Suffering as a Good Soldier of Christ

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.”

Being Strengthened by the Grace

All of us who are in Christ by God-given faith in Jesus Christ need to be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Amen? I need to be strengthened right now because I am sick. I caught a bad head cold Monday evening and I feel miserable. My whole face hurts! I am coughing and sneezing and I am congested and my throat hurts and I am having trouble sleeping and I just hurt all over. And my husband is sick, too, so we aren’t a great help to each other, though we are some help. But God is in control.

And sometimes we need to be strengthened emotionally and mentally and spiritually, too. For when we are sick physically it impacts us emotionally and mentally and it can impact us spiritually, as well. So, we need to especially draw on the strength of the Lord when our bodies are drained and our minds aren’t as sharp as they usually are and our emotions are weak and our bodies just want to stay in bed when the Lord has something else he wants us to do. And so we must submit to him and trust him to work.

Entrust to the Faithful

This is not just a man thing, though. Us women are to share with the body of Christ what we have heard from Christ during our times of devotions with our Lord. The Bible tells us that we are to encourage one another and to build one another up in the Lord to maturity in Christ, and we are to sing and to speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. And we are to exhort one another daily so that none of us are hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. And we are to speak the truth in love to one another, too.

Sadly, the way most church gatherings are structured these days there is not much opportunity for us to do what the Bible tells us we must do as the body of Christ in the way of encouraging one another in our walks of faith. And not many who call themselves Christians are actually open to this, either, for they are conditioned that the pastor does all the speaking, and/or the small group leaders do. And so they have not learned how to operate biblically as the body of Christ, with each part doing its work.

[Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-27; Col 3:16; Heb 3:13]

So, the Lord has put some of us on the internet where we can now speak to the body of Christ the truth in love, and where we can share our times of devotion with the Lord for the encouragement of the body, and where we can share songs or poems and Scripture verses and words of encouragement and counsel, and in the urging of one another to walk in obedience to our Lord and to forsake our sins. And this is where we can share the gospel of salvation with the world about us, too, in hopes that many will be saved.

Now we have no control over the results. All we can do is share what the Lord Jesus gives us to share and to put it on the internet or to speak it to people in person wherever and whenever that is possible. It is like the Scriptures teach that one plants and another waters but it is God who gives the increase. All we can do is obey the Lord, say what he gives us to say, and then let him take it where he wants it to go and to use it in other people’s lives according to his plan and purpose.

2 Timothy 2:3-7 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.”

Now, being on the internet and sharing what the Lord is teaching us from his word is not always well received or received at all. Since this doesn’t seem to be the norm within the gatherings of today’s modern churches, it is not always well accepted among other professers of faith in Jesus Christ. Some people might just think we are an odd lot, or they might think that what we are doing should be reserved only for ordained ministers of the gospel. But we are all called to proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light and to be light and salt on the earth.

[1 Pet 2:9; Matt 5:13-16; Matt 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; Acts 26:18]

Now, our relationship with Jesus Christ here is illustrated for us as a soldier with his commanding officer. And that is a good illustration, for just like the government owns its soldiers and they are now property of the armed services, we who believe in Jesus Christ are God’s possession and we now belong to him, and he is to be the one directing our lives, and we are to be obedient to what he says. So, our lives are to be dedicated to the Lord and to his service. And we are not to be entangled with the world.

So, if the Lord owns us, and we are his soldiers in his army, then if he says to do something we must obey. And if he says get out of bed when you are sick and to write down what he gives you to write and to put it on the internet so that a “runner can run with it,” then you need to do what he says, because you are his possession and he is your commanding officer. And when we see our relationship with the Lord in that light it changes how we see our walks of faith in Jesus Christ, too.

And if we all took such a view of our relationships with Jesus Christ we would all be sharing with others what Jesus is teaching us for the encouragement of the body of Christ, as a whole, and for the salvation of human lives. We would all be sharing the gospel of our salvation (the whole counsel of God) with the world around us and with those who call themselves Christians but who are not living for the Lord but who are still walking in sin. And that is because we would be seeing our lives with eternity’s values in view.

But when we step out in faith and we have such a view of our relationships with Jesus Christ when the “Christian” mood around us is mostly worldly, we are not going to be well accepted. We will largely be ignored or fought against or attacked or falsely accused, and I mean by others who call themselves children of God and followers of Christ. I still remember the man who stood in my living room yelling at me because I did not conform to the majority, for he believed the majority was right and I was wrong.

But we are called to share in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings, becoming like him in his death. The more we suffer for the sake of Jesus Christ and for his gospel and for the sake of righteousness, the closer our walks with the Lord will become, and the more serious we will be about holy living and living lives which are surrendered to Jesus Christ to do his will. So, we should not let this unsettle us, but we should praise the Lord that we are able to suffer for the sake of his name.

[Rom 5:3-5; Phil 3:7-11; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 4:12-17; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; Matt 5:10-12; Lu 21:12-19; 2 Co 1:3-11; Heb 12:3-12; Jn 15:1-11]

Fully Ready!

An Original Work / June 19, 2013
Based off Acts 20-22, 26; Mt. 28:18-20; Ac. 1:8

Why are you weeping and breaking my heart?
I’m fully ready to suffer for Christ.
If I must die for the sake of His name,
I am convinced it will not be in vain.
Glory to God and to His Son Jesus,
Who has redeemed us; bought with His blood.

May I speak to you? Jesus came to me;
Asked of me, “Why do you persecute me?”
He said, “Now get up and stand on your feet.
Go, and you’ll be told all I have for you.
I have appointed you as a servant,
And as a witness; you have been sent.”

“Go into the world and preach the gospel.
Open the blind eyes. They will receive sight.
Turn them from darkness to the light of Christ;
From power of the evil one to God,
So they may receive forgiveness of sins,
And a place among those who’re in heav’n.”

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