Paul returns to Antioch visiting the recently planted churches and encourages them by “reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.”
This does not mean that suffering hardships is our ticket to salvation or sanctification. We should not seek suffering thinking it has some cleansing power.
It also does not mean there is only hardship in discipleship. Many times, Paul urges the church to “rejoice, again I say rejoice.”
It does not mean the opposite either, that we are to avoid hardships as if hardships are punishments for sin.
Paul is simply being honest about the life of a disciple. Much like walking the Roman roads in his days meant you will be walking through hills and valleys, deserts and cold climates, the life of obedience to the King means opposition from the kings of the world. First, one faces hardship well by being ready for it without judgment.
Secondly, one faces it best by simply walking through it and not letting it become a detour.
When hardships come, we must remember our destiny, God’s Kingdom, and simply keep going forward.
We can get strength to keep going by remembering Paul’s words. We can speak encouragement to others by reminding them of God’s kingdom.