“You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.” 2 Timothy 2:3-4
Sometimes we will face hard-times. Endure it through Christ. Too many Christians are living a lie. What are the lies?
If you’re a Christian, you are not supposed to be sad.
If you’re a Christian, you should never doubt.
Instead take every concern to God in prayer.
Pray for your weaknesses.
If you’re a real believer, you wouldn’t feel down.
Sometimes things are not going well–don’t feel like you have to put up a front.
When you need prayer, ask for it.
Then become a listener, not a gossiper.
A listener should be someone you can trust.
Only a trustworthy person can keep confidences.
Nobody is flawless. Everybody has weaknesses.
God holds the same standard for everybody.
Get free today. The people you are trying to impress have no power to put you in Heaven or Hell
Another myth is that Christians don’t get depressed.
When this happened to David, David encouraged himself in the Lord.
YOU BETTER KNOW HOW TO ENCOURAGE YOURSELF.
You can be down, but don’t stay down.
What is endurance? Endurance means you have learned how to last.
Endurance means to suffer patiently and to tolerate.
Have you ever had to tolerate certain people? Even people you love?
To tolerate, you must have tolerance.
Sometimes you have to endure a difficult process.
For instance, consider a car wash. There are several steps to get the car clean.
Sometimes we want to be a strong Christian without going through a process.
The key is WHEN YOU GO THROUGH IT, DON’T GIVE UP.
Don’t let the enemy distract you with discouragement.
Sometimes you did not do something wrong, you did something right that caused the enemy to attack or accuse you.
One area of endurance is PAIN. Sometimes we have to learn how to endure pain.
Most people want to avoid pain. In life nobody wants to go through pain.
But in this life, we will experience some pain.
It can come through sickness, family loss, a break-up, broken marriage, friendships break up, etc.
Some friends don’t want to see you do well. They try to find fault.
There is pain from without and pain from within.
2 Timothy 2:11-13 – This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.
Some pain can be profitable. This applies to childbirth. No baby comes without the pain of delivery.
When Job went through his ordeal, he was tested because he was righteous. He lost everything, but got double back for his trouble.
Some parents want to rescue their children from every painful situation.
If you rescue your child every time they face difficulty, you set them up to be weak or spoiled.
We can’t shield our children from everything.
But when you go through a test you may be surprised at how strong you are in the Lord.
See a painful time as a time to get close to the Lord, and have a memory with the Lord that no one can take away from you.
Discipline from the Lord comes to strengthen you, not destroy you. The pain has a purpose.
Sometimes we have pain when we have unanswered prayer.
God knows what’s best. God sees the bigger picture and He knows what to do to produce the best result.
God doesn’t want us to be proud, so He gives us balance.
2 Corinthians 12:7-11 New King James Version – The Thorn in the Flesh
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.11 I have become a fool in boasting; you have compelled me. For I ought to have been commended by you; for in nothing was I behind the most eminent apostles, though I am nothing.
PAIN CAN ALSO BRING A CHANGE. WE DON’T ASK FOR IT BUT WE SHOULD LEARN FROM IT.
The Lord rewards faithful endurance.
THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT YOUR PAIN CAN BRING SOME GAIN.
After you learn, you can help somebody else.
1 Peter 5:10-12 New King James Version
But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Don’t focus on the past–what you used to do, how things used to be. Older people tend to do that. Most of their life is behind them. This type of thinking can lead to regret. Younger people focus on the future. They are focused on what they want to achieve and do. Most of their life is ahead of them. This can keep you too busy and live life like you’re on a treadmill. God wants us to focus and press toward Him NOW!
The enemy wants you to be so busy that you don’t have time for the Lord.
Everyone must stand before the Lord and give an account. All the things we strive for here, have no value. Don’t try to mimic what you see on social media.
Trying to maintain focus takes you away from what’s important to God.
Even being busy evangelizing for God can be a distraction. Don’t forget to focus on your family.
The Lord will send you out to minister to one person. Everyone is not called to minister to large crowds.
Success is spelled–“JESUS”
John 3:3 New King James Version – Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
If God is not in your heart, you are a failure. Your soul is already scheduled for destruction if you do not have Jesus in your life.
God will let a word come at you or send you a dream to get you back on track. He can use anything in your environment to draw you. The Lord is focused on you. He wants to give you salvation.
We have to deliver whatever mail (message) the Lord gives to us–even if that message makes someone uncomfortable.
If someone is on their way to Hell, they need to be uncomfortable now so they can avoid destruction.
Don’t focus on your FLESH NOW–what you can eat, spend and feel!
Focus on following the Holy Spirit and enjoying the NOW times while you can. Enjoy your children. Spend time with your family. Obey the LORD NOW.
Enjoy the NOW moments with God.
Are you focusing on the Lord NOW?
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.” John 4:34
The Road of Distractions is wide and leads to Hell. It is sin highway. Narrow is the gate that leads to eternal life.
Matthew 7:13-14 – “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
If it’s popular with the world, it is probably not with God. Sift every choice through the Word of God and stay on the NARROW ROAD.
If you want to run the race for the Lord, you must trim down and keep on the full armor of God.
Stay in your lane. What are you doing in the world’s lane instead of staying in God’s lane?
You can make it in Christ is you stay on the Narrow Way.
Distractions come in many forms. The enemy has tailor-made distractions fitted just for you.
Learn how to recognize the “fit” of the devil.
The number one distraction the enemy likes to use is improper relationships.
God loves relationships, but it must be done the right way.
Chasing paper is another fitted distraction of the enemy.
We must be in the world but not of the world. Know when to be satisfied with what you have.
For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 1 John 2:16
Another distraction is career or a business. Know that no matter how faithful you are, an organization will let you go and replace you. Don’t make your career or employer your master.
Don’t be distracted by “playing church”. BE A REAL CHRISTIAN.
How can we focus on the Lord?
Incorporate the Lord and His principles in ALL YOU DO.
Apply kingdom principles in your life.
For example if you are a parent, train up a child in the way they should go. (Proverbs 22:6)
If you are a business person, do your work as unto the Lord. (Colossians 3:23)
If you are a child of God, win souls.
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who wins souls is wise. Proverbs 11:30
What good are all the riches if you don’t have God. Some of the richest men on earth are really poor. King Solomon was one of the richest men on earth and became distracted by women. He finally realized this and says…
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all.” Ecclesiastes 12:13 New King James Version
Focus Scripture: “I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” (Psalm 34:1)
When King David brought the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem, he danced with all his might.
We must learn to bless the Lord.
Anybody can bless the Lord when things are going well, but can you bless him when things are going bad or when things are delayed.
You must praise God THROUGH loss and not turn back to the world.
Don’t change dance partners and dance with the world instead of God.
Everybody doesn’t respond to trials the same.
Consider Job. He lost everything and still gave God the glory and the praise. (His wife did not. She said, “Why don’t you curse God and die?”
Make up your mind to praise God through ALL circumstances.
Job responded, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”
WE CAN BLESS THE LORD BY…
Giving the Lord our heart and our life.
John 1:11-12 New King James Version – 11 He came to His [a]own, and His [b]own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the [c]right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
You must give God your allegiance. If you had to choose between God and your cell phone, which would you choose. EVERYDAY we are making choices. They may seem small, but each choice indicates our loyalty. Give your WHOLE HEART to the Lord.
Matthew 22:37 New King James Version – Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
Walking in truth.
3 John 1:4 New King James Version – I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
Every parent wants to see their children tell the truth. God wants us to walk in truth even when it cuts. If you don’t receive truth, you are rejecting truth. Jesus is the TRUTH.
Sometimes we don’t want to tell the truth because of what people may say.
Some people don’t want to tell the truth because they don’t want to lose their reputation.
Sometimes we don’t tell the trust to maintain a façade.
Sometimes the façade is a lie. (A façade is an outward appearance that is developed to conceal a lesser unpleasant reality. Why be a glorified fake when you can be an authentic original?)
Your children can be going through things and saying they are fine. Be watchful and prayerful so you can help people.
Pray for discernment.
Work on being more truthful.
Get rid of the façade and stop trying to please people.
God is the ONLY one who will love us ALL THE TIME for who we are.
Love is when you tell people the truth in love and with a heart of compassion.
Don’t allow “telling the truth” as an excuse to vent. That means what you said was true but your motivation was wrong.
Tell the people the truth with the right spirit (gentle, humble spirit).
3. Loving the Lord and loving your neighbor.
Matthew 22:38-40 New King James Version – 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”