II Timothy - 2:3-4
"You therefore must endure
hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in
warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that
he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier."
of this verse in which Paul states we must endure hardship
has a lot of meaning to it that deserves some thought. Most
people would generally agree that serving as a soldier during
wartime is no fun to say the least. Being a soldier during a time of war must be a difficult
thing to deal with. Back
in the days of Christ, soldiers often went without water,
food, sleep, medical treatment, seeing their family, not to mention
other unimaginable hardships.
implication is that as a Soldier we will suffer.
While this may not seem like an appealing thought to those
serving in a war of this world, it is truly an honor to suffer for
the sake of our Lord Jesus. When
one considers all of the suffering He endured for us, our pains and
tribulations are virtually non-existent by comparison.
When we consider the great affliction He suffered, we must
keep in mind that He did so because of our
We deserve all that He suffered and more; He did not.
in with the goals for this ministry, Paul lived what he preached; he
walked the walk. Many
students of the Bible believe that he was the greatest Christian of
all time. One of the
things that made him such an effective disciple and teacher is that
he was willing to suffer all things for
follows the example set by Christ.
Just as Christ used His great suffering for glorifying our
Father, Paul uses his sufferings to glorify Jesus.
To better appreciate the trials of this one Apostle, we need to
look back and see what he experienced.
First, his enemies
continually plotted against his life; at least six recorded
instances are in the Bible. The
first occurred in Damascus, after his salvation.
“After many days, some Jewish
people made plans to kill Saul. 24 They were watching the
city gates day and night, but Saul learned about their plan.”
The second, third and fourth conspiracies are recorded in
Acts 9:29, 20:3, and 23:10.
40 men devised the fifth plot.
“In the morning some of the Jews
made a plan to kill Paul, and they took an oath not to eat or drink
anything until they had killed him. There were more than
forty Jews who made this plan.” (Acts
The sixth plot was recorded in Acts 25:2-3.
His second test was that the followers of Christ generally
mistrusted him when he was first converted. Keep in mind that up until his dedication to Christ, he
was a devout persecutor and enemy of Christians.
His former life had been so terrible that many leaders in the
early church simply could not believe he was now one of them.
“When Saul went to Jerusalem, he tried to
join the group of followers, but they were all afraid of him.”
Can you imagine persecuting a group of people to the extent that
Paul did and then being propelled onto the same side as them?
Look how Paul responded:
“But whatever was to my profit I
now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider
everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing
Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I
consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be
found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from
the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the
righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.” (Phil.
final aspect of Paul’s sufferings was his death.
It was in Rome that the
apostle Paul suffered martyrdom. By order of the Emperor Nero--he
was beheaded. The apostle Paul gave every aspect of his life
for service to Jesus. This
is what he meant when he wrote to Timothy: endure hardship...
Soldier of Jesus Christ
Engaged in Warfare
(5) Please our Commander
The New Century Version, (NCV) (Dallas, Texas: Word Publishing)
1987, 1988, 1991.
4. The New International Version, (NIV) (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan
Publishing House) 1984.