Every year we celebrate Veteran’s Day. It is a day to remember the service of the men and women that have endured, or are enduring, the difficult hardships related to serving our country, especially in a time of conflict. You might argue whether or not the warring between nations is necessary or not, right or wrong, but the high cost of service for the individual is real. It comes with the territory.
Paul, the apostle, was encouraging young Timothy to be strong and bold in his service to God. He told him to,
“Put up with your share of hardship as a loyal soldier in Christ’s army.” (Phillips, 2 Tim 2:3).
Too few of us are not aware of our responsibilities as a disciple of Christ. More often we are trained as disciples to “bless” the comfortable events of Christian living and “curse” the uncomfortable events. This is not the Gospel Paul preached.
He taught there was more to the Good News than just being forgiven and set free from the authority of sin. In fact, it is only the beginning of an even more exciting journey. With the sin question supernaturally dealt with we must go on to fulfill the very reason for the forgiveness given us through Christ. Paul identified this challenging journey saying,
“Accept, as I do, all the hardship that faithfulness to the Gospel entails in the strength that God gives you. For he rescued us from all that is really evil and called us to a life of holiness—not because of any of our achievements but for his own purpose. Before time began he planned to give us in Christ the grace to achieve this purpose, but it is only since our Savior Jesus Christ has been revealed that the method has become apparent.” (Phillips, 2 Tim 1:8a-10a)
Paul made this same plea in the Letter to the Christians Ephesians.
“Praise be to God for giving us through Christ every possible spiritual benefit as citizens of Heaven! For consider what he has done—before the foundation of the world he chose us to become, in Christ, his holy and blameless children living within his constant care. He planned, in his purpose of love, that we should be adopted as his own children (Gk, huios, should be translated sons) through Jesus Christ…” (Phillips, Eph 1:3-5)
As a soldier in the service of our country you go through a very intense time of basic training. Designed to equip you with a foundation, you grow in responsibility and ability in your duty of service.
As a soldier in God’s army there are basics you must embrace to help grow toward a maturity that God has defined in his word. Comfortable and hard situations that we face is part of your experience in basic training, and how you respond will help to measure your progress. God defined it as “A life of holiness.” (Phillips, 2 Tim 1:9) And in Ephesians he describes this maturing as becoming, “His holy and blameless children living within his constant care.” (Phillips, Eph 1:4) We learn from both scriptures the “calling” from God is only available to us “in Christ.” To attempt to achieve this divine “calling” by any means other than “in Christ” would destine the believer to failure and frustration. Only in the power of your personal relationship with Jesus and the unfolding of truth by the Holy Spirit can you grow in the plan and purpose of God. It might not be as comfortable as you would like, but it comes with the territory.
- A Good Soldier (chesedhproject.wordpress.com)