I am on mission. Whose mission though? I’ve spent many a day listening to someone tell me to follow my heart. I’ve been told to follow my dreams. I’ve been told to set goals and make them happen. Far before I’ve been taught to pursue my identity and purpose in Christ I’ve been taught the pursuit of: Me, Myself, and I. This pursuit doesn’t seem half bad until you get to the heart of it. I can’t pursue my dreams without bringing them under submission of His will. I must be the person and believer he has called me to be. I must explore without restraint or reservation who God is calling me to be. My life goals must be in line with my purpose in Him. My identity in Him comes with the call the call to be a soldier. I wasn’t called to just be any soldier but a good soldier.
I was designed and chosen to be a soldier. Soldiers have a certain look, a certain demeanor, and a certain call. As a believer that call is to be on mission for Christ. Paul shows me what this should look like in the following passage.
You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 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. 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. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. (2 Timothy 2:1-7 ESV)
So what does this tell me about being a good soldier?
A GOOD SOLDIER IS A CHILD
I must be willing to be a child to God and a child to others. As a child I must acknowledge that I need to be trained, taught, and matured. As a child of God I have to be willing to accept that I will always need shepherding and should seek Christ and look to him as a child does their parents. Just like a child doesn’t reach emotional, mental, and social maturity alone I won’t get there alone as a believer. I must be immersed in Godly counsel and Godly community to help get me to this place. I won’t just age up or age out of the gospel. It’s impossible. I must be constantly sharpened in order for growth to be produced. Most important I must immersed in the presence of God and in His word for reminders and shaping on what His child should look like. I must seek him for the identity of His child and all it encompasses.
A GOOD SOLDIER SHARES IN SUFFERING
I am guaranteed suffering as a believer. This doesn’t mean that I should seek to suffer but it doesn’t mean that I should avoid it either. Suffering is apart of the promise. Suffering is apart of the call. Suffering is apart of my identity. This passage makes it clear that Christ’s soldiers will suffer. The beauty is that sharing in suffering means that God has made suffering communal. I won’t be alone. I will have Him and I will have my fellow soldiers. I must be willing to suffer for and with others for the sake of the mission. As part of His mission Christ suffered for our sins and I must understand that sometimes I will suffer for my sins, the sins of others, or simply as a part of God’s plan. Christ didn’t choose how His suffering would look but He did choose how His posture would be during suffering. He chose the posture of obedience and submission to the Father and so must I.
A GOOD SOLDIER DOESN’T GET ENTANGLED IN CIVILIAN AFFAIRS
I was not created and designed to be entangled in the affairs of civilians. The difference between my life and the life of a civilian is that I have a call to be concerned about the battle at all times. As a good soldier I have to always be listening to my commander. I must always be thinking about what Christ wants. I don’t live for myself or my personal welfare I live for the good of the mission. I don’t get to disconnect myself from my life as a soldier and become a civilian when I see fit. I must always be on the mission. The war doesn’t end and neither does my service to my leader.
A GOOD SOLDIER IS AN ATHLETE WHO COMPETES ACCORDING TO THE RULES
Athletes compete in their respective sports according to the rules outlined in that sport. Athletes aren’t just born knowing the rules. They must work at learning them. In my life as Christian the rule book is scripture the sport is life. I must compete according to the rules the league owner (God) has given me. I don’t get to compete in the sport how I see fit and still receive a crown. As an athlete I also need people to help me be the best athlete I can be. In any sport an athlete has a team. For some it's a literal team, for others it's their trainer, their workout partners, dietician. As a believer my team is the body of Christ. As a good athlete I must compete until the very end of the game and play the game the way the best athletes do. No matter what the score is athletes play until the very last second of their matches. I must do the same.
A GOOD SOLDIER IS A FARMER
If I am to be a farmer I should have crops. There should be seeds planted, seeds watered, and growth occurring. This is another called to be in community and be making disciples for the kingdom. I have to be active. Farmers don’t just plant crops on a farm and walk away. Farmers are intentional. They plan out their farm work. They tend to their crops. They live on their farms. If I am to be a good farmer I must be intentional about my relationships. I must live among the people I am pouring into. I must care for them. There is no such thing as being a distant farmer.
As a farmer I must also be understanding that all crops don’t blossom and not blame the crops but continue to examine better farming techniques. I must be reminded that those I minister to will not always be receptive but I don’t get to stop farming. Farmers devote their time and lifelong career to farming no matter what the harvest yields.
A GOOD SOLDIER GETS UNDERSTANDING FROM THE LORD
The most important thing for me to remember as a soldier is to take everything to the Lord. The understanding I seek comes from Christ alone. If I am to be a soldier there will be many times I don’t understand things but I must be willing to go to the Lord for what I lack in understanding.
Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:7 ESV)
I want to be a good soldier so i must train myself for Godliness. It will not happen overnight and it will not be easy but it is a command and a call. The best example is Christ. As Christ completed His mission on the cross even up until death I must so complete my call. I must be seeking the Father’s will for my life and seeking to look like Christ at all times. Every aspect of Jesus’ life was aligned for His mission and He submitted to the Father’s will. I must as a soldier of Christ seek to place the mission above even my own life.
GOOD SOLDIER……. My mission calls for me to die. I’m ready. I’m willing. I’m His.