Endure Hardship Like A Good Soldier
2 Timothy 2:3 “Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.”
This is believed to be Apostle Paul’s last letter before he was beheaded in Rome. He writes this letter to the a young pastor whom he mentored, pastor Timothy. At the time of writing the church and its leadership faced serious resistance and frustrations from Jewish leaders and from the Roman government. The reason why the christian church was under persecution, was because the tormentors hoped to stop its progress. As it was then, it is true today that the purpose why the enemy brings suffering to us, is to interfere and stop our faith in God from growing.
The church had enemies and the church was at war to defend its mission and to concur territories for Jesus Christ. Apostle Paul repeatedly encourages the church and its leaders to be as disciplined as soldiers, strive as soldiers and persevere as soldiers. At this point he tells Timothy to endure hardship like a good soldier.
We are at war and hardships are part of our regular experiences. Until God creates a new heaven and a new earth, hardships are here to stay. That understanding should bolster our resolve to soldier on, despite our hardships. Hardships come to stop us, and if we actually stop, we have lost the battle. Hardships come to stop us from praying, to stop us from attending worship, to stop us from studying the Bible, to stop us from forgiving, to stop us from trusting God, to stop us from being hopeful and to stop us from believing in God. Hardships come to stop us, if we stop, we have lost. Hence the advice, endure hardship like a good soldier.
Hardships at war are not limited. At war anything that can defeat us will be applied by the enemy. Psychological warfare of fear, and threats will come. Discouragement. Sabotage. Infiltration. Betrayal. Casualties. Losses. Propaganda. We experience hardships from within us, and from outside us. We experience hardships from those we know around us and from strangers we don’t know. Hardships can be mental, physical, spiritual, social, or even financial. Whatever difficulties we face, the advice is the same, endure hardship like a good soldier.
To endure is to experience difficulty without giving up and without surrender. To endure is to suffer without changing our daily routine. To endure is to remain prayerful through suffering. To endure is to mourn with hope. To endure is to attend worship where the worshippers have proved unwelcoming, unfriendly and hateful. To endure is to forgive again without counting. To endure is to live with a spouse for God’s sake amidst disagreements, as long as life is not threatened (just take note that when life is threatened you must run to secure life first. Many have died in violent marriages or even lost limbs, thinking it is God’s will to prioritise marriage over life. Nothing could be further from the truth). To endure is to trust God when none of your prayers have been answered yet. Endurance nullifies the work and intentions of the enemy, and it also strengthens you. Endure hardship like a good soldier.
A good soldier? Yes a good soldier. There are bad soldiers. Soldiers who can’t endure are bad soldiers. Soldiers who betray during torture. Soldiers who yield to the enemy because of hardships. Soldiers who are mercenaries, they are in for money, for profit, for blessings, for favours from God, so that without that, they quit and join the enemy. Apostle Paul admonishes Timothy and us, that be good soldiers. A good soldier values his/her mission over self. A good soldier puts their life on line for the sake of the kingdom they defend. a good soldier is trained to endure hardship. A good soldier anticipates hardship, and endures hardship and comes out successful in times of hardship. A good soldier is not distracted by hardship. Endure hardship like a good soldier.
Revelation 2:9-10 “‘(9) I know your tribulation and your poverty … (10) Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” This is a letter to one of the seven churches in the book of Revelation, the church of Smyrna. The church experienced persecution and it also represented a church historical time of persecution. God sends a message to the church, telling them that first, He is aware of their situation, and secondly, they should endure hardships.
God knows our troubles. A song writer has correctly said that tears are a language that God understands. God knows our poverty, our lack, our shortages, our challenges as a result of limited resources. This God who knows our situation says, do not fear what you are about to suffer. God tells us to handle the suffering by endurance even if it means dying. God who gives life and hope even to the dead says to us that it shall be better after endurance. The hardships will pass and there will be a crown of life to celebrate. Therefore meanwhile, endure hardships as good soldier.
May God grant us grace to endure hardships like good soldiers, in Jesus name, Amen!(c)firstname.lastname@example.org (do not delete any part of this post, including this. You are free to share these posts, but do not edit the authorship or content… thank you and be blessed!)