2 Timothy 2:1-5, Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. 3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. 5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.
Ephesians 6:10, Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
The apostle Paul knew and understood clearly that if the young preacher Timothy was going to make a difference for Christ and the cause of Christ where God had placed him he was going to have to be “strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus,” and he would have to “ENDURE HARDNESS, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”
THE SAME GOES FOR YOU AND ME!!!
Paul understood that the Christian life is not a playground but a battleground. He understood, by personal experience, that the Christian life is not a comfort zone but a combat zone. Paul understood that being soft wasn’t going to cut it, but Timothy would have to ENDURE HARDNESS!
In recent days I have been reading about Jonathon and Rosalind Goforth. They were missionaries to China for over 40 years. They understood what ENDURING HARDNESS was and they were far from “soft.” They endured extreme loneliness and various illnesses such as dysentery, malaria, and typhoid. Their home/missions compound was attacked by over 10,000 angry Chinese who believed rumors that the missionaries or “foreign devils,” were kidnapping Chinese children and eating them. They endured various times of 10-12 consecutive days of temperatures over 112 degrees and that’s with no AC and probably no fans. Five of their eleven children died as babies or as small children because of illnesses, which they would not of had to deal with back home. In 1900, the Goforths had to flee for many miles across China during the Boxer Rebellion. Jonathan was attacked and injured with a sword, but they both survived and escaped to the safety of one of the “Treaty Ports.”
THEY ENDURED HARDNESS AS GOOD SOLDIERS OF CHRIST AND HIS CROSS!
The Calvary Road or the way of the cross has never been an easy path to trod! As we have mentioned in our two previous posts, when the apostle Paul wrote the above words above to Timothy, admonishing him to ENDURE HARDNESS he was speaking from first-hand experience. Paul knew exactly what hardness was, and he understood how to ENDURE HARDNESS. Paul suffered much because of his faith. He suffered much for the Christ that he loved and for the cause of Christ in which which he labored, both living for and eventually dying for.
Paul suffered much because of his faith. He suffered much for the Christ that he loved passionately and for the cause of Christ in which which he labored fervently, both living for and eventually dying for the cause.
Most of us are familiar with the stories of men like Hudson Taylor, Adoniram Judson, William Carey, Jonathon Goforth, and a host of others, and the suffering they endured for Christ and the cause of Christ in order to reach the unreached. We are familiar with a host of others who throughout the ages have ENDURED HARDNESS!
- We often read of missionaries in the past who lost multiple wives and children to sickness and on the mission field, but they ENDURED HARDNESS!
- We often read of our beloved brothers and sisters throughout the ages unto this very day who suffered poverty, persecution, and immense pain, but they ENDURED HARDNESS!
- We often read of the martyrs of the past who gave their lives, often after watching their wife and children give their lives first for the Christ whom they loved, and are impressed how they ENDURED HARDNESS even unto death!
We have read about them. We have heard their stories and illustrations from their lives and deaths. And for some of us, we have even preached about them and their willingness to ENDURE HARDNESS!
Yet, we can’t live in the past. They are no longer here. They have passed the baton to us. How about us in this generation? How about you and me? God has called us to be the Hudson Taylor’s, Adoniram Judson’s, and Jonathon Goforth’s of this generation?
Rather than just telling their story God desires to write new stories with your life and mine!
The question is “Are we too soft?” or “Will we stand in God’s grace and strength?”
YES, SIR! AS WE HAVE SAID PREVIOUSLY, ENDURING HARDNESS MAKES FOR GREAT PREACHING, BUT IT MAKES FOR TOUGH LIVING!
No “Disneyland Christianity” here!
I don’t know about you, but for the vast majority of my life, I have been pampered. Fairly nice places to live. Decent furniture, air-conditioning, refrigerators, stoves, great restaurants to go to when I was tired of eating at home, and of course, great customer service (you know the customer is always right). And while none of these things in and of themselves are wrong they have surely helped us to become “too soft,” whether we want to admit it or not.
Yet, if we are going to make a spiritual dent in the kingdom of darkness, especially in the most difficult places in the world where millions upon millions remain unreached we are going to have to be willing to ENDURE HARDNESS. As one author noted:
“Moreover, if we go, then we must realize that these people groups are unreached for a reason: they are difficult and dangerous to reach, and the cost of reaching them will be steep. But the gospel compels us to counter culture regardless of cost — to risk our lives, our families, our future, our plans, and our possessions — for the sake of one reward: the proclamation of the greatest news in order to meet people’s greatest need.”
It is said that Amy Carmichael, who was a missionary in India for 55 years, without ever taking a furlough, refused to accept American missionaries to be a part of her team because they were “spoiled” and “too soft.”
That was a long time ago. Wonder if she would accept me today? How about you?
Possibly we need to reconsider Paul’s admonition to young Timothy today.
2 Timothy 2:1-5, Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. 3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.