When Paul wrote this letter to Timothy, he gave advice to the young leader of the church. Paul recounted the perseverance that Timothy showed while he travelled with Paul on his missionary journeys. He recounted some of the persecutions that they encountered. He then reminded Timothy that, if he wanted to live a godly life, he would face more persecution.
This has a practical application for us today. Some of us have been Christians for years. We may be Sunday School teachers, deacons, or even pastors. We may not hold a position in the church, yet we may be recognized by many as a leader in the church. Regardless of our place in the church, we will face persecution.
Some persecution is less harsh than others. For example, a friend giving us the cold shoulder when the conversation turns to Jesus is easier to shrug off than being tortured for our faith in another country. However, in both cases the one who is persecuting needs to be reached with the Gospel.
What can we do? We can know that persecution will come. We can do our best to prepare ourselves to endure it when it comes. We can pray that the Holy Spirit will give us strength when it does come. We can be determined to love our persecutors. We can choose to use our circumstances as an opportunity to spread the Gospel. When we determine to do this, Jesus wins!