how can it make me more like you?”

Twenty-five times in this one Bible Book we are encouraged to be strong and to continue in the strength of Jesus, not give up. That hints in itself that the warfare believers are in is intimidating.

Persons tempted to give up need to be mindful that conditions in Satan’s POW camp are not pleasant.

We, like Timothy, are exhorted to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. We must stir up ourselves to do it, and strengthen ourselves for it. Being strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus may be understood in opposition to the weakness of grace. As our trials increase, we need to grow stronger and stronger in that which is good; our faith stronger, our resolution stronger, our love for Jesus stronger. This must be understood in opposition to our being strong in our own strength: “Be strong, not confiding in your own sufficiency, but in the grace that is in Jesus Christ.” (II Corinthians 3: 5)  “Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” (Ephesians 6: 10) When Peter promised to die for Jesus rather than deny Him he was strong in his own strength. Had he been strong in the grace that is in Jesus, he would have kept his commitment later after Jesus’ arrest when he denied Him three times.

It is said, “He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might, He increases strength… those that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.” (Isaiah 40:29, 30) Count on it and claim the promise. 

His strength is not promised to the passive. It is given to the persistent combatant.

Be strengthened by reminding yourself, “I am a child of the King. I have the love and strength provided by my Lord. Therefore, I await your command to charge.”

“Endure hardship as a good soldier.” 

A good soldier always obeys his commander.