Paul’s Final Words Of Encouragement

But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength. 2 Timothy 4:17a NIV

Paul wrote these words at the end of his life, in his final letter to Timothy, from prison, awaiting  execution. As the apostle looked back on his life, perhaps reflecting on the hardships of ministry, what was it he wanted to communicate to this young pastor in his final days on earth? He wanted to be sure Timothy knew the Lord had stood by his side and given him strength through it all! And make no mistake, Paul’s journey had not been an easy one.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 2 Corinthians 4:7-11 NIV

Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. 2 Corinthians 6:4-10 NIV

For when we came into Macedonia, we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within. 2 Corinthians 7:5 NIV

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 2 Corinthians 1:8 NIV

At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. 2 Timothy 4:16 NIV

Yes, Paul had endured may hardships, but his love for God and his desire to share the joy and hope he found in Christ would not let him quit! Timothy too was going to endure difficult times and Paul wanted to reassure him that God would never let him down. You and I face tough times too. Let Paul’s letter to Timothy remind you that God is faithful and encourage you to press on through it all, that we too might one day be able to say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.  The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 2 Timothy 4:17-18 NIV

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