Lesson #3: Endure Suffering (2 Timothy 2)
Suffering is inevitable for all Christians. As Christ suffered, so will all who follow Him. We must anticipate suffering, prepare for suffering, and endure suffering when it comes. In regard to the suffering that Timothy faced, Paul exhorted him with these words:
You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus...Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! Therefore I endure suffering for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. – 2 Tim. 2:1-3, 2 Tim. 2:8-10
Christians are all to share in suffering, remembering the suffering that our Lord endured for our sake. Christian leaders are to endure suffering for the glory of God, with full assurance that God is at work through our suffering.
When you suffer, remember that Christ himself suffered in every way that we have. As the author of Hebrews writes:
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – Heb. 4:15-16
In every way that you find yourself tested and tempted, know that God Himself can not only understand your struggle, but he has overcome such a struggle, and he empowers us to live in victory over sin and suffering!
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