Soldier of Christ
Disciple Training Ministry

   Are you willing to Endure Hardship?  Does what we endure really qualify as hardship compared to what Jesus endured for us?

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Endure Hardship

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."

     The portion 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.

     The obvious 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 transgressions—not His.  We deserve all that He suffered and more; He did not.

Tying 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 Christ.

Paul 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.(Acts 9:23-24).1  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 23:12-13).2  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.” (Acts 9:26).3

     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. 3:7-9).4

     The 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...

(1)   Endure hardship
(2)   Soldier of Jesus Christ
(3)   Engaged in Warfare
(4)   Entangles himself
(5) Please our Commander

 

1. The New Century Version, (NCV) (Dallas, Texas: Word Publishing) 1987, 1988, 1991.
2. NCV
3. NCV
4. The New International Version, (NIV) (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House) 1984.

  
 

 

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