2 Timothy 2:3-13 3 You therefore must endure[a] hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. 5 And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. 7 Consider what I say, and may[b] the Lord give you understanding in all things. 8 Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, 9 for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11 This is a faithful saying:
For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. 12 If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.
Insight is a casualty of the modern age. The ancient mind had more opportunities for thinking. We seldom walk when we can drive, The contemplation of yesteryear has given way to the frantic hurry of today.
But here we must stop: we are commanded to reflect on what Paul has said, so that God might give us insight. It is a conscious effort. You must stop and consider the examples Paul has given you, for each one shows you something about your Lord:
· On the question of endurance he cites the soldier. Paul tells us that the endurance comes from wanting to please your commander. Those who have soldiered know how important that is; in units with high morale, such efforts are expected. So, you see that endurance is neither drab nor glum; rather, it is a high and exciting thing—high morale goes with great sacrifice.
· For obedience he cites the wrestler, the athlete. You might think this would be better placed with the soldier, but it is not. To a soldier, obedience is an immediate thing. To an athlete, obedience is the discipline required to be in condition to compete. It is not "right now" but "constantly." So we see that our obedience to Christ is a constant striving to do his will.
· Sometimes we get the picture that those who serve Christ in this world will only be rewarded in the next. Your Lord knows better than that. The illustration is that of the farmer—who works for months to see a reward that comes rather quickly. Reward in this world; reward in the next as well, for the laborer is worth his paycheck.
Perhaps you did not see these points; perhaps you saw others. There is no lack of wisdom for those who reflect upon the Scriptures. There is also encouragement; even if we die for Christ we shall live with the Risen Lord. Our endurance now brings in a kingdom of priests, reigning with him.
But beware: do not treat his faithfulness as an idle thing. If you disown him, he will disown you. He is faithful, not blind. So we should read the Scripture not with haste but reflection, so that He might grant us more insight.
Lord, we know that you will give wisdom freely to those who ask for it. Open our hearts and minds so that we might receive what flows so freely from you.