"You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Christ" 2Timothy2:3
Timothy had just been anointed to preach the gospel, but he was young. and one of his grandparent was a gentile. He had a long road ahead of him. Even in the next chapter of that letter, Paul warns of perilous times. He previous told Timothy to endure hardship as a good soldier. Preaching what would not be easy and he would have to fight the good fight of faith. The same applies to us believers of Christ.
Many of us aren't called to preach but we are called to advance the kingdom of God one way of another, and just as it wasn't easy for Timothy, Life would not be easy for us.
The word hardship is like the word friendship or relationship or citizenship. You can't have a friendship without friends nor can you have citizenship if you are not a citizen of some place. You have hardship when life is hard. In the NLT, suffering replaces hardship. I don't think God makes life hard for us.
When we go into battle (the reference to soldiers), our enemy will make life hard for us. He will throw whatever we can to stop us from advancing the kingdom. Paul instructed Timothy and us to "fight the good fight of faith."(1 Timothy 6:12)
Enduring hardship basically mean to suffer evil or trouble. If you look up the two words, they are one: Kakeopathos. Their concordance number is 2553. God is not the author of evil, but because there is sin in the world, evil prevails. The good news is God is fighting our battle. Paul wrote to the Ephesians that we just need the armor of God on and stand.
He trains my hands for war and my fingers for Battle."
There is a song by Phil Wickman I like called the Battle Belongs. (I will post the link below). The song talks about fighting on our knees. What is that called? Prayer. In David's day (when he wrote this Psalms), David fought as a warrior. He fought many battles, but he gave God credit for preparing him for war.
God prepares us for war, but not in the same way as David. Our battle is spiritual. "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds." Two "p" words comes to my mind when I read that and we could use our hands for that: prayer and praise. When we get on our knees, we use our hands to pray. We could also use our hands to praise. Have you seen in a service when people sing God's praises that they lift up hands? They also lift up holy hands to pray for people in authority. We need to do that. If we could see into the spiritual realm, you could see demonic forces at work. That's why our weapons are not carnal. It would defeat the purpose if we use weapons of this world. Paul wrote "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood..." (Ephesians 612) It is a spiritual battle.
So get on your hands and knees and pray. Pray in the spirit too. Use the language that God has given you because when you do, the devil in no way can use what you pray against you. He's clueless! Praise confounds him too! He wants us to look at our circumstances and think it's hopeless. So far he has succeeded with some but not all. Keep your eyes on Jesus then you won't drown in it. If we praise God IN everything, God will do amazing things for you.
One final note and so very important: Unity. This has been on my heart because the devil wants to sow discord. Scripture says that a house divided can not stand. In order to stand strong as one, we need to put aside our differences and see ourselves as one as Jesus is one with the Father.
Author of the Second Chance Series and owner of Unique Pen Press.