Today’s Reading: 2 Timothy 2:1-21
One way to study the Bible is to pay close attention to the commands. Let’s begin by looking at the command in v. 1. The command here is to “be strong.” This Greek verb here is actually in the passive voice, so it’s more accurately translated, “Let yourself be strengthened” or “be empowered” (Marshall 724). In other words, you don’t get strong by trying harder or drawing from your own strength. Being strong in this sense is not a matter of gritting your teeth and flexing your biceps.
This kind of strength comes from outside of ourselves, from the grace found in Jesus Christ. God’s grace is a kind of catch-all phrase for everything God offers to infuse into our lives.
Every person’s life is like a power tool with an electrical plug. When we’re plugged into God and his resources, those resources flow into our lives to empower us to do that which we could not do on our own. The love we need to care about people, the patience we need when we’re frustrated, the courage we need in the face of fear…all these things come from being plugged into God’s grace. Lives that don’t plug into God’s grace won’t have the resources to leave a very significant mark.
Lives that refuse to plug into God’s grace are self-sufficient lives, lives that rely on self and ego. It takes humility to admit that we’ve sinned against God and to trust in Christ for our salvation, but until we do that we can’t plug into God’s grace. We’ll find ourselves being like a power saw trying to cut wood without a power supply.
Only lives that are empowered with God’s resources will leave a mark that lasts.
That’s one reason why we should meet together in churches each week, to be empowered by God’s grace. To admit that we can’t do it alone, that we need God’s powerful grace operating in our lives to be the kind of people God wants us to be. Our worship breaks the spell of self-sufficiency, so we can embrace a sense of God-sufficiency.