Endurance: Remaining faithful to God, despite the most difficult times

2 Timothy-2--1-4

Recently I thought of the power of a single word:

The power of a single light

Like a cloven tongue of fire

To shatter the darkest night

The word was “endurance,” the subject of a teaching by Dr. Charles Mellette of Christian Provision Ministries in Sanford, NC. The teaching objective was to help believers remain faithful, despite hardship. The focus was on 2 Timothy 2:3-4 (KJV):

Thou therefore endure hardness, 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.

He went on to define “endurance” in this way: the ability to follow and trust the Word of God when something difficult takes a long time to resolve. Believers are encouraged to remain faithful to God, despite the most difficult times.

Dr. Mellette shared three “Principles to Build Endurance”:

  1. Choose to accept that God is greater than any person you know:

Romans 8:31-32 makes known this profound truth in the face of opposition:

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

The Psalmist also declares:

Psalm 118:6

 The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?

Psalm 27, my favorite psalm that I committed to memory as a teenager and still recall today as a source of great comfort in the midst of the challenging times in which we live, provides this encouragement:

The Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear. The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid.

The second point was expressed in this way:

  1. Choose to pray for the right people to be involved with you, not the people whom you necessarily want to be involved with.

He encouraged believers to be aware of people who have the power to influence you, those who exert an overwhelming push in a direction, whether good or bad.

I thought of the exhortation in 1 Corinthians 15:33:

Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

The verse is rendered this way in the Amplified Bible:

Do not be so deceived and misled! Evil companionships (communion, associations) corrupt and deprave good manners and morals and character.

The teaching closed with this reminder:

     3. Choose to rejoice in the Lord

This final point brought to mind a recent blog entry in which I focused on scriptures related to “joy and rejoicing”:

Philippians 4:4

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.

The New Living Translation puts it this way:

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!

Paul’s exhortation to rejoice is clear, as the same sentiment is expressed in 1 Thessalonians 5:16:

Rejoice evermore.

These scriptures are simply a reiteration of Psalm 118:24:

This is the day the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

As I went over my notes and reflected on the teaching, I recall this original poem which was dedicated to a US retired Army veteran who had served our nation in a most admirable manner:

Endure Hardness as a Seasoned Soldier:

 Take [with me] your share of the hardships and suffering

[which you are called to endure] as a good (first-class) soldier of Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 2:3 (Amplified Bible)

 

Endure hardness as a seasoned soldier, so said Paul.

Be ever steadfast and continue to give your all.

When you heard the call to serve, you were first to enlist.

When you saw the need, you were so willing to assist.

In strength you ran through a troop and leaped over a wall.

 

You confronted every challenge, whether great or small

And aided fellow soldiers when they happened to fall.

Though situations change, never give up but persist.

Endure hardness as a seasoned soldier.

 

The Lord provided and protected through each close call,

So you must finish your race, even if you have to crawl.

Though troubles surround, God promised to be in the midst.

When enemies attack, continue to stand and resist.

Though some may disappoint you, continue to stand tall.

Endure hardness as a seasoned soldier.

 

The Dust to Glory Band closes this blog entry with “Soldier of the Cross.”

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