2 Timothy 2:3
You therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
Here the apostle is not thinking of the soldier on the field of battle engaged in conflict with the enemy. His exhortation to Timothy is not to fight well, but to endure, or, as the same word is rendered elsewhere (2 Timothy 1:8), to suffer affliction well. He thinks of the soldier being drilled and disciplined for the fight. As a prisoner at Rome he would be, very probably, a daily eye-witness of the severe training through which the emperor's troops had to pass. These were good soldiers of Caesar. They were true patriots, laying upon the altar of their country their very lives. Now Timothy was, like the apostle himself, a soldier; but the soldier of avery different King from Caesar, and had a very different warfare to wage than such wars as the Roman soldiery were so frequently engaged in. He was the soldier of Jesus Christ.
I. Let me remind you THAT THERE IS HARDNESS TO BE ENDURED BY ALL OF US. Christianity means to-day as it always did, continual cross-bearing. The word "duty" has still a rough edge. For example, here is a Christian merchant who has so many shares in a concern which he has for some time back had good reason for thinking is in a rather shaky condition, and an opportunity occurs for his selling out, and that at a good price. Just at present a few hundred pounds in hard cash would be of immense service to him in his business. But no, he won't sell. He means to be the true Christian gentleman, and he feels that that he cannot be and sell as good that what he has his doubts about. Yet it is hard, especially if one can see at his back a wife and so many daughters inclining rather to be extravagant, and who cannot appreciate "father's scruples." This is his cross, and as a good soldier of Jesus Christ he bears it. Come what may, he will be honest — will not finger a shilling that does not come to him lawfully. I think, then, that in the region of commercial morality those of us who belong thereto will find occasion for the exercise of the precept, "Thou, therefore, endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ."
II. Let me see if I can give the true word of direction; if I can at least indicate to you THE SPIRIT IN WHICH WE ARE TO ENDURE. I think Paul does this himself for us. We are to endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. That is, we also, like Timothy — and like those good soldiers at Rome which Paul saw — are to take to our task kindly. We are not to despise the cross that is laid upon us. We are not to run out of the way of duty. We are not to rebel when our Master chastens.
III. Let me see if I can say anything THAT MAY HELP TO STIMULATE US TO DARE AND DO THE RIGHT, So that we may not repeat the mistakes of the past which have brought to us so much misery and unrest. Observe, then, what Paul says — "As a good soldier of Jesus Christ." That is, as a soldier under Jesus Christ. Think of that name — Jesus Christ. Can we for a moment suppose that He would give an unkind command or put upon us an unnecessary burden? Jesus! Why the name suggests all that is kindest, and noblest, and gentlest, and truest. But there is one other thought here I should like to take up and lay upon your hearts, "As a good soldier of Jesus Christ" — that is, of Jesus Christ as our Leader. He is not the Master to say "Go." His way is always to say "Come." The heaviest cross ever borne was that which He bore.
Parallel VersesKJV: Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.