2 Timothy 2:1 “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
This is the time of year when many Americans decide that they are going to get fit. We have just come through a time of celebration that included excess eating along with limited exercise, and most of us are feeling the effects. “Today is the day” has become a famous motto around our house, and healthy meals are on the menu to jumpstart our goal of becoming strong.
I am reminded of the well-known cartoon character, Popeye the Sailor Man. When I was young this popular character had only to squeeze open and eat a can of spinach to gain the strength needed to meet the task at hand. If Brutus, the big, bumbling nemesis, began to bother Olive Oyl, Popeye’s girl, out came the spinach. Within seconds Popeye’s biceps grew by inches and Brutus was a goner. This tough sailor knew what to do when trouble threatened.
While physical hardiness is important, there are other areas in which we must also be strong. While sitting in a prison cell waiting to die, Paul wrote a letter to his spiritual son, Timothy. Paul personally understood the strength needed to endure in the ministry of spreading the gospel. Many opposed the message of salvation and Paul had been the target of persecution and terrible treatment throughout his many journeys. In his final days on earth, this veteran missionary desperately wanted Timothy to understand and be prepared for all the struggles that lay ahead.
This needed strength would not come from strenuous exercises, bottles of vitamins, or even cans of spinach. This durability and courage would be attained by the grace found in Christ Jesus. Grace is often defined as undeserved favor from God on sinners. Part of that favor is the gift of a divine power to persevere and live the Christian life victoriously, no matter the circumstances.
In Paul’s time, as in our own, there were many who turned away from following after God when the going got tough. When threatened by enemies of the cross they lacked the power to fight and endure. If only they had remembered where their strength was found – in the grace of God – then they would have been capable of withstanding the enemy.
Living God’s way is not for cowards. Only fit and healthy Christians can be victorious despite the hardships and enemies that abound. Becoming spiritually strong takes more than a can of spinach. In the day of trouble find all the strength you need in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. “Today is the day!” It’s there for the taking.