Lord, as I come before You, I pray that You would open my heart and teach me all that is in Your heart for me today.
Read: 2 Timothy 2:1-13
 You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  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.  Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.  No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.  Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules.  The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this. Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel,  for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained.  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. Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him;  if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.
Reflect: Are you prepared to suffer? What do your decisions reflect?
Is a Christian exempt from suffering? For Paul, the answer is definitively no. Paul is neither shy nor apologetic about what it looks like to live for Jesus. He invites Timothy to “join with me in suffering” (3). As much as we might want a Christianity without suffering, it simply is not biblical!
Our salvation was won through Christ’s death on the cross. As followers of Christ, we cannot expect to live without difficulties. Paul does not focus simply on what he is enduring at this moment. He knows that there is another side to the coin of suffering. On the other side of death is life (11). On the other side of enduring is reigning (12). But on the other side of disowning is being disowned (12)!
Paul is reminding Timothy, and now us, that there is more to live for. We live to obey the King of kings and Lord of lords. Following him means we live according to his standards. We press on amid difficulties and suffering.
For Christians, life is not just about what we want. We have a higher authority to obey (4,5). Will we follow Jesus?
Ask the Lord to speak to you today about what it means to live wholeheartedly for him.
Lord of glory, You are true to Your Word. You are faithful to reward our obedience.