With the Strength God Gives You (Or: Nothing Depends on Your Weakness)

Faith and LifeWith the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News” (2 Tim. 1:8b NLT).  Paul wrote these words to Timothy to encourage him to press on in his Christian calling despite suffering and hardship.  B. B. Warfield has some great words on Paul’s encouragement to Timothy in 2 Tim. 1:8-10:

“…We shall certainly take notice that he [Paul] places beneath Timothy the eternal arms of God Almighty.  He lifts the eyes of Timothy from himself to God, and says to him in effect, There, there is your strength.”

“And observe the pains Paul is at to impress on Timothy that the relation in which he stands to this God, by virtue of which God becomes his strength, is not, in any sense – not in the remotest degree, not in the smallest particular – dependent on Timothy himself, or anything that he has done, is doing, or can do.  He would withdraw Timothy utterly from the least infusion of dependence on self and cast him wholly on his dependence to God, that he may realize that his weakness is not in question, but the whole strength of God is behind him to uphold him and bear him safely through.”

“…What Paul is doing is so completely to take away Timothy’s consideration of himself in this whole matter of the Gospel that he will trust exclusively in God and feel that, therefore, there can be no failure – just because it is God alone and not he himself on whom the performance rests.”

“[It was as if Paul was saying to Timothy,] do you not remember how you were brought into relations with this God?  Was it of yourself that you were called with this holy calling?  Nay, no works of your own entered in.  It was of his own purpose that he called you; the grace that has come to you was given you from all eternity.  What has come to you in time is only the manifestation of what was eternally done.  It is this Almighty God who is using you as his instrument and organ.  Nothing depends on your weakness; all hangs on his strength.  Take courage and go onward.”

B. B. Warfied, Faith and Life, p. 407-8.

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI , 54015