Tip #5: Persevere (2 Tim. 3:10-15).
One of my new favorite movies is Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. The entire movie is, as you can imagine, a very bad day! A kid decides he’s had enough with his family being so happy while he suffers in middle school, so he makes a wish that his family could understand his pain. Well, sure enough, Fate twists its crotchety hand and messes up his family’s day. His father lights himself on fire while wearing a pirate costume at a job interview. His sister loses her lunch during her play performance. His mother gets Dick Van Dyke mad at her. And his brother knocks over all the trophy cases in the school after his girlfriend breaks up with him. It’s hilarious—but at the same time, so pitifully true to my life! You ever feel yourself having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day?
Such days will come to all of us—I guarantee it! Or wait, my friend Paul guarantees it! And believe me, that poor guy knew what a bad day was like! In fact, he may be the King of Bad Days. In 2 Timothy 3:11, he talks about his persecutions that Timothy observed—you know, when he was stoned and left for dead? #NBD
But he doesn’t end with the list of places he’s been attacked. He finishes with, “And out of them all the Lord delivered me.” Paul was confident in God’s provision, come what may. But note how he continues:
“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them…”
Continue! So Paul urges his young mentor Timothy. Come rain, hail, snow, snakes, cockroaches, and the devil himself…you just keep going with the things I’ve taught you! Why? Well, because Paul had showed him how to do it! Paul had endured all that kind of stuff—yes, and every godly person will. He had made it—and so could Timothy!
That’s the kind of example you should set with your mentor. We millennials often get discouraged—this persecution thing isn’t confined to any certain generation. ALL godly people will face it. You need to prepare your young mentor for it. And how can you expect him to continue in the midst of threats when he’s seen you cave yourself?
Not to sound like a stalker, but we’re watching you. We millennials are watching you older men in the ministry—we want to know how you hold up under pressure. We want to know if you cave in on doctrine. We want to find a good example of perseverance. So do it! Keep going when trials hit—and they will, below the belt! Keep pressing on—keep moving forward—keep continuing (is that repetitive?). You can do it!
Oh, wait…I’m not the one to give you a pep talk. But I know Someone Who can. Someone Who endured this whole long race of life, with trial after trial and no water breaks…and then sat down at the right hand of the throne of God! Talk about a success story! The Bible tells us, in Hebrews 12:2-3:
“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.”