Not a popular topic among Bible study groups, but well-worth noting.
Paul’s final exhortation to the remaining faithful few in the Body of Christ was to suffer hardship like a good soldier (2 Tim 2:3).
Paul didn’t tell us to be like a soldier in all ways. He didn’t say go about waging physical warfare or capturing kingdoms from neighboring nations. He instructed us to have the mindset of a soldier.
Like a soldier prepares himself to suffer in battle. So must Christians (particularly men) prepare themselves to suffer for the sake of the truth.
Because those who stand for truth in this age will suffer. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be burned at the stake, imprisoned, or tortured. But it does at least mean the present establishment… the churches, the schools, the mainstream media, and maybe even your employer… will not like what you are doing and will attempt to silence and shame you.
This age calls for a certain kind of man. This age calls for a man who embraces suffering… or, to paraphrase Ryan Holiday, this age calls for men who embrace the obstacle as the way.
This age calls for men who choose not to feel harmed by this persecution, because they were expecting it.
We need men who can steady their nerves in the face of adversity.
We need men who can control their emotions rather than react with passion to provocations.
We need men who can stay standing after being attacked, because they realize it’s not as bad as it felt on the first blow.
We need men who can embrace persecution as a meaningful part of their story rather than seeing it as pointless suffering.
We need men who can let go of the things they cannot change, and get to work on the things they can.
We need men who can look at the work in front of them instead of worrying about some future conspiracy.
We need men who can recognize, from the Scriptures, what needs to be done and put it into effect.
We need men who can turn persecution to their advantage by finding the upside of every attack.
Unfortunately, this kind of man is a rarity today. Men today are not trained to endure hardship. Instead they are trained to grow up to be Nice Guys who do everything can to avoid hardship.
But you can train yourself for battle. It all starts in the mind. I recommend starting here.
(As an aside, a man who can endure hardship is sexually attractive to a woman. So it is possible to both obey God and get laid at the same time! Score.)