What are you praising Jesus for today? Do you actually have to think about the answer? Jesus told us that the person who is forgiven much loves much. The more you realize the significance of what Jesus has done for you, the more you understand what kind of enemy you were to God, the more you realize how much you were a stench to him, then the more your love will be for him. If you don't realize what you were and what he has saved you from, your love won't be so much.
This is the point apostle Paul is making to Timothy as he continues to write. First he tells Timothy that he is thankful. It is the only proper position from which to serve Jesus, a heart overflowing with thanksgiving:
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord. (v. 12)
What's the first thing he is thankful for:
He has given me the strength for my work because he knew that he could trust me. (v. 12b)
Can we serve Jesus with our own resources, our own intelligence, our own determination, our own strength? Go ahead and try if you want and then you and I will sit down in a couple of months and see where you are. I will save you the time and tell you where you will be: You will be dead spiritually. We can't do anything for God with our own resources. We can only serve him when we are empowered by the Holy Spirit. Without him we can do nothing; with him we can do anything. Paul knew this and thanked Jesus for the strength he gave him to serve him. But what is this thing about trust?
Paul writes that Jesus knew he could trust him. Sounds arrogant but Paul knew who he was in Jesus and he knew what he had been saved from and he knew that the love of Jesus would always compel him to move forward, to never go back, to never go back to what he had been:
I used to say terrible and insulting things about him, and I was cruel. But he had mercy on me because I didn’t know what I was doing, and I had not yet put my faith in him. Christ Jesus our Lord was very kind to me. He has greatly blessed my life with faith and love just like his own. (v. 13-14)
There is something here that Paul had that most of us miss today. Paul had nothing to offer Jesus and he knew it. Today we ask the Lord to use our talents, our riches, our fame, our intellect, as if needs them. Jesus doesn't want any of it. Do you understand that? You have nothing to offer Jesus except your love and your obedience. Look at Paul's words again:
Christ Jesus our Lord was very kind to me. He has greatly blessed my life with faith and love just like his own.
He had greatly blessed his life with faith and love, just like Jesus'. Jesus does not want you to use your faith. You can't manage to generate the faith he desires you to have. He just wants you to die to yourself so he can fill you with everything you need, like his supernatural faith, the faith that allows the power of God to flow so you can speak to the dead to rise and the mountains to leap.
We go on a lot about loving our neighbour, loving the lost, loving the Body but if you try it with your love, which is second rate at best, you will fail and you may actually kill someone. We need his love. We need Jesus to bless our life with love, just like his. This is why Paul was as thankful because he knew that Jesus was working through him. On his own he was a hateful man, a blasphemer and murderer, but empowered by Jesus, Paul had become the great apostle to the Gentiles, a lover of God, the carrier of the revelation of the Body, and champion of Grace.
Imagine what we could become if we would allow the Spirit to change our mind on this matter. Imagine if instead of trying to serve Jesus with our pitiful resources, we actually lived in Jesus and allowed him to manifest himself through us.
Oh Lord, break me; melt me; mold me; fill me. None of me. None of my emotions. None of my ideas. None of my desires. All of you. All of your power. All of your faith. All of your love. May we be obedient to the Father's will as you were, empowered by the Spirit to serve all of our days.