3 Reasons to Be Strong in the Midst of Adversity

One of the things we are sure to face in our lifetime is adversity of some form or another.  Currently many around the world are facing the adversity of COVID19 and the surrounding difficulties that come from restrictions on everyday life.  However, once COVID19 is gone and restrictions are lifted, there will be many more points of adversity that we will face.   

One of the most incredible witnesses to the greatness of God is the faith that believers are able to demonstrate in the midst of adversity.  It is our faith in the midst of adversity that proclaims loudly the surety that comes from the Gospel. 

In 2 Timothy 2:1–13 the Apostle Paul is encouraging his son in the faith, Timothy, to be strong and endure in the midst of the adversity that he is facing.  

Let’s listen in as Paul shares these words of encouragement from 2 Timothy 2:1–13 (NASB95)  

1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 3 Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. 5 Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules. 6 The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops. 7 Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. 8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel, 9 for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned. 10 For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory. 11 It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him; 12 If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; 13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.  

Be Strong in the Grace that is in Christ Jesus! 

1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 

The Apostle Paul starts off by telling Timothy to be strong.  Notice, he is not to just be strong in his own strength. Rather he is commanded to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 

The command to be strong is a present passive imperative.  In other words, Timothy is being told to continue growing in power according to the work of God in his life.  We see this same language appear in several common verses that are found in the Apostle Paul’s writing. 

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. (Ephesians 6:10)

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service… (1 Timothy 1:12)

Your strength can never be founded in yourself and your own determination.  It is possible you may endure on your own for a while, but the kind of strength that will last has to be found in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  Your greatest source of strength will always be anchored to the Gospel. 

Four Examples of the Strength the Grace of Jesus Will Provide! 

With the exhortation to be strong, we are quickly provided with some examples of what it looks like to have that kind of strength. 

The Teacher 

2 The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 

As you are enduring adversity, use it as an opportunity to teach others about the truths you have learned from the Word of the Lord. 

As a young man in ministry, I was listening to the testimony of a man who was battling cancer.  His long-term diagnosis was not looking good, and as he shared the report from his doctor, he took the time to teach me and the others who gathered there by sharing this simple truth that I have never forgotten. 

He said, “My goal is not to beat cancer, my goal is to glorify God in the midst of my cancer.”  

Every single adversity you will face in your life provides an opportunity to teach those who are watching about the faith that comes from believing in the Gospel. 

The Soldier 

3 Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. 

A soldier stays focused on the purpose they are standing for in the midst of their fighting.  They cannot begin to look around and be concerned about anything other than the situation right in front of them. 

Why? “The soldier was concerned to obey his commander twenty-four hours a day, and Paul wanted Timothy to display the same zeal in commitment to the Lord.”[1]

Are you facing your adversity in the way that demonstrates that you will obey your commander no matter what He has asked you to do? 

The Athlete 

5 Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules. 

Athletes have to be disciplined in order to be successful.  They are training every day to push themselves as far as possible in order to be successful in the midst of their competition (adversity).   

In the same way, the Christian must build their self-discipline in order to be prepared for the adversity that they will face.  We must build our endurance by training our hearts and minds to focus on the truths of God’s Word, so that when we face adversity, we are ready to respond according to our training. 

The Farmer 

6 The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops. 

A farmer works hard all year long for the promise of the reward of his crops.  In the same way, we endure during our adversity for the promise of our eternal reward. 

As you face your adversity, remember the ultimate reward will never be found here on earth but rather in eternity.  As you hold loosely to the things of this earth and focus on the eternal, your perspective to face adversity will be strengthened. 

Three Reasons You Can Endure! 

7 Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. 

The Gospel of Jesus Christ! 

8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel, 

We just celebrated Easter.  This is literally the greatest source of strength in the midst of adversity.  Christ came to earth.  He lived a perfect life.  He suffered, bled, and died for your sin.  However, the bondage of death could not hold Him as He rose from the dead.  With His resurrection He has provided eternal life to all who will believe. 

If the Gospel is true (and it is), there is no adversity that can ultimately win in your life.  You have eternal life.  So, face your adversity with confidence in the finished work of Christ on the cross. 

Your Testimony in the Midst of Adversity Will Point Others to the Gospel! 

 9 for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned. 10 For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory. 

Face adversity in a way that will point others to the wonderful Gospel and the promises it has for you. 

Your Reward Awaits You! 

11 It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him; 12 If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; 13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself. 

“If we die with Him, we will also live with Him.”  If the adversity you are enduring causes you to die, it is not in vain for you will live with Him. 

“If we endure, we will also reign with Him.” The end of the story is already written, and Christ will reign.  So, endure your adversity knowing one day you will reign with Him. 

“If we deny Him, He will also deny us.”  In the midst of adversity our faith is revealed.  If our faith is not in the Lord, then it is revealed that we are not truly in the faith. 

“If we are faithless, He remains faithful.” Even when our faith falters, God will stay true to His promises. 

We can face the adversities of our life when we depend on the grace and the strength we find in Gospel of Jesus Christ!  So be strong in the grace of Jesus Christ! 


[1] Thomas D. Lea and Hayne P. Griffin, 1, 2 Timothy, Titus, vol. 34, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 203.

Johnny KjaerJohnny Kjaer
Johnny Kjaer oversees the Youth and Skatepark Ministries at Faith Church. He can often be found serving the community with the teenagers. His passion is to assist parents in training their teens to love the Lord. He and his wife, Tori, have three children; Leif, Tryggve, and Kjirsti.