Before going to war we must be sanctified and free from worldly entanglements.
TAKE IT TO THE ENEMY
Click here for the first article in this series.
IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING
A previous article stressed that we are sanctified, then sent. Please read it before continuing in today’s post. The article reminded us that we are sanctified to obedience, not by our obedience, and obedience isn’t just going where we’re called to go, sharing the gospel, or exercising our gifts. This series is all about becoming engaged in the warfare around us. The point of Part 3 is that we must be spiritually prepared before we venture out and an essential part of this preparation is living a life that reflects our sanctification.
To be sanctified is to be set apart for our Master Jesus’ exclusive use. He set us apart when He chose us and called us into service. It’s part of our new identity, but we must live a life that reflects the cleansed and holy person Jesus had declared us to be. We are to walk in light of what is true about us. The learning process is like bootcamp for soldiers of Christ. We must walk away from the things we lusted after when we were younger. We must clean up our act to reflect who we are and to be effective against the enemy.
Rules of Engagement
Consider chapter 2 of Second Timothy as explaining our rules of engagement—what to do and what not to do. It’s the spiritual equivalent of learning the right and wrong techniques for hand-to-hand combat. It may not seem like it has anything to do with warfare, but it does. It’s part of our obedience training. If you are going to win anyone over to the side of Christ, you must present yourself according to the “rules.”
Avoid Worldly Entanglements
One of the rules is that an effective soldier must be completely sold out to the mission. This means that he can’t be so entangled in the world that his worldly obligations prevent him from being an effective soldier (2 Tim. 2:4). Of course, his job is important. Of course, he must provide for his family, but if advancing in his career interferes with his duties as a soldier of Christ, some changes must be made. This is where some really tough decisions must be made, and priorities must be assessed. Maybe he can stay in his job and still be a good soldier, but maybe he can’t.
AS I SEE IT
In Chapter 1 of Second Timothy, we saw Paul commending Timothy for his sincere faith, a quality that gave his young protégé a solid spiritual foundation. Perhaps this is the quality that drew Paul to him. With that as a starting point, Timothy would likely be teachable and worthy to be entrusted with the precious gospel as well as the lives of those who heard, believed, and accepted it.
Jesus is looking for the same thing in His soldiers. This is where the rubber will meet the road and many, I fear, will be unwilling to extricate themselves from their worldly entanglements including, but not limited to, their job. In the end, the “perks” of career advancement, job security, recognition, the praise of men, or a host of addictions including sports, leisure, social media, Netflix, porn, etc. will keep them from active duty. Their misplaced loyalties will have caused them to fail the sincere faith test (Mt. 13:22).
This post is all about living out our sanctification so we will be prepared for battle. We have been set apart for Christ’s exclusive use, but our life choices will reveal the degree to which we are willing to live this “set apart” life. The war is on, and it is decision time. Where to your loyalties really lie? Will you pass the “sincere faith” test? Read Second Timothy 2 in light of what I have shared here.
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
Joe Biden’s version of old sayings:
People who live in glass houses
shouldn’t fall far from the tree.
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