Press on in the Way

II Timothy 2:1 “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”

Many had been turned out of the way by the persecution and pleasures of the world. The converts of Asia had turned out of the way because of their attitude toward persecution, “ashamed of the testimony of our Lord” (II Timothy 1:8). A companion in the work had turned out of the way because of his appetite for pleasure, “Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world” (II Timothy 4:10). Timothy must not fall prey to the subversive and seductive traits of the world that would turn him out of the way.

In an effort to give stability to his young comrade, Paul developed two preventative thoughts. Paul’s first thought was resistance; “be strong.” There are only two means by which the child of God can conquer man’s natural addiction to the world; removal from the world or resistance to the world! In His prayer in John 17, Jesus reminds us that we are in the world. We are no longer of the world, but for now we occupy a residence in this world (see John 17:11&16). Since our removal is yet to come, we must therefore, resist. This is only possible by possessing strength, equal to or greater than that of the world. Paul tells Timothy to “be strong.” The word “strong” means to empower or enable. It comes from two words; one means a fixed position in time, state, or place; a relation of rest. The other word means to strengthen or empower. Thus, Paul is telling Timothy that he needs to occupy a fixed position of strength, to rest in the state of enablement. The tense of the word is continuous action. Paul recognized that Timothy was presently resting in a state of sufficient strength and power to overcome the drawing of the world, but this is a state that must be maintained; Timothy can’t relax or retreat from his secure position!

Paul’s second thought is a resource, “strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” Paul was completely aware of the fact that within ourselves we can do nothing! The sufficient strength that Timothy needed to resist the world doesn’t rest within self, but there is a resource from which he can draw the strength needed to overcome the world. Paul’s encouragement was not that of education, but experience. When locked in a spiritual battle with a “thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet”; Paul found God’s grace sufficient for the hour. In response to his repetitive praying, God said, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (II Corinthians 12:9). Paul was telling Timothy not to neglect the resource of “grace that is in Christ Jesus.” Grace had proved to be sufficient for the past and the present, and it would prove to be more than sufficient for those that choose to press on in the future. In total dependence upon Christ, Timothy would gain the sufficient grace needed to press on; grace, a gift unmerited, but also unlimited! Grace that is imparted through the Lord Jesus Christ could equip Timothy with the resource of strength that will enable him to conquer the temptations of the wicked one and be a consolation to the heart in the heat of battle. John said, “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (I John 4:4).

Paul encouraged Timothy to press on in the way, in spite of the converts and companions that have turned aside. If Timothy was to buck the trend of the hour, it would require sufficient strength to resist the drawing forces of the world; a strength that didn’t naturally reside within the heart of man. Timothy must continue to take refuge in grace, the unmerited and unlimited gift of God; not merely as a passive recipient, but as one that eagerly seeks out the person of Christ for His strength and appropriates that strength to meet the need. Abandoning self to actively rely upon an indwelling Lord; this would be the only means where by Timothy could resist the pull of the world and press on in the way.