June 12, 2021
Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. 2 Timothy 2:3-4 ESV
Here, Paul is exhorting Timothy to remain a good soldier in Christ’s army. So what are the key aspects? Share in the Lord’s suffering and focus on pleasing him. Sharing in suffering is a recurring theme for Paul. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul declares that when we share in Christ’s sufferings, we experience the power of his resurrection (Philippians 3:10). The challenge? We live in a pain-avoidant society that encourages us to obsess about our health and avoid conflict with others. But if we are to press into the darkened corners of our world with the light of Christ, then conflict and pain are unavoidable.
The second aspect (pleasing Jesus) equally requires a spiritual focus on the world around us. We will lose focus when we are more concerned about civilian pursuits. While politics and various societal causes may be worthy endeavors, when we lose sight of our primary mission (to glorify God and grow his kingdom), our civilian pursuits will distract us from pleasing Christ.
Father God, grant us your grace to soldier on into the spiritual battlefields of our world, pressing through pain and suffering while focused on pleasing your Son. Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling