Summary: Paul’s instruction to Timothy to be a good soldier of the cross and endure hardships is still relevant.
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Pastor James May
A SOLDIER’S ENDURANCE
2 Timothy 2:1-7, "Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. The husbandman that laboreth must be first partaker of the fruits. Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things."
How many of you have thought of the fact that you are a soldier in the Lord’s army? We hear the song that little children sing that says, “I’m in the Lord’s Army, I may never ride in the cavalry, shoot the artillery or march in the infantry, but I’m in the lord’s army. In recent days it seems that God is constantly remind us that we are in a spiritual warfare and it is a war that will never end until we go to be with Jesus in the air.
Meanwhile, in this terrestrial life that we life, we are faced with the reality that waging war against the Devil is sometimes hard and that requires us to endure hardship as a soldier of Christ.
I don’t know how many of you can relate to what I am about to say in some ways but I know that you will all recognize the points that I will attempt to bring out in this message. I believe that God has inspired Paul to pen those words that say so very much, “…Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”
Having spent time at Fort Polk, Louisiana in Tiger Land, the US Army Infantry School for Vietnam, and training to be an infantry grunt, I can understand, perhaps better than someone who has never been in the military, just what is meant by those words of Paul to Timothy. I know that others in this church may have had similar experiences so you can probably attest to what I am going to say and give me an AMEN once and a while.
I think that it may help us to gain some insight into the conditions and circumstances that surround this Spiritual Warfare if we could only realize what enduring hardship as a good soldier really means.
The very first experience I had as a new trainee in the Army was the Reception Center at Fort Polk. If I have ever experienced loneliness and a sense of dread or a feeling of being totally alone, that was the time. I can remember the first night, or should I say morning, since we didn’t get to sleep until around 2 AM or so, the quietness of the night after the hectic day of the physical exam and the bus ride to the fort. In the quietness of the night, I could hear the sniffling of grown young men who felt just like I did. I can’t say that I shed a tear that night but something got into my eye and it seemed to make my eyes water a lot.
I often think about those who accept the Lord as their Savior and then answer the call of God to go to a foreign land to minister the gospel, or even to a strange city that is far from their hometown. I can’t help but feel that they feel those same feelings in many cases. Most of us can handle anything in the daytime when there is much activity and so much to do but when the night comes and the world grows quiet, that’s when our heart begins to speak to us.