Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Christians often like the world hates the thought of suffering. We run from it, dreading to endure any un-pleasantries. On the surface we can’t find anything good in suffering or hardships. Where is the good in pain, anguish, distress, misery, agony, torment, and affliction in other words suffering and hardship? God is a God of love; He seeks to give us joy, pleasures evermore. So why does He instruct us to endure hardships as a good soldier? What are the benefits of suffering? Mature Christians have learned it is in our suffering and endurance God does some of His best and enduring work in us. It is in the hard times we seek God with a passion, we lean in close to Him, stretching beyond our limited capacity to be near Him. It is in suffering we come to realize God is God. It is in hardships, pain, misery, and anguish we come to know God is “I AM”. Like a good soldier in suffering I need to follow orders when they come from my Captain, the Lord. The good soldier understands she will be covered by the Lord, trusting His plans for her life will set her upon a path of righteousness. She knows God’s orders are for her better good.
A good soldier is always ready to be shipped out whatever the assignment. It does not matter what the work order entails, I have to put my fears behind me, pack my bags and report for duty. Like Sarah, she listens to the head, even if it takes her into godless territory. (Genesis 20:1-18)
A good soldier understands the word selflessness, meaning I am ready to put the needs of others before my own. She is very much aware she must keep the agenda of the kingdom uppermost, it is her center and she fully understands life is not about individual parts but the whole body.
Though she is bound by chains of distress, afflictions, torment and pain the good soldier continues to preach the Good News. She preaches to the nations-family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, associates and believers though I suffer I endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory. I will stand with the Lord until my suffering is turned to joy, my distress soothe, my afflictions removed, my troubles a distant memory. A good soldier endures until the battle is over, “if I perish I perish”. A good soldier is not like the raging waves tossing to and froth but is faithful until the end, showing forth her salvation by living faithfully knowing God is ever in control. A good soldier endures conscious her God is preparing her for greater smaller things, every good work.
A good soldier keeps her eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed - that exhilarating finish in and with God - he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. (Hebrews 12:2 MSG) We endure hardships because the reward is priceless, far outweighing every pain, anguish, distress, misery, agony, torment, and affliction, eternal life with God.
Deeper Personal Study
2 Timothy 2:2-14
Lord, being a good soldier is not always easy. I know in my suffering You are growing me, teaching me, preparing me, I pray for your strength which will help me to endure. I recognize Christ suffered much more for me, help me to be like Christ keeping my eyes on the reward, He brought me salvation, help me to live out my salvation by standing and enduring, showing myself faithful like a good soldier of the cross. In Jesus enduring, everlasting Name I pray. Amen
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