The Apostle Paul outlines what a good soldier of Christ looks like.
TAKE IT TO THE ENEMY
IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING
In Part 1 of this series, I made the point that the Church in America is at war and it’s time to take the offensive by following the orders of our commanding officer, the Apostle Paul. In part 2 we’ll look at how a third century plague and the book of Second Timothy point us in the right direction as good soldiers of Christ. First, please read my article “The Plague of Cyprian.” It shows how the selfless devotion to others by Christians put the love of Christ on display for all the world to see. It also reminded us that these same Christians were also blamed for the plague.
I see many similarities between this plague and the days that are upon us. Just as those brave Christians took it to the plague, we are to respond accordingly to our current war, displaying fearless and selfless devotions to those who are hurting and struggling. Some will need physical help, others, financial help, but they all will need spiritual help since this is the arena in which the most significant warfare is taking place.
A Good Soldier of Christ
In the book of Second Timothy, Paul knows his death is imminent and is passing on some final words of wisdom to his young protégé, Timothy. The entire letter is about being a good soldier of Christ in a hostile environment. It serves as a perfect battle plan for us as we fight our own Plague of Cyprian (and I don’t just mean Covid). In the first half of this brief letter, Paul identifies the call and the character of a soldier of Christ. In the last half, he warns us of the dangers and issues a charge as we enter the battle. This is followed by a word of comfort.
In verses 5-7 of chapter 1 we learn that we must first have a sincere faith that is not tainted by selfish motives. If our faith is pure, we are ready to put our spiritual gift(s) into action utilizing the power, love, and discipline God has already provided. Isn’t it comforting knowing that God never sends us out unless He has already provided us with everything we will need?
AS I SEE IT
If, however, we fail to follow through, preferring to remain in our comfort zone, it has become evident that we have no fear of God, that is, no fear of displeasing Him. Let that sink in. Have you ever given serious thought to pleasing God through your obedience, or do you just assume that God’s love for you prevents Him from ever being displeased with you? If you consider yourself a bond-slave of Jesus as Paul did, isn’t your only responsibility carrying out the wishes of your Master? If your love for Him drove you to become His willing bond-slave, shouldn’t that same love be evidenced by your obedience (John 14:15)?
Disobedience has Consequences
Returning to the war, if we refuse to carry out the orders of our commanding officer, it’s because we, for some inexplicable reason, think the orders don’t apply to us, or we simply don’t want to do it. No soldier with this attitude will last long when the bullets start flying. He, or she, will be killed, court-martialed, or dishonorably discharged. Some may spend the rest of their lives in a spiritual (or emotional) prison of their own making for failing to be good soldiers of Christ. This is how high the stakes are in this very real war we are in.
In verses 8-12 We are told that the power we are given (v. 7) is to enable us to suffer for the gospel (v.8), for suffering is part of our calling, like it or not. Our Heavenly Father has glorious rewards for us which He has carefully guarded. Our calling is to be faithful to the end.
Consider Peter’s words to those in his day who had been scattered throughout the region and were suffering for their faith:
And if you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each man’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with the precious blood as of a lamb, unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:17-19).
Title Photo by Mark Jefferson
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
Joe Biden’s version of old sayings:
While the cat’s away, the mice shouldn’t throw stones.
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