We will all face suffering for being Christians. Some live in countries where you can die or be tortured for being a Christian. Others lose business because of their loyalty to Christ. And others lose friends or are talked about behind their backs. We know that if we die with Christ, we will also live with Him – and that begins now as we “die” to our old lives, and are willing to suffer for and with Him.
We need to remember, too, that our suffering is not only for the Name of Christ – it is also for the lost. Paul said he is willing to endure ANYTHING if it will bring salvation to the lost. Do you have that same passion? Are you looking for the lost, arranging your time, and willing to suffer as long as it would mean someone would know and love Jesus?
The most amazing thing is that suffering can actually bring us closer to Christ, and give us more joy. Let us be willing to suffer for the lost, and for Christ our Lord. If we follow the teaching of God in this letter – to be bold and unashamed for Christ – we will face suffering.
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New Living Translation
A Good Soldier of Christ Jesus
1Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus. 2You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.
3Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. 5And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. 6And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor. 7Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you understand all these things.
8Always remember that Jesus Christ, a descendant of King David, was raised from the dead. This is the Good News I preach. 9And because I preach this Good News, I am suffering and have been chained like a criminal. But the word of God cannot be chained. 10So I am willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen.
11This is a trustworthy saying:
If we die with him,
we will also live with him.
12If we endure hardship,
we will reign with him.
If we deny him,
he will deny us.
13If we are unfaithful,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot deny who he is.
14Remind everyone about these things, and command them in God’s presence to stop fighting over words. Such arguments are useless, and they can ruin those who hear them.