- Endure Hardness, Suffer Affliction, be Patient – The Greek word translated as “endure hardness” (kakopatheo:G2553) in 2 Tim 2:3 “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ …” is translated as “suffer trouble” in 2 Tim 2:9-12: “Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound…”. Paul is making the point that in spite of the troubles that he had experienced as a “messenger” of the True Gospel, the “message” of the Gospel can never be thwarted or hindered in any way at all. The desire to be accepted, or well-pleasing, to God is also seen in 2 Tim 2:4: “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”. We also know that adversity is indeed part and parcel of the Christian life. Jam 5:10-11 speaks about the happy endurance of the prophets in “suffering affliction” and their “patience”. In Acts 9:16 God lays out to Ananias what Paul could expect throughout his future ministry: “For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake”. God used Paul as an outstanding example of “suffering” as he typifies His Master in this respect. When Paul penned Php 1:29 under divine inspiration he was speaking from personal experience: “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;” So when you and I think that we’ve had a rough day, or week, or month, or year, consider the account of 2 Cor 11:23-28.
2 Tim 2:9-12 “Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:”
Jam 5:10-11 “Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.”
2 Cor 11:23-28 “Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I [Paul] am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeying often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.”
- Watch…Work… Make Full Proof – Besides the admonition to “endure afflictions”, there are three others: “…watch…work…make full proof [or “be fully persuaded”] of thy ministry”. These exhortations give evidence of the serious commitment to the task of sending forth the True Gospel that all Christians are to reflect. One of the purposes inherent in suffering is explained in 2 Cor 1:6, “And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation”. As we have been exposed to certain trials and tribulations, we will then be in a better position to empathize and counsel others we know that might have to face similar circumstances one day. The emphasis is on the ramifications of the Kingdom of God, which is spiritual in nature. The task of spreading the Gospel and growth in God’s grace is of utmost importance.
2 Tim 4:1-5 “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”
- Pray…Sing Psalms – Jam 5:13 encourages the true child of God to abandon himself wholeheartedly to God’s tender care “Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms”. One of the greatest resources available to the Christian is prayer, or speaking to God. In other words, Christians are not to be anxious, or worried, about anything because God is in control of everything in their lives. Oh, may God compel us to recognize this comfort in the midst of our moments of anxiety and frustration and may God so conform us to His will as 1 Pet 5:10 affirms: “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you”. The believer’s life is to be a constant overflowing of thanksgiving for all of God’s daily benefits to him, even as we follow the example set by the Master Himself.
Jam 5:16b-18 “… The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man [born again believer, imputed with Christ’s Righteousness] availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.”
Gal 4:6-7 “Be careful [or anxious] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.