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
Peter Ramsay Have you signed up for The Tabernacle 101 once-a-week-email study?

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