Paul told Timothy that he must endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. And this is an exhortation that we need to hear regularly.
It is far too easy for us to forget that we are at war. Scripture makes this point often. But it can still surprise us. The kingdom of God has not yet been consummated. So, we still live in the time of Christ’s advance and the world’s resistance. It is easy to forget this point when you live in such a blessed community. So don’t make the mistake that is often made by very good high school football teams. They crush the competition without much of a fight. And this is great for what it is worth, but good coaches start to get nervous. He knows that what the boys really need is to face an opponent who is taller, stronger, and faster than them.
Here’s the application. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that implementing the principles of Scripture in your life is going to be easy. “Ah, but we’re postmill,” you say. Yes, and that is wonderful. But the advances we make in postmillennialism are much more like the advances we made in the D-day invasion than they are the advances one makes down a lazy river.
We are in a war. You are a good soldier of Jesus Christ. And that means you must endure hardship. You must suffer distress, pain, and loss.
But, as you endure hard things, remember that they are not pointless. You suffer as a soldier in the kingdom of God. And that kingdom is coming in power on earth as it is in heaven. As the Puritans would say, “The way down is the way up, to bear the cross is to wear the crown.”