This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus. I have been sent out to tell others about the life He has promised through faith in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 1:1).
The apostle Paul knew his calling was to tell others about the life that is promised to those who trust Jesus. But what exactly is Paul talking about when he says “life.”
The way I look at it, there are two possible ways to interpret Paul’s use of the word “life” in this context. On one hand, we could read this as Paul saying “Here’s what your day-to-day life will look like for you if you choose to follow Jesus.” If this were the message God wanted to communicate to the world through a man though, don’t you think He would have chosen someone other than Paul?
Seriously, take a look at Paul’s life:
I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm (2 Corinthians 11:23-27).
Prison…beatings…shipwrecks…sleeplessness. I’m pretty sure nobody is going to voluntarily sign up for a life like Paul’s—not unless there’s something attached to it so amazing that it makes all these hardships pale in comparison.
Ah, but there is something attached to it: The life of Christ living within you. Eternal life.
This is the life that Paul is talking about.
You see, Paul’s calling wasn’t to tell others how Jesus wanted to change their day-to-day lives. His calling was to help them see their need for the eternal life of Christ to redeem their hearts (which would give them the power to thrive within their day-to-day lives).
Hopefully you won’t ever find yourself shipwrecked or starving, but if you do, rest in the fact that the same life of Christ that dwelled in Paul dwells in you as well.
Which means when your day-to-day life gets hard, you can do more than simply try to survive…you can thrive.