My best films are war films.

This is because I see a lot of illustrations of what Christianity is supposed to look like when I watch those movies.

For example, when an enemy unit begins to harass soldiers with artillery fire, I noticed that the soldiers will not run away because of the noise and the ferocity of the bombs dropping upon their positions. Instead, they dig in and hope that no errant bomb will fall upon their own trench.

Even though they would lose friends and colleague due to the explosions, even though it is painful to watch other men, who are your friends and colleagues die, without being able to do anything about it, they would not leave those trenches because they had been taught and trained to obey the last command (1Tim.1:18 NASB).

They have been trained to endure hardness and persevere under even the most gruesome circumstance until the victory is won (2Tim.2:4).

It is sad that what we have in the Church today is an army of civilians; untrained, undisciplined, unpatriotic and totally lacking in courage. At the first sound of battle, this army flees (Lev.26:36-37).

There is a modern teaching that is pervasive. It has become accepted in almost all Christian circles, but it is foreign to the spirit of true Christianity.

It is the false belief that the gospel primarily promises us happiness in this present world, with plenty to eat, fat bank accounts, continuously accumulating possessions and no suffering of any kind.

In fact, suffering as a Christian is particularly singled out as archaic, parochial, unbalanced and primitive, based on the 'incomplete' revelation of the early fathers of the Christian faith.

This heresy became popular with the rise of the 'New Generation churches' some thirty to forty years ago in Nigeria and the United States.

These new movements were discontented with the orthodoxy of the Orthodox churches and they felt they could do better.

As the years have passed, it is evident that basic doctrines like suffering for the cause of the gospel have been completely eroded.

Persecution for righteousness sake has been relegated to the background; with thousands of freshly minted Christians (some of whom have risen to become senior pastors in many 'newer' generation churches), viewing suffering of any kind as primarily the work of the devil.

I rejoice in my spirit that the fathers of the Christian faith left us with records of their own exploits, experiences, sufferings and testimonies of God's faithfulness to them in the midst of it all.

Thus, regardless of the current attitude or body language of the Church regarding the matter of suffering, we have chosen to align our beliefs with what the Lord Jesus taught and His apostles practised.

"Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." (2 Timothy 2:3 KJV)

"Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ " NASB

The first matter the Holy Spirit highlighted for me in this verse of scripture is this: "Thou therefore endure hardness…"

This is a very strong matter.

As early as the birth of Christianity upon this present world, we were ordered that we were not to be laid back, lackadaisical or spineless.

From the very beginning, we were told that Christianity is actually a spiritual armed force (2Tim.2:3, 2Tim.2:4, Eph.6:12, 2Cor.10:3-6).

Thus, upon any serious and genuine enlistment, we were given army uniform and weapons of offense and defense (the armour of God; see Eph.6:10-18, 1Thes.5:8).

Thus, one of the earliest injunctions from some of our elder brothers who also double as our Commanding Officers is this: "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ."

Can I tell you, Beloved, that you must be hard?

I am not talking of the hardness of sin or being hardened in the flesh.

Rather I am talking of being hardened against whatever salvoes of bombardments Mr. Sin, the flesh, the world system or even the devil throws against us.

We must not be men and women who crack under pressure as quickly as the first sign of opposition, afflictions, persecution or any other threatening thing appears (Matt.13:20-21).

We must be men who endure hardness as good soldiers of Christ; men who constantly look for and hastening the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:12).

 

Culled from the book: SUFFERING AS A CHRISTIAN

Published by: Reformation Platform Ministry