2nd Timothy – Endurance in Ministry
Up Close and Personal with the Apostle Paul Series
2 Corinthians 11:23-28 (KJB) 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.
I think you will agree, apart from Christ, the Apostle Paul is the epitome of endurance n the New Testament. He has proven he had spiritual stamina given of God to stand strong in ministry despite his ever-changing state of affairs. Though he was buffaloed by unexpected roadblocks, held captive in prison, booted out of cities, pummeled with rocks, experienced shipwrecks and other formidable dangers, and was even left to die. God saw fit to reward his never fluctuating faith by preserving him in many adverse situations encountered throughout his missionary journeys.
Certainly, you would also agree that many pastors and missionary families in this modern age of grace rarely or ever face such heated persecution and opposition as did Jesus Christ or as the Apostle Paul faced in ancient biblical times. Nonetheless, these often-horrific events were recorded for our study and learning. Perhaps to give us insight into potential desperate situations yet to be experienced in presenting God’s message of truth as this world continues to wax worse so our light for God can shine brighter and brighter as evil flourishes.
Only God knows what lies in wait on the horizon of tomorrow. All a child of God needs to practice is placing trust in Him allowing Him to take care of the details of life. The Apostle Paul handed this valuable instruction down to Timothy to stand strong like a soldier (2nd Timothy 2:3-5). Certainly, Timothy must have witnessed and marveled at the extraordinary faith at work in Paul’s life through his many battles in the hills and valleys of life.
Perhaps reading these verses about a soldier will cause you to think for a moment about military troops stationed far away from home, possibly in the middle of a desert, who at any moment who can face enemy fire or hand to hand combat from foot soldiers or even the sudden advancement of an opposing army. This scenario is familiar and can be a great tool for reaching the heart of folks who have personally served in our armed forces. Or know a loved one who has served overseas in a hostile area.
God always places important spiritual truths and details on the bottom shelf for a man to both appreciate and apply in his life. He did just that with young Timothy by using the familiar experiences in the life of Paul, who faced many known skirmishes in serving God in areas not friendly to the message of Truth. Paul was inspired to write Timothy offering encouragement and direction to remind him the importance of standing strong in the power and presence of God, just as this young man had witnessed firsthand from serving alongside Paul in his journey in witnessing for Christ.
Paul urged him to remain strong in the grace of God:
2 Timothy 2:1-3 (KJB) Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. 3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
Not only does God provide His spiritual army with grace and supernatural strength, but He promises them a sound mind (2nd Timothy 1:7). A mind that has been reformatted or disciplined with the spiritual soundness only offered of Christ. This new mindset filters out foolish thoughts and erases a natural mindset of complacency, wickedness, and proliferation of evil at work in this world.
Paul urged his young friend Timothy to remain strong and spiritually stable by standing in the supernatural power and presence despite his circumstances in this world. Paul’s ministry stood as a marvelous illustration of a mentor, a preacher, a missionary and a servant, and ultimately giving all the honor and glory to God.
How fortunate we are to serve a God who is able without limitations (Ephesians 3:20). Jesus Christ was willing to face and finish the battle on Calvary. We, like these servants Paul and Timothy, can look at any circumstance of life through the lens of eternal victory because Jesus Christ has already won the final battle (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). The spiritual war is finished, and sincere children of God can stand now in victory (1 Corinthians 15:57-58) whether in this world or in death. Though opposition stands boldly at every corner in this world, every sincere minister and missionary can count on his reception of certain victory in Christ!
**In the next devotion in this series Up Close and Personal with the Apostle Paul we learn about the importance of holiness, sober-mindedness, and chaste living as a person identifies with Christ. These truths are taken from lessons in the book of Titus expressly for pastors and applicable for laymen aptly titled A Servant of God.
A Sound Doctrinal Ministry