Be Strong in Grace
Open Your Bible
2 Timothy 2:1-13, Romans 6:1-14, 1 Peter 4:1-5
BY Seana Scott
The television dulled the sound of my sniffles. Everyone from school hung out at the homecoming game, but I sat on the couch, at home. A neighbor shared the gospel with me months before and I decided to follow Jesus Christ. But as I scrolled through sitcoms on homecoming night my sophomore year, I considered calling up my old friends and returning to our old habits.
But just the thought of rebellion made me nauseous. And then I realized something that surprised me. It was better to sit on my couch following Jesus, alone, than hanging out with the wrong friends. I had spent years living in rebellion and now, I wanted to live for Christ.
When Paul told his son in the faith to be strong in the grace of Jesus Christ (2Timothy 2:1), Timothy faced much more suffering than teenage loneliness. He faced persecution, conflicts within the church, and the stressful responsibility of equipping believers. I wonder what his temptations might have looked like when he felt defeated, weary, lonely. Whatever they were, Paul encouraged Timothy to remain strong in the grace of Jesus Christ.
Sometimes we forget what it means to live under grace rather than the law (Romans 6:1–14). The law burdens us with unrealistic expectations and the unending anxiety of not measuring up. Grace frees us from all of that. But freedom through grace is something we have to stand in, remain in—as we endure whatever suffering we encounter (2Timothy 2:3,11–13).
So how can we follow Paul’s encouragement and “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2Timothy 2:1)? Paul gave Timothy spiritual instructions through three images that might also help us (2Timothy 2:3–7): a soldier, an athlete, and a farmer.
The soldier demonstrates our need to focus. When we keep focused on the grace of the gospel, we face our temporary suffering with strength because we know the promise we endure for—eternal life (John 17:3). The athlete metaphor is a reminder to live according to the rules of the kingdom. Sometimes when we endure opposition or trials, we are tempted to operate according to our own ideas, rather than the rules of the game. Finally, Paul encourages Timothy with the image of a farmer. Farmers rigorously till soil, plant seeds, water, and pull weeds, all examples of serving diligently.
Following Jesus is not easy—but He is worth it. And our coming reward is sure: we will live and reign with Him (2Timothy 2:11–12).