“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.”
(2 Timothy 2:1-7 ESV)
When I’m reminded of the call to be a good soldier of Christ Jesus, I like to think of myself as one of the Navy’s Seal Team Six, the elite military group that made news by killing Osama Bin Laden. They’re the best of the best … highly trained, super tough, and thoroughly committed to accomplishing their mission, regardless of how dangerous.
But all too often, I think I’m more like a civil war reenactor. I’m a weekend warrior with a homemade uniform. Sure, I’m putting on a good show, but I’m play fighting with a weapon that shoots blanks. Once the “battle” is over, I hop back into the minivan and drive back to my civilian comforts and diversions.
Truth is, I’m in a battle that never ends with an unseen enemy taking pot shots at me. I am a soldier, and so are you.
By the grace of God, let’s endeavor to be good soldiers. Let’s aim to please our commanding officer. Even when we run away from the battle, the Lord will find us, as he found Gideon hiding from the Midianites in a winepress. And God’s messenger will likewise say to us, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.”