ESOCS Devotional 24 November 2022
TEXT: 2 TIMOTHY 2:1-13
MEMORY VERSE: “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.” 2 Timothy 2:3-4
0 And the apostles, when they had returned, told Him all that they had done. Then He took them and went aside privately into a deserted place belonging to the city called Bethsaida. 11 But when the multitudes knew it, they followed Him; and He received them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who had need of healing. 12 When the day began to wear away, the twelve came and said to Him, “Send the multitude away, that they may go into the surrounding towns and country, and lodge and get provisions; for we are in a deserted lace ”
Paul gives every Christian a wise counsel in these verses of the Scripture. He explains that the Christian race or the position of a minister of the gospel is not a funfair but a war affair. He likens a minister of the gospel and Christian to a soldier in an army. The commission of a soldier is not a comfortable one. It is an enterprise in which he must be ready to face serious challenges of all kinds. A soldier’s life consists of exposure to extreme unfavourable conditions while he is serving his country. Paul is saying that if a soldier in a secular army endures such terrible conditions because he is serving his country, a Christian soldier or minister of the gospel should be ready to endure even stiffer circumstances for the sake of Christ and the heavenly country, which is the kingdom of God.
Therefore, he reminds us that Christianity or the office of a minister of the gospel is neither a comfort zone nor a place of ease. We should be prepared for rough times. There are no easy times in a war scenario. There would be trials, temptations, and sever adverse conditions in our spiritual warfare. We should expect them, welcome them, endure and confront them with the attitude of a rugged soldier. In 1Peter 5:8, the scripture advises us to be at alert all the time, and also gives us the reason we should do so. It says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” Every soldier is always alert and ready to kill or be killed. It is not a jamboree. It is strictly a matter of business. This calls for caution, dedication, commitment, and discipline on our part as Christian soldiers.
In several places, Paul sets himself as a brilliant example of a Christian and a minister of the gospel who had faced terrible circumstances and did not allow himself to be discouraged. In 2 Timothy 3:10-11 he says, “But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra–what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me.” And then he makes the truth plain: “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (v 12). In Acts 14:19, Paul was stoned to the point that his assailants thought he had died. Therefore he counsels us thus:“Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (1Cor. 11:1).
Paul advises us to be strong and focused. We should not involve ourselves in the fruitless pleasures of the world. We are challenged to equally endure suffering with the triumphant saints, and especially with our Lord Jesus who is “… the author and finisher of our faith, [and] who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2). He is our perfect example.
- How will you respond in times of extreme trials and temptations?
- Pray that God may grant you the fortitude to endure trials and temptations.
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ESOCS Devotional 24 November 2022