If we endure, we will also reign with Him;
If we deny Him, He also will deny us.
The prophet Jeremiah demonstrated a life of endurance. In the face of pain, suffering, rejection, and persecution, he continued to proclaim the Word of God. He knew the greater reward that lay on the other side of suffering. This is precisely what Paul reminded Timothy and the other Christians in his congregation. They too faced persecution for proclaiming the truth. But, just as was true for Jeremiah, the cost of denying the truth of God was higher than any amount of suffering in this life.
If we are honest, Paul’s words in verse 12 probably make us uncomfortable. We don’t like to think about what it would be like for Christ to deny us. Yet, Jesus said that anyone who denies Him would be denied by Him before the Father (Matt. 10:33). We don’t get the luxury of proclaiming Christ only when it is convenient or comfortable for us. That is precisely what Paul wrote about because his brothers and sisters were suffering for their faithfulness to the gospel, and they probably fell prey to the same thoughts that Jeremiah had. If they just eased up on sharing the truth, no one would punish them for it anymore. But Paul reminded them of the reward on the other side of endurance. We don’t have to be perfect. We will fall short of faithfulness at some point (2:13). But if we know the truth, and willfully deny it and God, then we will not spend eternity with Him.
Obedience is costly, as we have seen time and again in Jeremiah’s story. But the cost of disobedience is ultimately higher. Paul helps us set our eyes beyond the struggle of this life. Though our pain and suffering can be all too real, if we endure it, we will experience first-hand the worthwhileness of doing so to be with Christ forever. We will experience His presence with us even in the midst of suffering as He lifts our head to see a time when all things will be made new. That is why we endure. That is why we proclaim God’s Word with a relentless pursuit.
• How do Paul’s words encourage faithfulness even in difficult circumstances? How do his words point us back to Jeremiah’s story and experiences?
• What promises of God help us endure difficult seasons? What promises remind us of His presence as we seek to be faithful?
• Thank God for His power to keep us as we endure difficult seasons. Thank Him for His faithfulness, even when we are faithless. Ask Him for a renewed sense of courage to endure when you want to give up.