Good Soldiers of Christ – 2 Timothy 2:1 -26
Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
Make no mistake about it – hardship will come to those who align themselves with the Kingdom of God. Paul doesn’t talk about if hardship would come, he simply assumes that it will come. After all, the Kingdom of God was brought about by the very Son of God enduring extreme hardship for our sake. If we will be like him, then it’s certain that we will also endure hardship.
Paul also spends quite a bit of energy in this passage talking about maintaining our focus, and not being distracted by quarreling, godless chatter, or foolish arguments. He suggests that the soldier in Christ’s army must not get involved in the distractions of this world, but focus their attention on whatever the Commanding Officer wants from them.
If we maintain our focus, then the hardships become easier to endure. Like an athlete who relentlessly pursues her goal, we must relentlessly pursue Christ and becoming like Him. If that is truly our primary goal, then so many of the distractions, obstacles, and hardships will begin to fade away.
Hebrews 12:2 reminds us to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art–
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
– Traditional Irish Hymn, trans. by Mary E. Byrne