2 Timothy 2:3-4 – “You, therefore, must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.” NKJV
My experience in life and ministry has taught me that Endurance is a grossly misunderstood topic but one that needs to be fully comprehended by the Body of Christ if we are to become all God has designed and desired of us. When you face a crisis, are on the front lines in a war zone, and are stressed out not knowing if you can survive another minute much less another day you have just become a candidate for Endurance. Once in this race (Christianity), you must finish the course, and once in this fight (Christianity), you must continue. You cannot quit for to quit is to lose all.
There is a crisis in the Body of Christ with regard to our ‘wounded warriors’ of faith. Sadly they are sometimes wounded by other members of the Body. Some are filled with the infection of bitterness, walking under the dominion of rejection and abandonment, and filled with fear to the point they cannot trust God or man. They feel betrayed, let down, failed, disappointed, and are Deeply Wounded and as a result have become hard, skeptical, sarcastic, and cynical.
If you were to accidentally run your arm through a plate glass window it would, in all likelihood, hurt. If you saw that it was cut badly, you’d rush to the emergency room for help, right? They would treat you cleaning out the wound, giving you things to help keep down infection, and put in stitches to close the wound. Just because they’ve done that and released you do not mean you are ready to use that arm again. However, when someone is wounded in a relationship or some situation in life, they need an emergency room to treat them they do not need Thirty Years of recovery time. What am I saying? Stop pandering to the problem, holding grudges, hurts, and resentments. Release it to the Lord so healing can begin. It is quite likely you will be hurt again but this is not a sprint it is a marathon and you must Endure!
Endure hardness as a good soldier. We have little comprehension of this in most of our western world. Hardness for many would be driving an older car not a new one, having the same carpet 5-6 years, not getting new wardrobes annually, and having to mow our own lawns. Some would expand that to being not enough money to pay the bills, not enough food, personal attacks, family divisions, and delays in God’s promises. Those may be difficult but are not hardness as in the life of a soldier.
We do not like hardness and frankly we don’t care much for those who preach about it. I don’t like hardness or difficulty. I like blessing! The early church was a people more committed to the cause of Christ than the opposition was to their cause. They Knew their mission and King and defied ten Roman emperors who had them slaughtered and outlasted them all. This thing we are in is War, spiritual war!
Hardness – (sun-kako-pa-theo): Three different words are compounded to form this word. (Sun Kakos Pathos). There are three ideas I want you to see. SUN means connection or partnership it is a connection to someone or something as in 1 Corinthians 6:1 where we learn we are ‘workers together with Him.’ KAKOS conveys the idea of something wicked or evil and if we only had the first two words it would seem that we were in partnership with evil but we have PATHOS and this normally describes suffering but has more to do with mental suffering than physical so Paul is telling Timothy that he must become disciplined and tough mentally.
Just because you suffer does not mean you are spiritual so do not look for ways to suffer. Hebrews 12:11 tells us that chastening is not joyous in the present but the fruit of it is powerful. The soldier was disciplined, committed, trained, and skillful in the use of his weapons.
Matthew 24:13 – “…he who endures to the end, the same shall be saved…”
We have a commission and a promise and need to become committed to run the race that is set before us unwilling to quit. He promises that He is with us, will not forsake us, and will be with us to the end.
God bless you as you go through your day!