Join with me in suffering

This chapter keeps finding its way to my eyes. It is a reminder to not focus with quarrling with the world. Quarreling doesnt lead to conviction. It doesnt lead to Christ. We are to handle the world with gentle instruction always living with hope that a seed was planted. It is up to each person to decide if they will disown Him or not. Quarreling wont change that.

This time, though, one verse popped out to me:
“Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus”
I hate that word. Suffering. Why in the world would I want to JOIN someone in suffering? I dont want to invite suffering into my life!! Then the Spirit guided my thoughts to an understanding. We certainly dont have to invite suffering into our lives for it to make a dramatic appearance, but being a follower of Christ does present a unique set of struggles. We must deny our flesh when we really want to argue with others, turn away from sinful things that distract us, and hold on to a truth the world tries to lable as wrong or even judgmentally hateful and not inclusive. In any and all suffering we are to join together in Christ. We are to suffer with Christ as He did on the cross. He never took His eyes off of His end results. He never took His eyes off the joy that would be set before Him when it was finished. During His time of sorrow He still asked for God’s will to be done even knowing what that will was about to do to Him. He didnt turn to alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, food, etc..to dull the pain. He suffered for us so we can have a savior to walk us through the pain and has endured every ounce of pain we could ever come across. Have you ever tried to talk to someone about a problem that they have never experienced? About a pain they know nothing about? They can say all the kind words they are supposed to say but how does that compare to speaking to someone that has experienced that pain and more, endured it, and lived in joy on the other side of it. It is a whole different conversation isnt it? All suffering has a purpose. I know. I know that is hard to hear. Whether you believe in Christ or not…you will have suffering. For believers, when we join Christ in that suffering…when we take Him our suffering and lean on His love, guidance, and will through it. When we keep our eyes on the joy set before us as Christ did. We grow. We endure. We find peace amongst the suffering. Joy even. I dont want to talk to you about suffering. But when I talk to you about how Christ is right there with us giving us strength. That nothing is without a purpose. That God can be so trusted that you can walk through this fire and not even smell like smoke. That, because of Christ, you dont need what the world has to offer to get you through the suffering. You can overcome it and be a victor over it instead of a victim of it. Well…that’s a whole different conversation, isn’t it?

2 Timothy 2
New International Version
The Appeal Renewed
2 You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. 3 Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. 5 Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. 7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.

8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

11 Here is a trustworthy saying:

If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
12 if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
13 if we are faithless,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.

Dealing With False Teachers
14 Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”

20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.