Soldiers of Christ Jesus

2 Timothy 2:1-2 ESV

“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.”

Do the trials of this life ever get to you? Communications break down. Misunderstandings take place. Feelings get hurt. Relationships struggle or they fall apart. People hurt one another, either accidentally, or on purpose. Families are in trouble. Disasters happen. The world falls apart at the seams. Life is not normal. Freedoms removed. The church is dispersed. Fellowship is not happening. Loneliness sets in. And, Satan attacks.

You want to cry, but the tears don’t come. You feel weak. You feel discouraged. You may even begin to question God or yourself. And, you don’t know what’s next. You don’t know what steps to take. And, fears may begin to flood your mind and your heart. So, what do you do?

You surrender it all to God. You pray. You ask him for guidance and counsel. You ask God to search your heart and to reveal within you any way in which you are lacking in faith or in trust in God’s sovereignty over your life. And, you lean on Jesus for your strength and support, when it is depleted. And, you put your life in the Lord’s hands, and you let him supply all that you need to survive, and to persevere, and to continue in his love and grace.

And, then you keep sharing Jesus with everyone who will listen. And, you keep telling them about his grace, his love, and his mercy, and how he died to deliver us out of our bondage to sin, and how he empowers us to live godly and holy lives for his glory and praise.

And, then those who truly receive his grace into their lives will tell those whom they know, and those whom they know will tell people that they know, and the message of the cross will spread, and many people will come to faith in Jesus Christ.

For, you see, Satan wants us discouraged. He wants us doubting God and ourselves, for he wants us to retreat and to not be sharing the truth of the gospel with others. For, he doesn’t want it to spread, for he doesn’t want people to be delivered out of their slavery to sin. Therefore, we need to be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus so that we don’t give up, and so we don’t run away, but so we remain faithful to spread the Good News!

2 Timothy 2 ESV

“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.”

We need not fear suffering. We shouldn’t be afraid of being hated, or having evil spoken against us, or having people fight against us when we share with them the truth of the gospel of our salvation. We must not fear their rejection of us or their cutting remarks or their threats. And, we must not be afraid of what they will do to us or against us because we dared to tell them the truth which can set them free from their prisons.

And, as far as civilian pursuits, several things come to mind here, the first of which is the institutional church. We are not to follow the ways of man but the ways of God. We aren’t to see the church as a business to be marketed to the world like any other business. We aren’t supposed to blend in with the world, and to immerse ourselves in our culture to connect with the people of the world. We are to come out from the world and be separate.

And, the church is not to be a spectator sport or an entertainment venue that is friendly for the whole family. For, the church is us, the body of Christ, comprised of believers in Jesus Christ, and we are supposed to operate as a family, caring for one another, ministering to one another’s needs, praying for one another, fellowshipping together, and using our individual gifts for the building up of the body of Christ to maturity in Jesus Christ, our Lord.

And, the other civilian pursuit is politics. Too many Christians are so busy taking sides regarding which human candidate they think is going to “save us” from what ails us as a nation. But Jesus is our only Savior! No man is going to rescue us. And, the way to change this nation is not by arguing politics, which may be a total farce, anyway. But the way we are going to save our nation is by sharing with people the full gospel message which can deliver them from their addiction to sin and fill them with peace and joy.

2 Timothy 2:8-10 ESV

“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

Because Jesus Christ suffered for us, we can endure unjust suffering for the sake of the name of Jesus, and for the sake of his gospel. And, he is our example in how to respond to unjust suffering, and in how to endure it, too.

For, Jesus was not only hated, rejected, persecuted and killed for his testimony, and for the things that he did and said, and because of who he is, but in his death he who knew no sin became sin for us. That is the ultimate in suffering that he took our sins upon him, so that he bore our sins in his death on that cross so that we could go free from our slavery to sin.

And, we have to be willing to bear up under unjust suffering to see others be set free from their prisons, too, even if it takes a very long time before they surrender their hearts to Jesus and truly make him Lord of their lives.

2 Timothy 2:11-13 ESV

“The saying is trustworthy, for:

“If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
for he cannot deny himself.”

The one thing that we can count on in this life is God’s faithfulness. He will be faithful to who he is and to what he has promised and to what he has said that he will do.

But we need to understand what those promises are, for many people today are claiming his promises for themselves when they don’t apply to them. And, that is largely because they take them out of context, and they apply them in ways that are not true to Scripture.

So, if we want to live with Jesus for eternity, we must die with him to sin, and to do so as a matter of practice in our walks of faith. And, we must endure in our walks of faith, too. We must abide in Christ, and we must continue in him, and we must walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh if we want to be saved from our sins and to have eternal life with God (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Lu. 9:23-26; Jn. 15:1-11).

But, if we deny (reject, contradict, refuse) him by choosing the path of sin, instead of the way of holiness, he will deny us. We won’t have eternal life with God in heaven, but we will be facing the fires of hell, instead (Gal. 5:16-21; Gal. 6:7-8; Eph. 5:3-6; Rom. 2:6-8; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17).

Yet, no matter what we do, God will remain faithful to his word, which is comforting to those who are following him with their lives, but which brings no comfort to those who are walking in darkness, who are denying the truth, and who are choosing the path of least resistance rather than the way of holiness and righteousness. For the easy way is not the best way. The easy way is the broad road that leads to destruction.

But, for us who are suffering for righteousness’ sake, and for the sake of the full gospel of our salvation, knowing that God is faithful to all his promises to us should bring us enormous comfort. And, it should strengthen and encourage our hearts so that we can keep pressing on and not lose heart when the trials of life pound at our hearts’ doors.

He’s Been Faithful

By Carol Cymbala
The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

Every Word He’s Promised Is True
What I Thought Was Impossible
I’ve Seen My God Do

He’s Been Faithful, Faithful To Me
Looking Back, His Love And Mercy I See
Though In My Heart I Have Questioned
Even Failed To Believe
Yet He’s Been Faithful, Faithful To Me

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12 thoughts on “Soldiers of Christ Jesus

  1. This seems to go along with something I read earlier today, where a persecuted believer in another country commented that the problem with the Church in America is that so many people want the power without the Cross (suffering). I admit I struggle with it – “Dying to self” is such a daily thing!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, Annie, that person is sadly correct. They want the resurrection and the life without the death to sin first. And, yes, dying to self is most certainly a daily thing. I know that all too well. Yet, we must!

      Like

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