2 Timothy 2:3-4 (ESV)
3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.
In Hebrew, the word for hardness is "kosher". Interestingly enough, the word "kosher" also means "fitness", as from a workout in the gym. Yes -- it's a workout to serve the Lord in this world -- but God has called us to it!
These days, many people are working out intensely to beautify and strengthen their bodies. A lot of them are obsessed with appearance and youthfulness. It has virtually become a religion to be beautiful and/or "ripped", and people are willing to make serious sacrifices for the sake of their bodily condition.
Believers are called to a different kind of "workout" which can be equally or even more intense. Our "obsession" isn't with our bodies, but with our spirit. It is easy and "natural" to become caught up in the affairs of this life, even to adopt the worldly obsession with physical appearance. Yet our "workout" calls us to minimize the attention we give to worldly affairs, and to endure the hardness of spiritual warfare and service.
Are we aware of the reality of the eternal life which belongs to us, and of ALL its implications? Our life in this world is incredibly short, yet filled with tremendous opportunity for the Lord and our place in the world to come. If we want to please Him, (and we ought to think about why we would), we will make the most of our time, and work out with the greatest spiritual energy possible. That will involve saying no to worldly priorities and concentrating on spiritual ones.
If we have been chosen to be soldiers for God's great army this is no small thing! We will increasingly disentangle ourselves from prioritizing worldly pursuits, and be seeking first the things of the Kingdom of Heaven. When we do that we have two promises: earthly provision for all of our needs [Matthew 6:23], and treasure in Heaven [Luke 18:22]. Let's get free from the cares of this life and get focused on eternal blessings!
Dear Lord, help us have our focus on the things that are eternal. Help us to please You in all the things that we do. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.