BEING STRONG AND ENDURING HARDNESS

Prayer Requests

 

“Be strong in the grace that’s in Christ Jesus…You therefore must endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” 2 Timothy 2:1-3.

Being strong and enduring hardness. What’s God mean by that? Lifting weights and sleeping on the floor? Exercising and eating raw potatoes for supper every night or picking up heavy things and only having one or two changes of clothes? What does he mean and why? You have to understand what your main job is here on earth and get to know the Lord and help others meet Him. That’s priority one and to do this, we have to be strong and faithful. The only way you can keep your inner self strong is by keeping a close relationship with God. We’re in a society that’s filled with distorted values, false commitments and people trying to hurt you for know reason and that’s why you have to be strong. You can’t stand against forces of today’s temptations by just having a strong will. Your willpower gives out when you get too tired, angry, lonely or just plain burned out. The only source of strength that you and I can really count on is the “grace that’s in the Lord Jesus” that He talks about in verse 1. The next part of your calling, verse 2, is to pass on what you’ve received to other people, people who can pass it on to their friends and coworkers. You and I have been given a command from God to spread the Gospel to our children, friends, coworkers and others whose lives we touch.

We’re living in a world that’s confusing and scary and to be able to make it, you have to make some truly difficult decisions, firm commitments and stick with them. As a Christian, it means giving yourself totally to the Lord Jesus, without holding anything back. Following Jesus with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. Those of us who haven’t experienced active military duty have still seen enough TV movies to know that war isn’t fun, nor glorious and not a party. A soldier has to suffer and doesn’t go out to war to see the world, have fun and enjoy life. He doesn’t go out to get rich and be his (or her) own boss. God’s reminding us that the Christian faces the same thing. We’re not called to be Christians just so we can see the world, have fun and enjoy life and he doesn’t call us to be Christians so we can be our own bosses and get rich. If you believe most of what you hear about being a Christian these days, you’ll think that the goal of serving Jesus is self-fulfillment and ego gratification. Then, when it doesn’t work out, you feel like God’s cheated you.

That’s why we have so many disappointed and confused Christians in the world today and they have unrealistic expectations about what God has never promised them. Being a Christian isn’t the way to make your life totally pleasant and comfortable, it means, God says to endure hardness. Work when you’re tired, serve when you’ve got other things you’d rather do. It means doing the thing that will further the interests of the Kingdom of God, rather than looking out for our own best interests. See, we’re called to live for Jesus in the midst of a corrupt and hurtful world and we are the light that’s suppose to shine in a world filled with anger, sadness and despair.

2 Tim. 2:4. “No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.” In the Bible days, here’s how soldiers were picked: A commander would gather men who knew him and who he knew to be good, strong loyal men. He trusted them and they loved him, following him anywhere and everywhere. Our goal isn’t to get to serve ourselves, but to serve Him. We’re not out there seeing how rich we can become or how popular or have as much fun as possible and that’s what God’s telling us here. Our main thing is to serve and please Jesus, not serve and please ourselves. One of the reasons we have so few strong and victorious Christians is because of thinking that God wants us to be, above all else, holy and happy. The late 20th century American version of the Gospel is that Jesus comes into your life to make you wealthy and popular. Not so. You’ll find in your Bible that Christians have to be prepared to forsake all they have, if that’s what it takes to be faithful to Jesus. We count it a privilege to serve Jesus and a blessing to give as much money as we can to promote the Gospel. A joy to miss a few hours of sleep in order to help someone else come to the Lord.

If you believe that the One you’re serving is the Lord of Heaven and earth and you believe that this same One who suffered and died to deliver you from death and hell, what else can you do? He’s already done so much for you and the only sane response is to be available to Him whenever, wherever and however He wants to use you. Never again are we too busy for Him. Let it never be said that we had too much of our thing going on, so we weren’t able to please Him who called us into His service. We do the hard thing, we endure the suffering, the flack and criticism – but we never back down. Drawing on His strength, we become strong and listening to His Spirit, we pass on that which we’ve been given and through our devotion, we endure hardness, as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. I believe that this message is a challenge to a lot of people who receive it. It also is a special encouragement to someone who has felt like something must be wrong; that you’re going through so much hardship that maybe the Lord has given up on you but He hasn’t. The enemy knows you’re tired and going through some hard times and he’s trying get you to give up and just be a Sunday morning Christian.

You’re not alone. Jesus lives to make intercession, to pray for you. He’s praying for you to be strong and to endure hardness for the sake of the Gospel. If you were a quitter or a compromiser, you would’ve been out of here a long time ago but, God’s hand is on you too strong for that. Bow your head for a minute and thank God for His hand in your life and for leading and guiding your life up to this point. Last, thank Him that He’s going to pull you through and continue to lead, guide, strengthen and help you. Others may leave in the heat of the battle and others may fall by the wayside, but not you. You’re one of those who’ll endure and be faithful until the end, receiving a crown of righteousness from the Lord Jesus on the great day that your stand before Him.  

 

 

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