Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Good Soldier

December 24: 2 Timothy 1-4

1 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. 5 An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. 7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11 The saying is trustworthy, for:

If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
12 if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful—

for he cannot deny himself.
2 Timothy 2:1-13, ESV

Good Soldier

It is very difficult to condense an entire book into a short devotional; in 2 Timothy, we will focus on the beginning of chapter 2, as it is somewhat of a summary of the entire book.

As a good soldier, Paul reminds Timothy, and us as well, to be focused or single-minded toward the task at hand, just as an athlete remains focused on competing according to the rules, and a farmer focuses everything on the production of good crops.

Amazingly, becoming a Christian does not require an immediate career change, but rather a change of focus in that career. Whereas the goal before may have been to please the boss or the company, the goal becomes that of pleasing Christ, and sharing our faith with others.

Notice Paul's change in focus to enduring everything for the sake of the Gospel, and for the glory of God, looking to the future, rather than focusing on the current miseries.

Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

In conclusion, here is Paul's definition of a good soldier versus one who denies Christ.

If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
12 if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful—


for he cannot deny himself.

Do not forget, that as a Christian, your goal is to be a good soldier of Christ, who was born in a manger to save a people for Himself!

God Bless You,
Linda

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