Today, we as American Christians are often wimpy when it comes to hardships. We often perceive our small and comparatively petty problems as major acts of martyrdom for Christ. In other words…when we face even the tiniest bit of sorrow, disappointment, rejection or set back, we often complain to others, fight depression on a personal level and battle the temptation to throw in the towel regarding our Christian walk and callings. In the process, we show how truly immature we really are, while in some major and even third world countries, men and women often grovel in dimly lit, underground or backroom hideaways for one glimpse of a single page of the Holy Scriptures, and face the constant threat of life and limb if caught engaging in Christian activities or professing the Christian faith. We on the other hand get upset and gripe if things are presently not going our way, or if someone didn’t treat us quite fairly.
Somewhere along the way, Pastor Timothy must have felt a great deal of self-pity himself, as the emperor Nero was persecuting Christians even unto death. By the second writings of Paul to him in 2 Timothy, Christians were fleeing from the church by the droves in order to avoid capture, trial and being killed by the Roman authorities. Timothy was complaining, and as a result, Paul rebuked him for his grumbling and gave him that faithful reply found in the 2nd Chapter and 3rd & 4th verses of II Timothy… “Thou therefore, endure hardness (hardship,) as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 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. ” Timothy comes to realize, being a Christian or even fulfilling a Christian calling, does not entitled you to an easy road, that in fact, suffering hardship will be required to please God.
While it is true, that we American Christians love to throw our pity parties, we should learn to endure hardship as good soldiers of Christ and always remember that if we are called to do the work of the Lord, in order to reign with Christ we must suffer with him. We need to stop our grumbling too because it only hinders our promises from arriving on time, as the children of Israel experienced in the wilderness. Today, many Christians could not receive the rebuke that Paul gave Timothy and would be further offended that he was not offering sympathy and support. It is sad to say that many contemporary believers are far too thin-skinned, to endure such strong instruction at this point in their Christian walk. They would pickup up the phone to tell someone or post here on facebook how utterly cruel and uncaring Paul had been with his words. Yet, Timothy was mature enough to realize that Paul’s words were life to him and that the last thing you need when struggling with your purpose, is for someone to agree with you about how pitiful you are.
It is time that we genuinely grow up and stop letting the trials and lessons of life distract us from the reason we’re saved. After all, our purpose, call and destiny, is not about Him pleasing us but about us pleasing Him!
Blessings, Dr. Larry Hinson