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Ruddy Padre 007
“I thank Him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord.” 1 Timothy 1:12.
Paul is writing to Timothy who is pastoring the Church in Ephesus. This was a tough gig. The Church was at the centre of riots in Acts 19. Ephesus was a religious centre for the Greek god, Artemis (aka Diana). It was Artemis versus Jesus in Ephesus! Ephesus was a hotspot! And thanks to 2Tim.1:7, it has been assumed by many for the last 2000 years of Church History, that Timothy was a timid, spineless, soft-spoken mamby-pamby. But let’s face it; in our mere humanness, I reckon most of us would be a little uneasy in the gut in being sent to Ephesus to lead the church there. And so I wonder if Timothy was second guessing his credentials…just a bit. Maybe that is why Paul urges Timothy in 1Tim.1:3 to “remain in Ephesus.” Timothy, you’ve gotta stay there!
The verses following see Paul laying out why Timothy is there, and what his task is. As if Timothy wasn’t already daunted! But this is when Paul writes words to encourage Timothy. “I thank Him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord.” Paul points something out right here; “Tim, if it wasn’t for Jesus Christ, I’d be as weak as the next person. I’d be running on human steam, not on His strength! If it weren’t for Him, I would be totally incompetent for the job at hand! Timothy, without Jesus, I would be the timid one.”
So how does Jesus Christ strengthen Paul? Well, Paul spells that out for us.
1: He judged me faithful. V12b. Do you know what this means? I can unhitch the trailer of guilt. Paul was no saint before Jesus intervened in his life. In fact, Paul describes himself as a scumbag pretty much (v13). But when Jesus comes along and turns you in to a brand new creation in Him and for Him (2Cor.5:17&18), then the old things have been “unhitched!” We don’t need to carry them around anymore. They are the past. As faithless as I was (and am), He judged me faithful. No longer carrying the burden, my load is so much lighter, meaning, He has strengthened me!
2: He appointed me. V12c. Jesus calls us for His purpose. He doesn’t just want to save you. He wants to save THRU you! You have a part to play in His kingdom. That is why every single Christian has received a spiritual gift of some kind. But more than that; in the context, Paul tells Timothy, “Jesus has appointed me to His service….in spite of me! Heck, I wouldn’t have appointed me, knowing what I know about myself! But Jesus, still knowing me inside and out, signed me up regardless!” And you know something? That strengthens Paul. That strengthens me. It ought to strengthen you too.
3: He poured out His mercy and grace upon me. Vv14-16. Jesus unblocks the path ahead and clears it for us to follow His purpose in serving Him. That is what Christ’s mercy and grace meant for Paul (“I received mercy FOR THIS REASON…” v16). Again, thru this gracious and mercy-born purpose, he receives strength from Christ. Actually, I love how v14 mentions how the grace of Christ “overflowed” for Paul. He was filled with the right stuff to power him on. Christ strengthened him.
Like you, I find myself pushing thru draining seasons; be it exhausting thru a busy workload, or draining due to the nature of various pastoral issues that come up in people’s lives. And like you, I also need to know Christ strengthening me. But don’t just seek Christ for that strength and accept the strength that comes from His hand. Like Paul, thank Him for it.
“I thank Him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord.” 1 Timothy 1:12.