Perhaps the hardest word in the entire New Testament to wrap our minds around is the infinitely wide one-syllable word grace. Defining it is not the problem. Succinctly put, grace is unmerited favor. Confining it is where we get into trouble. The truth is, we who are in Christ Jesus do not have a single challenge, need, temptation, desire, craving, conflict, sacrifice, gifting, relationship, or task where grace is limited. Further, there is no opportunity, opposition, action, or occupation where grace is ineffective. No category exists where grace is ill fit. No tank is big enough to leave grace in short supply.
Grace is the divine means by which God makes Himself everything we need to utterly abound (2 Cor. 9:8). It is the medicine that heals our bitterness (Hebrews 12:15). It is the floor where fallen people can come to their feet and stand (Rom. 5:2). It is substance. It is sufficiency. It is joy and felicity. And here, in 2 Timothy 2:1, grace is strength.
Paul used a vigorous word to express his command. To “be strong,” a present passive imperative, implies that Timothy was to keep on being empowered by God (2 Timothy 4:17; Eph 6:10; Phil 4:13; 1 Tim 1:12, where the same Greek word is used). The command demanded Timothy’s continuous active cooperation with God.
The quarry from which Timothy was to mine such strength was God’s grace made available in Christ Jesus.
Our tendency is to treat grace like an antibiotic. The moment we feel better, we twist the cap on tight and close the medicine cabinet on the divine supply. Soon we’re just getting by instead of abounding, and soon after that we’re drowning.
Our tendency is to treat grace like an antibiotic. The moment we feel better, we twist the cap on tight and close the medicine cabinet on the divine supply. Soon we’re just getting by instead of abounding, and soon after that we’re drowning. We can’t live like overcomers if we act under-graced. God’s astonishing favor is meant to run like a river through every artery of our lives, but, by His sovereign plan, His unhindered access requires a cooperative process. Life is hard. Trying to be strong apart from the grace that is in Christ Jesus can be as great a tragedy as the catalyst of our need.
God specializes in granting strength in that exact area of weakness. Pause long enough to ask Him for a gush of grace from the endless spring of His provision. You have a provider who wants you to be more than a survivor. You’ve been entrusted with inexhaustible truth and supernatural gifting but all within the confines of borrowed time. Our days are short. Our lists are long. We need divine supply.