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.”
The Lord’s Army
When I was a child, we used to sing a song about being in the Lord’s army, and the song came with hand and body motions to illustrate the words to the song. As a child, though, I had no comprehension of what it means to be in the Lord’s army, or any army, for that matter.
I have two sons, though, who served in the US military, one for four years, and the other for 12 years which included one deployment to Iraq and three to Afghanistan. And as soldiers, it was their job to obey their commanding officer. And the one who served 12 years was put through all kinds of hardships and nearly died at one point. He was exposed to all sorts of difficult circumstances, but he belonged to the army and he had to do what they told him to do, no matter how bad things got some times.
And as I think about this idea of us being soldiers of Christ in his army, and I think about my son who served 12 years, and all the things that he went through in service to his country, I am now getting a much more clear picture of what it means to be a soldier in our Lord’s army.
Also, we are in a war, but it is not a physical war fought with physical weapons, but it is a spiritual war fought with the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20). And our primary enemy is not a physical human being but an evil spiritual being, i.e. Satan (or the devil). And he has an army of demons who work for him, and he has humans who work for him, too, and so these, too, are our enemies. But, again, this is spiritual warfare, not physical warfare, so even our human enemies we do not battle on a physical level.
In fact, the Scriptures teach us to love our enemies, and to pray for them, and to do good to them, and to say to them and do for them what is beneficial for them. But we can reject their lies and we can speak the truth in love to them, which is what is good for them, too. We should never be mean to them or hateful, but always loving and kind, but never to the point to where we compromise the truth of the gospel in order to not upset them. We should always speak the truth in love.
We are God’s Possession
Now, when a person signs on with the military, the military now owns him. It is the same with us when we trust Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives. Now we are God’s possession, and he is our Lord (Owner-Master), and now we are to serve him with our lives in obedience to his commands (New Covenant). Our lives are no longer our own to be lived however we want, for Jesus bought us back for God with his shed blood so that we would now honor God with our lives.
And we are promised, as well, that we will face many hardships and difficulties, and that we will be hated and persecuted as Jesus was hated and persecuted. And we will have human enemies who will come against us and fight against us and oppose us, who may also try to trick and to trap us in their deceitful schemes, and who may falsely accuse us of wrongdoing, and who will reject, cast aside, and otherwise want nothing to do with us. But all of this is that we might share in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings, becoming like him in his death.
But let me tell you something here. Not all enemies are all that obvious, and they aren’t all obviously on the opposing side. Sometimes we have enemies within the ranks, i.e. sometimes it is those who call themselves our brothers and sisters in Christ who turn against us and hate us and say all manner of evil to us and against us and who oppose us strongly because we are teaching the truth of the gospel of Christ they don’t want to accept. I mean, that is who Jesus’ enemies were – his own people and his brothers.
So all of this is part of sharing in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. And another aspect of this is that we are not to get entangled in worldly pursuits, but we are to live to please our Lord and Master. For he called us to be his holy people, and to be holy is to be separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are becoming like Jesus Christ in character.
And then this shifts to athletes and farmers, but the message is the same. Basically, we have to obey our Lord. We have to do what he says to do. And we are to live our lives to please him. And we must walk in holiness and righteousness, and not in sin if we want to receive eternal life with God. For, yes, there are rules we must follow. They are our Lord’s commands. And they are listed for us all throughout the New Testament writings. And yes, we do have to work the works God prepared in advance for us to walk in them. For if we don’t, we will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
So, I recommend that you read over these Scriptures following here, and pray over what they are teaching, and if you want to know the truth, so that you can follow the truth, the Lord will give you understanding.
[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
I Pray for Them
An Original Work / June 4, 2013
Based off John 17
“Glorify Your Son, that Your Son
May glorify our God in heav’n.
Father, You granted Him all power
And all authority over men,
That He might give eternal life
To all those whom now
You have given Him.”
“This now then is eternal life:
That they may know You,
Father, and Your Son;
That they may know the only true God,
And Jesus Christ whom the Father sent.
I have brought You the glory by
Finishing the work that You’ve given Me.”
“I have shown You to those whom
You gave to Me out of the world;
They were Yours. You gave them to Me
And they have obeyed Your words
And they accepted them. They knew
That I came from You, and they believed
With certainty, I was sent.”
“Holy Father, I pray for them by the
Power of Your name: Protect them,
So that they may be one as we are,
For they are still living in this world.
I have given them Your word;
Because of Your word, the world
Has hated them.”
“I pray they may have the full measure of
My joy now living within them.
Father, I pray You sanctify them
By Your word; truly Your word is truth.
As You sent Me into the world,
I send them to tell the world to repent.”