Andy Hollifield 9-25-17

2 Timothy 2:3-4 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.

Hard—-difficult to do or accomplish; fatiguing; troublesome. difficult or troublesome with respect to an action, situation, person, etc…difficult to deal with, manage, control, overcome, or understand: involving a great deal of effort, energy, or persistence

Hardness—-unfeelingness or jadedness; callousness. harshness or austerity, as of a difficult existence.
Numbers 21:4 And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way.
Let me begin by giving you a list of words: fight-107, fought-64, fighteth-3, fighting-3, war-225, warreth-1, warring-3, warred-9, warfare-5, battle-170, battles-6, soldier-5, soldiers-30. These are all words and how many times each of them are in the bible. I list these to help make the point that we aren’t on a stroll through the daisies on the way to heaven, we truly are in a war. We will be in this war as long as we are in this flesh. I have mentioned this recently either in writing or preaching; we will cease to be in a war when we draw our last breath in this life or when the Lord calls us out alive by rapture. Until then, there is a fight going on. Sometimes it seems like we do have a difficult existence as in the definition of hardness. When you look at the definition above of the word “hard” it sounds real descriptive of the Christian life. It really would be that difficult and troublesome if we had to live it on our own. I am thankful that we are not in a fight we have to win. We are in a battle that has already been won and all we have to do is show up to fight. Christ won the victory when he died on the cross at Calvary, rose from the grave, and ascended back to the Father presenting his blood for the remission of our sins.
This scripture in 2 Timothy 2 is a counselling letter of sorts from Paul to Timothy in preparation for Paul’s death. The old preacher is giving godly wisdom and advice to the young preacher. As I read verse 3 the thought occurred to me: What makes a good soldier? Paul opened the chapter by telling him to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” He then tells him to teach faithful men so they can teach others. In Titus chapter 2, Paul puts a big emphasis on the older men and women teaching the younger men and women what it takes to be godly men and women. Then he told Timothy something that doesn’t set well with us; he told him to endure hardness. I know that there are people reading this that are and have been in some hard places in your life. In some difficult circumstances or situations that are hard to understand that makes for a pretty difficult existence. It is our nature to like to have everything easy and no one enjoys hardness but there are times that hardness is the only way that God can accomplish his purpose in us. It is often the only way we can learn some things that God wants us to know. It isn’t just that he wants us to have certain knowledge but that we would have it to help others get through their hardness. He went on to tell Timothy to endure hardness as a good soldier. You don’t have any reason to be called a soldier if you aren’t prepared and equipped to fight. That hardness we go through today will also make us stronger for the hardness that will come our way in the future. The next verse is what really peaked my attention. “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.” I believe Paul is telling Timothy to not only “don’t sweat the small stuff” but also not to get too wrapped up or disturbed by the things of this world. The reason is because if we get bogged down, we won’t be able to please the one that chose us to be a soldier.
With all of that said, many of you are in that place right now. Right in the midst of those circumstances and situations in your lives that you just can’t understand. Endure hardness. It is a sure sign that you are a good soldier for Christ. The good thing is that you don’t have to endure the hardness by yourself. Not only do you have Christian brothers and sisters to help you, but you were chosen to be a soldier by a captain that has never lost a battle. If we look at the life of Christ, we have no reason to think that we will sail through life without any hardness. Jesus constantly had hardness in his life. He was always faced with ridicule and unbelief regardless of what he did in front of their eyes. Verse 13 even covered those of us that have a tough time believing that God is still in control. We may not admit it, but when those circumstances come to our house and our life, we find out just how close to God we are. Paul told Timothy that even if we believe not; God still abides faithful. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 5:7 “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” I am thankful that he is faithful even in those times when I can’t see him or understand what he was doing. We can rest in the fact that “all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28). All throughout the book of Job, his biggest trouble was that he thought God wasn’t hearing him because he couldn’t see God in the circumstances of his life. Even when it don’t seem like anyone is around or listening and God doesn’t seem to be in a million miles of you just keep on trusting him. It’s not gonna rain forever. The sun will shine in your life again when God sees fit. Meanwhile, he’s still faithful. All he asks of us is to be obedient to him and endure hardness as a good soldier. Wherever you’re at right now in your life and whatever you’re going through, he’s faithful. I have mentioned before one of my favorite scriptures is “it came to pass”. It’s temporary, it didn’t come to stay. It will pass but until it does just be faithful. That’s easy to say when you’re not the one in the heat of the battle I know. But have you ever seen a time when God wasn’t faithful? He may not of always done things the way you wanted but he is always faithful. Think of the blessings that Job got when his time of sifting ended. Look forward to how good things are going to be when God rolls back the dark clouds and intervenes in your situation. Endure hardness as a good soldier so that you may please him that called you into the fight. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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