“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus…” (2Timothy 2:1)
If you have ever done any weight training you are familiar with that inevitable moment when you reach the point of muscle exhaustion. One moment you are doing your reps, and then, suddenly your strength is gone, your muscles have failed, and you are absolutely incapable of lifting the weight any longer. It is a strange and helpless feeling.
It is a fundamental truth: human strength is fading… and will eventually fail.
In the Christian faith, the good news is that we do not walk by our own strength or ability. We do our living by the strength that God provides. His strength is unfailing. His strength never fades. His strength is as infinite as His love.
Grace carries the quality of God’s limitless strength. This is why the apostle gently encourages Timothy to be strengthened by grace. Specifically, the grace that we need abides in our Lord Jesus – and relying upon His abiding Presence imparts His strength to our lives.
We all have the tendency to adopt the attitude that we need to try our best to do what God asks of us… and when we run out of strength, then we can turn to God for help. But this is not how we are called to live. God is not our “backup plan.” He is not our secondary reinforcement. His grace is to be our first option. Our only option. We rely on His grace from the beginning – for His grace is always all-sufficient. We trust in His grace to do what He wants us to do. The work is the Lord’s… and it will always require God’s ability to accomplish what He desires us to do.
It’s a good thing that He offers us His strength in abundant supply. His strength is what is needed. And His strength is found in His gift of grace.
This is why we are commanded to “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” (Ephesians 6:10) Only His ability can accomplish His purposes. Only His strength is capable of keeping us from failing.
This kind of grace was what the prophet Isaiah was describing when he was inspired to write those famous words:
God calls us to live in, and by, His grace. Not as a supplement to what our own ability can accomplish – but as what we are relying on to accomplish what He has given us to do.
We are saved by grace. We live by grace. We are strengthened by grace. Each and every moment of our lives.