2 Timothy 2 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Cynthia Peng, Gracepoint Berkeley

In what ways should a Christian be motivated by the things that motivate a soldier, an athlete, and a hardworking farmer to “endure hardship”?

What are the things that motivate a soldier, an athlete, a hardworking farmer?

Good Soldier

Soldier – love for your country, strong belief in/agreement with your ideology and people, commitment/oath made to sacrifice your life to defend your country, the brotherhood among soldiers, relationship with general/captain Athlete – the prize/gold medal, the honor, relationship with coach and not wanting to disappoint the coach that invested in you Farmer – survival of family who are dependent on the crops   As a Christian, I should be motivated by these same things to “endure hardship” in my Christian life in the following ways:

  1. Love for country, strong belief in/agreement with your ideology and people -> love for and wholehearted agreement with the truths of the gospel message.
  2. Commitment and oath made -> when I made my decision to follow Christ, I uttered that same kind of oath that I have made Jesus my Savior and Lord and I committed to surrendering my life to him and I cannot ever go back on my word.
  3. Brotherhood among soldiers -> in the same way my life is intertwined with fellow brothers and sisters so it’s not just an individualistic call to endure hardship but I need to hang on and keep persevering because there are others in my life counting on me.  If I ever give up, the kind of discouragement ripple effect that would take place would be too sad.
  4. Relationship with general/captain/coach –> just as a soldier or athlete would not want to disappoint their general/captain/coach, I would not want to disappoint God either.  I know how much God loves me and how much he wants to root for me and so I know that if I don’t endure hardship, it would break his heart.
  5. The prize/medal and honor -> Just as the athlete pushes through all the difficulties of training and competition for the honor of winning, I need to persevere in my Christian life for the crown that lasts forever, the honor that will be awarded me not on this earth before the eyes of men, but before my waiting Father who will welcome me home that day when I’ve finally made it.
  6. Survival of family who are dependent on the crops -> as a Christian, I need to see my role in this kind of life and death scenario too in the sense that people’s eternal lives are at stake.  Just as a farmer who doesn’t work hard would lead to his family starving, if I am just a passive Christian, I would also be letting people around me die of spiritual starvation because they did not have a chance to hear and respond to the life-giving message of the gospel.

I think this message of enduring hardship is very timely these days because life has been busy (with NSWN, logistical responsibilities at church and people ministry) and will only get busier as we are only 2 weeks away from New Student Welcome Night.  Even now though, at times it does feel hard and I am in desperate need of perseverance.  At times my body and my emotions and my mind take turns trying to convince me to just slow down, rest and stop working so hard, or avoid hardship altogether. But reading these words from Apostle Paul reminds me that Christian life is supposed to be hard, there is hardship we have been called to endure as believers.  And looking at the list of reasons above on why I need to endure, I see again the importance of what I am doing.  This message combined with yesterday’s DT on the amazing grace of God that has entrusted this gospel to me, spurs me on to persevere.

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