greet prisca and aquila, and the household of onesiphorus. erastus remained at corinth, and i left trophimus, who was ill, at miletus. [2 timothy 4:19-20]
paul ended almost every letter with greetings and personal communication to brothers and sisters in the church. the end of his letters were a shout out of hope, encouragement, and direction to warriors in the faith he deeply loved. to us, i am sure the end of his letters are a quick read of names we hope no one ever names their kids. to paul’s readers, these were nuggets of gold from a fellow warrior and friend they had not seen in quite some time and might never see again. why did he include these endings that were so personal? realize, these letters were passed to many churches to be read.
i believe God was doing two things that were needed for his body.
- the individuals receiving these words needed these words. they needed to be reminded their perseverance in the war mattered. God never wastes HIS words. these are the words of God; yes, through the heart and pen of paul, but they are God’s words.
- we need these words. we need to be reminded how vital fellow warriors are in our life and how they need and we need their encouragement through the Word of God.
several times through 2 timothy we have been reminded we are in a spiritual war. that we are in a war is not a metaphor. this life is not like a war, it is a war. hear the military, battle language, and the call and reminder of war …
i am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me. [2 tim 1:12]
share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. [2 tim 2:3]
if we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful – for he cannot deny himself. [2 tim 2:11-13]
and the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. [2 tim 2:24–26]
but understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. [2 tim 3:1]
indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. [2 tim 3:12–13]
i have fought the good fight, i have finished the race, i have kept the faith. [2 tim 4:7]
but the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the gentiles might hear it. so I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. the Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. [2 tim 4:17–18]
remember, you and i are in a war.
who do you call a fellow warrior? who is in the battle with you, praying, encouraging, enduring, showing love, and speaking truth?
how are you encouraging them through the words of God, reminding them and calling them to endure and persevere in this war?
this morning, let’s go to war. let’s pray and encourage through the Word. you may have a battle plan in your mind already. if so, carry it out. get to the battle and pray and encourage others this morning. if you need some direction, i have offered some below. but here is my last word that i believe is straight from God’s heart: every day we are called to engage in the battle. some day it is a battle for thanksgiving. some day it is a battle for the dark places of our heart. some day it is a battle for a friend’s heart and mind. some day it is a battle for the soul of one we love. every day is a battle and every day the battle is different with one common denominator – you are called to the battle. so, don’t make today unique. don’t go to battle this morning and forget tomorrow is a battle. let’s go to battle! today, tomorrow, and every day in the power of the Spirit through the work of Jesus Christ! let’s go!
- begin, with thanksgiving for the fellow warriors in your life. say thank you to our King. thank him for their love, encouragement, prayers, and more.
- this morning, right now, send them a text, write them a letter, or email, or call them. however you wish to do this, write them a note of thanking them for being a fellow warrior in this fight and then encourage them to endure. remind them that their perseverance matters. it has mattered in your life and it matters in other lives. they need to hear this i promise. we all wonder if it matters.
- finally, ask God for more fellow warriors. you may be thinking, “i don’t have many or any.” (i want to encourage you to think hard before you declare that statement as truth in your life. the enemy is warring right now to get you to believe that lie.) but, you can ask for more. do that now. and then, reach out and begin to go to war for another. we find more fellow warriors by going to war for them first.
LORD, gird us for war today. may we put on your full armor and join the battle full of love, breathing prayers, and speaking thanksgiving and encouragement. give us the courage to beg for more warriors and to reach out to them. LORD, fill us today with your perseverance. remind us, it does matter. remind us, you are with us, standing by us, strengthening us for the fight. in Jesus name, amen!
– john ryan