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. (2Ti 2:3-7)
In the above text Paul describes Christian living using three easily
1. Devoted Soldier (2Ti 2:4). Soldiers will suffer. They will endure hardships as they sometimes lack fresh food, often find themselves exposed to the elements, are away from their family, all while surrounded by enemies. As Christians we may miss family, may miss a meal, and we live in the world controlled by our enemy (Satan). Therefore, we must stay focused – devoted to God and Christ. As Soldiers of Christ we must concentrate on task(s) at hand. We need to limit our distractions (cf. Luk 8:14; 1Ti 6:9-12). We should make it our goal to please God – the one who called us into service (cf. 2Co 5:9). The next time you see a person in the military: Thank him and then ask self if you are serving the Lord with the same dedication that that soldier, airman, seaman, or marine is serving our country.
2. Disciplined Athlete (2Ti 2:5). Winners are obedient, they follow the rules of the game. Think back to the 2012 Olympics and the Badminton teams China, South Korea, Indonesia who became disqualified when officials uncovered their cheating scheme. Cheaters never do really win. As Christians we have rules to follow: Jesus told the disciples to “teach them to observe all things I have commanded . . . ” Mat 28:20. James says to be “doers of the word”
(Jam 1:22). Discipline is self-control. Consider how Paul describes the life of a successful athlete in 1Co 9:24-27, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” The next time you watch stellar athletes challenge yourself to be as disciplined for God as they are for sports
3. Diligent Farmer (2Ti 2:6). Farming is hard work. One prepares the soil, opens furrows, plants seed or plants, waters, fertilizes, controls pests and weeds, and waits for the harvest. The next time you are enjoying a meal, think of the work that went into producing that food and dedicate yourself to being like that farmer.
I love the way Paul concludes in verse 7 – Think about what I say. Well, think about it? Are you living the Christian life in 3D? Devoted, Disciplined, and Diligent?
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