Good morning. Today’s devotion is taken from 2 Timothy 2:1-13.
Being a good soldier for Jesus Christ
At the time of writing this letter, Paul was in prison on the charge of bring a criminal and was chained. Paul was writing this letter to young Timothy encouraging him to press on in proclaiming the truth of the Gospel. Hence, Paul wrote, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus (V.1). He reminds Timothy that it is his duty to testify to the truth of the resurrected Christ who conquered death (v.8). It is interesting and very apt that Paul uses the metaphor of being a soldier as similar to being a disciple of Christ. Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier in Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. (v.3-v.4). Being a soldier for Jesus Christ means we should focus on Jesus and sacrifice for Jesus.
Being a soldier also means we have to give up many things and not get entangled with worldly things. We must do all that is pleasing to Christ, our commanding officer. In this life we will encounter hardships but good soldiers do not give up their mission to please Christ if some hardship came before them. In Romans 12:1, Paul says to offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. To present our bodies as a living sacrifice means we must fully surrender to God. This means we must not be conformed to the patterns of this world. Our mission is to be as much like Christ as possible and to glorify Him in all that we do.
Focus on Jesus
We must be focused and obey the commands of Christ, our commanding officer. When a soldier leaves for his deployment, he leaves his family, friends and all material possession to focus on serving his country. Being a good soldier for Christ does not mean that we cannot carry out worldly tasks and make a living. Nor does it necessarily mean we have to leave our families or friends but in all that we do, we must demonstrate the love of Christ and the Gospel in us. We must not let worldly affairs interfere with our duty to Jesus. (v.4). Despite Paul’s suffering, Paul was encouraging Timothy to endure everything for the sake of the elect so that others may obtain salvation (v.10) Paul was so focused and obedient to Jesus that he would not give up his ministry even when he was in prison. Paul was imitating Jesus, who fulfilled God’s plan “to seek and to save the lost” by enduring hardship and suffering. Jesus knew God’s plan for Him was to die on the cross. Jesus was faithful to His mission. Just as Jesus endured the cross, let’s pray for strength to be faithful and endure everything for Jesus.
Heavenly Father, we acknowledge that we need strength from you to carry out your plans and purposes. We do not want to be distracted by worldly affairs but to focus on you. We want to be good soldiers for you and to be great athletes who are able to run this race with endurance.