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Laboring and Enduring for Our Lord

(2 Timothy 2:1-13)

Lesson 3 -- third quarter 1997
June 15, 1997

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1997, Christian Light Publications

As a good soldier.

No doubt we have all heard of the afflictions and hardships of military recruits in boot camp. Even more impressive to me are the hardships of soldiers on full-scale combat missions. The good soldiers endure all such hardness.

Good soldiers endure the hardness of privation. They leave behind the easy, comfortable life of home. They leave the company of friends and family. Their dreams, plans and projects fall far behind to the pressing priority of braving battles and winning wars. They lose sleep, food, health, shelter, and recreation. They no longer have the pleasure of enjoying those things for which they worked so hard back at home. They surrender independence for submission, training and pursuing the good of others.

Are you a good soldier of Jesus Christ?

Good soldiers endure the hardness of misunderstanding. Sometimes the people they leave behind do not agree with their mission nor with their dedication to it. Sometimes the people they go to help see them as the enemy instead of as the liberators. Sometimes within their own unit there are those who neither share nor appreciate the dedication and vision that drives them.

Are you a good soldier of Jesus Christ?

Good soldiers endure the hardness of battle. Soldiers know fatigue like few others experience. And they know fear, failure and frustration in similar measure. Soldiers in combat hurt and bleed; many of them suffer incapacitating injuries to physique and psyche; many of them die.

Are you a good soldier of Jesus Christ?

This is a tough lesson. Oh, from the detached comfort of non-involvement, fighting spiritual wars and battles for our true country and cause can sound glorious and exciting enough. We easily get gung-ho about such things. But this is a tough lesson. And to learn it, and to do it, and to pass it, we must look beyond the wars and battles. We must see what it takes to endure.

"...He endured, as seeing him who is invisible" (Hebrews 11:27).

"And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise" (Hebrews 6:15).

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds" (Hebrews 12:2,3).

"Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand" (Ephesians 6:13).

"Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee" (Deuteronomy 31:6).

"Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 2:1).

Not only must you be a good soldier, you can be one! Grace!

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