“Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs;
he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if
anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s
crown unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking
farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.”
– 2 Timothy 2:3-6
Recently I have set some new goals and am working hard to attain new habits…exercising regularly, eating healthy, Bible Study, work goals, personal goals, and the list keeps going. But can I just say, I’M EXHAUSTED. Should the God-given assignments in my life really be this hard? If it’s this hard, is it truly what God wants me to do?
The answer is yes.
In this passage, Paul gives Timothy three examples to follow:
- A soldier whose goal is to please his commander.
- An athlete who follows the rules.
- A farmer who works hard.
By following these examples and being strong in grace (not our own strength) the blessing will come.
Dedicated effort will be rewarded.
Keep in mind that Paul was writing this from prison. I wonder if Paul had that thought cross his mind, “Surely I didn’t hear the assignment right. I’m in prison for crying out loud.”
Yet he writes, “If we endure with him, we will also reign with him.” Paul relied on the promise that his efforts would be rewarded. And because of that, he endured.
Maybe you are feeling the same way I was. God has called you to do something, but you doubt you heard him right because, surely, it shouldn’t be this hard. Maybe, now just a few weeks into the new year, that good habit you resolved to start (healthy eating, regular exercise, daily bible reading, weekly church attendance, or a new God given assignment) is on its way out the door. Whatever it is, you are wondering, should it really be this hard?
Just because it is more difficult than we could have imagined, does not mean that we heard him wrong. In fact, the difficulty of the situation may in fact be the proof that it is from God; most of the great things He calls us to are way beyond us. Think of this as an opportunity for God to show off his limitless power, and remember, we can endure. We. Will. Endure.
- Set your mind to pleasing Jesus first and foremost, like a soldier aims to please his commander.
- Follow God’s commands like an athlete who follows the rules of the sport.
- Work hard like a farmer. Don’t give up because it’s hard. You will reap a harvest if you endure.
Join the conversation.
What is your “thing” that has you wondering if it should really be this hard? How can we pray for you through this?