2 Timothy 4:5
5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
As children of God we must endure afflictions. They will come. Some of them may last many years. Some may even last a lifetime. However, it is important that we endure these afflictions with a godly attitude and a godly spirit.
2 Timothy 2:3-7
3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
4 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.
5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.
6 The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.
7 Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.
Enduring hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ is to recognize that you are in a war. A spiritual warfare and you are part of the soldiers of Jesus Christ and you must display a godlike character during these trials, tribulations, and whatever other hardships come your way. Listen carefully again no man that wars entangles himself with the affairs of this life. Why? So that he may please him who has chosen him to be a soldier. Furthermore we must do so lawfully. The manner of which God has both commanded and provided to us for instruction throughout his Word the Bible.
13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
It is a promise that we will have afflictions. However, we must endure these afflictions and suffer with Christ that we may be also glorified together at his coming. Whether we are suffering physical limitations or suffering mentally with something that may very well be a chemical imbalance in the brain or that something isn’t firing right in your mind or even working correctly, we must continue to not only endure these afflictions but continue to witness this gospel of Jesus Christ. I can say this to you with understanding because I experience chronic pain that has altered my life at this present time for 9 years and have experienced depressions, mood swings, and anxieties most of my life. Anxieties from my earliest memories and depressions, mood swings, and anxieties at this present time for 28 years now. The Apostle Paul said, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
19 And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead.
20 Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.
21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch,
22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.
The Apostle Paul was given a thorn in the flesh by God upon all the other sufferings that he suffered for the kingdom of God.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
That is the spiritual attitude that we are striving for while enduring afflictions. The Apostle Paul made these statements after explaining what he had been through.
2 Corinthians 11:18-30
18 Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also.
19 For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.
20 For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face.
21 I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also.
22 Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I.
23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.
24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?
30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.
Again the Apostle Paul has given to us the correct spiritual attitude we should have concerning trials, tribulations, afflictions, and infirmities. “If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.”
When God called Paul whose name was Saul of Tarsus Jesus told Ananias concerning Paul, “For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.”
13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
The Apostle Paul is not alone in the sufferings for the name of Christ. The New Testament is full of sufferings of tribulations and afflictions for the name of Christ. We as the children of God must endure afflictions and we must endure hardness as a good soldier of Christ! The Old Testament also has many examples of prophets suffering because God himself told them what to do and it involved suffering!
10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.
11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
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