By Pastor Lee Hemen
August 20, 2008
Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 2:3)
What does it mean to be a “good soldier”? Does it mean we follow the orders given us, trusting those over us who know more than we do about the battle we face? Does it mean we respect rank, knowing that those who are in charge have earned the right to be in the position they are in? Perhaps it is being brave when everyone else is running for cover, showing what courage is in the face of overwhelming odds? Maybe it is going back and rescuing those that have fallen on the battle field with little or no concern for ourselves? Then it could mean being delighted to be allowed to wear the uniform with pride and serving under the banner of a kingdom that never ends? Perhaps it is doing more than is expected of you?
All of these fit well with being a soldier of Christ. Enduring hardship like those who have gone on before us is not often found in today’s church. Recently I was struck with joy at the willingness of a young lady who has given her life to serve in Canada as a missionary. Canada is extremely unchurched with less than 10% of its population that is evangelical Christian. She is a “good soldier of Christ Jesus,” but what about those of us who are called to serve right where we are? To serve our Commander in the local church we are to be a member of? Tithing, serving, giving ourselves each day to the work He has called us to do in our communities? It is easy to give to missions, pray for ministries, or sit and be inspired by praise music and great sermonizing, but each believer is called to be a “good soldier of Christ Jesus” right where they are. Are you? Are you truly a good soldier of the Lord or are you AWOL? Absent without the Lord.
Timothy was evidently whining to Paul about what a tough assignment he had in Ephesus. Paul did not respond by telling Timothy, “There, there little buddy, you can do it!” Nope, Paul instead tells Timothy “Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” Tacitly in his words are a reprimand for Timothy and for those of us who are less than good soldiers of the Lord. Buck up and endure the hardship you face. It is temporary and your life in Christ is eternal. You live not for today but forever and you need to live like it matters to you. Good soldiers endure no matter what the circumstances because they know it is expected of them to hold the line and fight on with all of what God has given them. Their time, talent, and treasure.
In America we are offended when we are asked to sacrifice. We think that just by showing up on Sunday, once, and by giving something once in a while, or by going to Sunday School or Bible Study is our “sacrifice.” After all, we “gave up” our Sunday, right? How pathetic is that!? Yet far too many American Christians sit on their behinds in comfort rather than fight in the dirt and grime of the trenches. We have made Christianity into a purpose for life, a concept to follow, a commodity to purchase and use rather than seeing it as a life changing call to sacrifice everything we have to further the work of God’s kingdom. Christians are called to be “good soldiers” of the Lord. That means wearing the uniform with pride, serving with integrity, and doing whatever it takes to further the work of the Lord without any regard for ourselves. Are you a “good soldier” that is not afraid to endure hardship for the sake of the kingdom? Oh, I pray you are!
NOTE: This article is copyrighted by Pastor Lee Hemen © 2008 and the property of Pastor Lee Hemen. You are welcome to copy it, email it, or use it but please if you copy it, email it, or use it you must do so in its entirety.