How are things today? When you first trusted Christ, did you think life would magically become a ‘piece of cake’? Were you expecting the Christian life to be ‘a breeze’ or ‘fun in the sun’ or ‘a bed of roses’ or a ‘stroll through the park’?
Have you ever taken a ‘lazy river’ ride in the summer, relaxing on a tube on milky warm water, just peacefully floating with the gentle currents along a sleepy, winding water pathway? Even if you haven’t enjoyed such a luxury, did you somehow think Christian living would be something like that? But to your shock and dismay, today and most days, it seems more like white-water rafting!
The Apostle Paul instructed younger Timothy:
You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. 2Timothy 2:3-4
“Timothy, this is war! In war, everyone shares the pain. You will get your share of suffering. Expect to receive your fair share of hits in this war – but endure! Suffer hardships. Don’t call it quits; don’t pack it in when the going gets rough. Be a good soldier! Keep your Commander-in-Chief before your eyes; the One who chose you for this fight. It’s a battle – not a picnic. It’s a war zone – not a playground. You are on the front lines – not the fair grounds!”
But you say: “I don’t feel like fighting today!” The reality is – every day of our lives, we are on the frontlines. If we choose not to fight and just take a bit of a snooze or some R&R, then we are huge targets for the enemy. Paul said to Timothy: “Be a good soldier.” Always be on the alert. Be fully armed (according to Ephesians 6). Yes, it will be ‘tough-sledding’, but endure.
When its time to pick up the medals, you’ll have no regrets when you look your Commander-in-Chief in the eye and He says to you: “Thanks for ‘enduring’ and ‘sticking it out’ during the grueling frontline battles of life. You served me honourably and faithfully. Thanks for being a good soldier. Well done! ”
The chorus of an old Christian song captures the thought:
“It’s a battle field, brother
Not a recreation room.
It’s a fight and not a game.
Run if you want to
Run if you will
But I came here to stay.”
Christ suffered here on earth. He endured hardships. He endured even the Cross. (Hebrews 12:2) The Apostle Paul had his share of hardships. (2Corinthians 11:23-29) Check them out and picture yourself continuing-on for the Lord – even if you experienced just fifty percent of what Paul listed – yet, he endured.
Be a good soldier of Jesus Christ. To be a good soldier of a prime minister or a president or a king is one thing but to be a good soldier of JESUS CHRIST – well, that makes all the difference!
“Lord enable me to endure the hardness that comes my way. I really want to be a Good Soldier. Give me the stamina and strength for today’s battle.”
Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today.
Warmly in Christ
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