"Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier" (2 Timothy 2:3-4)
One of the familiar biblical figures for the Christian life is that we are like soldiers in an army. The weapons and armor are spiritual, but the demands and the discipline are very real. Like military soldiers, we cannot let ourselves get tangled up with the affairs of civilian life. Our obedience must be directed solely to our commanding officer, "the captain of |our| salvation" (Hebrews 2:10), the Lord Jesus Christ.
Furthermore, we must be willing to "endure hardness." This is one word in the Greek, used almost exclusively in the New Testament here in this final letter from the apostle Paul before his own martyrdom. He referred to his own situation with the same word, indicating it aided the gospel. "Wherein I suffer trouble |same word|, as an evil doer, even unto bonds" (2 Timothy 2:9). Paul had been taken a prisoner of war, being sentenced to die as one fighting the state, simply because he was preaching the truth. He even had identified himself as "his prisoner," bound by "my chain . . . ready to be offered" and to give his life for Christ (2 Timothy 1:8, 16; 4:6).
And what he was willing to do, he urged young Timothy also to be willing to do. "Watch thou in all things, endure afflictions |same word|, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry" (2 Timothy 4:5). Paul would urge us today, as he urged Timothy, to be willing to endure such things for Christ, who suffered for us and has chosen us to be with Him. The motivation for such willing endurance of hardship is not the prospect of conquest or reward (though these will indeed become realities one day), but simply that we "may please him who hath chosen us." And for those who truly love Him, that is more than enough! HMM