“No one serving in the army gets entangled in everyday affairs; the soldier’s aim is to please the enlisting officer.”
~2 Timothy 2:4 (NRSV).
Worldly affairs may always intrigue us, but we’re to know where the line’s drawn for engagement. Only the undisciplined soldier—one not adhering to their training, despising the cavalry tradition—takes umbrage with their Commanding Officer. That soldier is the shame of regiment.
Every Christian—female and male, old and young, capable and infirmed—is a foot soldier for the Lord Jesus Christ.
“What does this mean?” you might say. It speaks thoroughly of Spiritual discipline.
Don’t Become Entangled
If we imagined the notional soldier off at battle, serving Sovereign and country, we gain a grasp of where the Apostle Paul is heading at this point in his pastoral letter to Timothy.
So, as this soldier ventures into battle one day, they come to a lapse in thinking and suddenly the rifle they running with is caught in their uniform. They trip and are left prone in a messy heap on the ground. Not only are they unable to fire their weapon at the encroaching enemy, they cannot even get up.
This is the Christian who meddles in the ungodly affairs of the world; neither can they actively do what the Holy Spirit asks them, nor can they defend themselves against the enemy’s attacks. They can be assured; the enemy will strike a series of thunderous blows.
Be Pleased to Listen for, and Take, Orders
The Christian is to learn how to discern the Spirit’s voice—a voice of substantive truth—and they’re to be pleased to obey. This is their clear and simple aim. For no other purpose are they in this infantry of Spiritual incarnation.
To accurately hear, and therefore be enabled to heed, these orders, they must study the Word of God with sharp and diligent intent. It’s this process that teaches them to hear for truth; and, that love is the sturdiest test of such truth.
Great pleasure is taken in noting personal evidence of obedience. This is the honour that the good soldier prides their identity in.
From such honour, strength goes from God onto this faithful servant, and with power.
They’re strengthened in Spiritual resolve day by day to battle until the sun sets on the last magnificent one; yes, until their victory is sure—the journey surmounted.
Unbending and never denying, they’re purposed headlong to hear the words of their Commanding Officer:
“Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.”
~Matthew 25:21 (NRSV).
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.
Graphic Credit: Archives of Ontario.