Sunday, April 19, 2015


You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  (2 Timothy 2:3)

The Christian life is not a playground—it is a battleground.  This is not a game we are playing, but a war we are prosecuting.  Although it is a spiritual battle, it is no less deadly than if real bullets were flying and bombs were falling.  Paul, the old battle-scarred general, has come to the end of his commission.  Soon he will say, "I have fought a good fight."  For now, he is challenging young Timothy to take up the struggle against evil.

He first indicates the preparation for the battle that is necessary (2 Tim.2:1-3).  Boot camp is a necessary part of a soldier's preparation.  It would be foolish and certain death to go to war without going through basic training.  Likewise, this is true in the theater of spiritual struggle.  There is the need for readiness.  The Christian soldier who stands strong in the grace of Jesus is ready for anything the Enemy of our souls may throw at us.  He is equipped to face the foe.  God's grace is His supernatural source of strength.  In our preparation for battle, there is the need for readiness, but there is also the need for recruits.  An army always needs fresh recruits.  Paul had recruited Timothy, and now Timothy is to recruit other faithful men, who will do the same.  God is still looking for a few good men.  Enlistment lines are open.  Will you sign up today?  Furthermore, there is the need for rigor.  Rigor means inflexibility and strictness.  Many battles were won throughout the course of history because a few valiant soldiers stood rigidly against the assault of the enemy. 

Once that preparation is made, it is time for the prosecution of the battle (2 Tim.2:4-5).  This is a call for concentration.  The good soldier cannot afford to be entangled and tripped up by the world system.  In those days of hand-to-hand combat, to lose one's concentration for even a moment meant certain death.  Thus, the Christian soldier cannot allow himself to be distracted from Christ by the appeal of the world.  To engage the enemy in battle requires not only concentration, but also consecration.  An army that fights half-heartedly and is not committed to a cause is doomed to defeat. 

I conclude by pointing out the prize of the battle (2 Tim.2:5-7).  Medals of honor are pinned on those who have distinguished themselves in combat.  Not only do earthly governments recognize such heroism, but also the Kingdom of heaven acknowledges those Christian soldiers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in spiritual warfare.  Are you just trying to survive the battle, or do you want to excel in the battle?  If you will be faithful to your calling to be a Christian soldier, you will experience rest.  When we get to heaven, we will rest from our labors.  The war will be over and our wounds will be bathed and healed.  The weariness of warfare will drop from us, and the burden of daily struggle will vanish away.  Not only is there promise of rest for the faithful soldier, but the promise of reward as well.  The rewards are going to be distributed one day at the judgment seat of Christ.  How thrilling it will be to hear Jesus commend us for loyalty to His cause!  We will cast our crowns at Jesus’ feet.  Don't you want to be able to join in?  Enlist today!  “Onward, Christian soldier!”

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