Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.2 Timothy 2:3(HCSB)
Paul's life is getting near to its end and he has experienced many different kinds of hardships and sufferings in His life – for the sake of the gospel of Christ. He was told at the start of his ministry that he would suffer many things for the name of the Lord Jesus, and what a catalogue of trials and tribulations have been listed in his various epistles.
Now, as his life draws to its close, Paul is reminding his spiritual son, Timothy, of the key elements in his teaching that are so vital to sound spiritual growth and development. Timothy is encouraged to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, to take to heart the many nuggets of wisdom and teaching that he gained from his teacher, Paul, and to pass on this truth to other trustworthy believers who are also strong in the faith so that the good news of Christ Jesus will continue to be spread abroad, throughout the world, to the glory of God.
Then comes the reminder that trials and tribulations, suffering and pain, is all part of the course of a mighty man of God. Timothy is encouraged to be disciplined when facing such difficulties in the same way that a good soldier is obedient to his military commander. Because Christ is our Commander–in Chief we are encouraged to be obedient to our calling and are expected to face hardships with the same discipline as that of a military man - for we do not fight again flesh and blood, but against spiritual principalities and power in heavenly places. The badge of a disciplined soldier and faithful steward is suffering, for Christ Himself learned obedience through His suffering and Paul was an example of a man that endured suffering for the sake of the gospel.
We do not have to go on long missionary journeys, spend time in prison, or pastor a church to enrol in the army of believers that endure suffering like Paul, in order to become a good soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ. But our life will be filled with suffering of some kind, if we are living for the Lord, as Jesus Himself promised.
Let us learn obedience through suffering, and let us endure hardship with patient endurance in the place where the Lord has placed us so that we can join the army of Christ as a good and faithful soldiers and servants to our life's end. For suffering is often the badge of honour of a faithful man or woman of God.
Loving Father, thank You for the example and teaching of Paul. I long to be the person that You want me to be, in the place where You have put me. May my love for the Lord Jesus be such that I rejoice, like the apostle Paul, to endure suffering for the sake of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, in Whose name I pray, AMEN.