A Good Soldier of Christ
As we continue to go through Paul’s second letter to Timothy and we talk about what it looks like to have unshakable faith in the midst of the storms, I’d like to take a step back and look at another major theme that runs throughout this letter.
As I read 2 Timothy I always see Paul’s focus on what it means to be “a good soldier of
Christ Jesus” (2:3).
Right after a salutation and expression of thanks at the beginning of Paul’s letter, he then explains to Timothy what it means to be called as a soldier of Christ focusing on the essentials of courage and faithfulness (1:8-18). He goes on to explain the character of a soldier of Christ: he is strong, single-minded, strict, secure, sound of faith, sanctified, and a servant (2:1-26). He then offers to Timothy caution for a soldier of Christ in what character traits to avoid and how to protect against apostasy (3:1-17). Paul then gives a charge worthy of a soldier of Christ to preach the word, be ready at all times and fulfill the ministry (4:1-5). Finally, in spite of all this military language, Paul offers comfort for a soldier of Christ that focuses on the elements of a good finish to life, a good future afterlife and good friends in life (4:6-18).
So why does Paul use this sort of language with Timothy? Perhaps because Paul has an understanding of the supernatural war that the world is in. A follower of Jesus whether they know it or not has chosen to be on a side in a real war. People who fight in wars are aptly referred to as “soldiers.” So if you are a Christian and you are reading this, you are someone that Paul would refer to as a soldier of Christ Jesus. Do you feel up to the task to fight the good fight as a soldier of Christ? Whether or not you feel up to it, you are on a battlefield and people are dying. Christian, you must fight the good fight. You must equip yourself with the Word of God as your guide because this fight we are in is unlike any other battle you will ever fight. This spiritual war is beyond our physical ability to fight and we require the Bible as our manual for how to fight spiritually. So follow Paul’s advice to Timothy and be courageous, be faithful, be strong, be single-minded, be strict, be secure, be sound of faith, be sanctified, be a servant, avoid the perils of apostasy, be ready at all times, and work towards finishing a good life with good friends as you ultimately go into a good afterlife with Jesus.
See you Sunday,