In 2 Timothy 2:3, the Apostle Paul writes to Timothy, “Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.”
Everyone, at some point or another, faces suffering, the soldier especially.
However, it is not so much what we suffer, but how we suffer that matters. The way our heart responds to suffering is crucial, because by it we will either advance or become stagnant.
- To suffer like a good soldier is to willingly endure all for the sake of the call.
- To suffer like a bad soldier is to grumble when difficult situations and hardship arise.
Instead of throwing our lives into what God has called us to, we can try to hold on to our lives, wanting to get away with as little suffering as possible, paying as little price as possible. We have forgotten that we are under the orders of our Master and that we willingly gave up our lives.
Christ’s Example of Suffering
Christ lived with the expectation of suffering. Throughout the Gospels, He repeatedly referred to the suffering that He would face. In the Gospel of Mark, He said, “The Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected” (Mark 9:12).
Jesus had the mind that with His call came suffering. But unlike many of us, He did not despise it. He willingly accepted it. In the Garden of Gethsemane the night He would be betrayed, Jesus cried out to God saying, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39).
Jesus had the mind and readiness to suffer if that was what the Father appointed for Him.
Having the Mind of Christ
We are told that our attitude toward suffering should be the same as Christ—“As Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind” (1 Peter 4:1).
What is our attitude? When you have been serving non-stop without anyone saying one word of appreciation and someone asks you to do something more, do you complain in your heart, saying, “I don’t want to do it. I need to rest. This life is too hard”?
Peter said in his letter, “to this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21). Without this mind to suffer, you are not qualified to serve the Lord.
You see, without this mind to suffer, no one can last long in the kingdom of God.
- When we don’t have this mind in us, then the moment that suffering comes along, we can become angry and despondent and our work and love for the Lord cease.
- But if you have the mind to suffer, when faced with hardship and trial, lack of money, food, clothes, rejection, loneliness, pain and all kinds of challenges, you will not shrink back, because within you dwells a heart to suffer.
Dr. KP Yohannan, founder and director of the nonprofit organization Gospel for Asia, has written more than 200 books, including Revolution in World Missions, an international bestseller with more than 4 million copies in print. He and his wife, Gisela, have two grown children, Daniel and Sarah, who both serve the Lord with their families.
Gospel for Asia is a nonprofit organization serving the “least of these” in Asia since its beginning in 1979, often in places where no one else is serving. Gospel for Asia supports national workers who are serving as the hands and feet of Christ by ministering to people’s needs so they can understand the love of God for them for the first time. Gospel for Asia is engaged in dozens of projects, such as caring for poor children, slum dwellers and widows and orphans; providing clean water by funding wells; supporting medical missions; and meeting the needs of those in leprosy colonies. Through Gospel for Asia’s Bridge of Hope Program, tens of thousands of children are being rescued from the generational curses of poverty and hopelessness.
Click here, to read more articles on Patheos by Dr. KP Yohannan Metropolitan.
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