but the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the gentiles might hear it. so i was rescued from the lion’s mouth. [2 timothy 4:17]
paul not only tells us the Lord strengthened him, but he tells us why he strengthens him. an amazing look into the heart of God. the purpose of the Lord standing by paul was so that the gospel message would be proclaimed to those that needed to hear it. it wasn’t so that paul would feel better or to improve his life circumstances. it was for the salvation of the gentiles and the glory of Christ.
do you seek the Lord’s strength to build your own kingdom or his?
if the purpose is for paul to proclaim the gospel, then it follows that he himself must know the gospel. and even more so that he must be convinced of it personally. i would propose this – the more intimately you know the gospel through the presence of the Lord the more you will seek his kingdom above yours and therefore see the need for his strength in your weakness.
so what areas in your life do you want people to hear your message instead of the message of the gospel? where do you want people to be exposed to the good news of who you are instead of the good news of who Jesus is? where are you convinced that the message of yourself is more important than the message of Jesus to those that are perishing?
repent of these areas. but don’t just stop at recognizing the sin. take the opportunity to press into the presence of the Lord and be renewed in your understanding of the gospel as the message that is better than any other message. be reminded that the gospel is living water to yourself and to everyone else.
Jesus said to her, “everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that i will give him will never be thirsty again. the water that i will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” [john 4:13–14]
~ keith kozlowski