Summary: Our life for Christ is in many ways required to closely parallel that of a soldier who is committed to his calling in discipline, obedience and loyalty.
It was indeed a moving ceremony to witness the graduation of recruits as they are recognized as Marines! The new Marines were thrown together, to live together, enduring together, tolerating each other, supporting each other, working together and striving to that day when they are finally recognized for what they strove to achieve a full member of the United State Marine Corp!
In the New Testament we find Paul drawing a lot on military metaphors in describing the qualities of a Christian believer.
2Ti 2:1-10 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. (2) 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. (3) Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. (4) 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. (5) And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. (6) The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits. (7) Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. (8) Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: (9) Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. (10) Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
Last week we saw that Caleb’s attitude, actions and subsequent address to Joshua concerning Hebron demonstrated some unique qualities of the enduring warrior. We are engaged in a constant warfare with an enemy that is unrelenting in his quest to steal, kill and destroy. In the passage quoted above we are called upon as soldiers of the cross to do and to be certain things.
1. WE ARE CALLED UPON TO ENDURE HARDNESS AS A GOOD SOLDIER!
A soldier endures hardship for the cause of freedom of the country, justice and liberty for ALL.
Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 2Ti 2:3
Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; 2Co 4:1
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. 2Co 4:8-10
You as an individual have your own preferences and tastes. As a soldier you do not get things the way you always want it to be! Regardless of your own individual preferences, likes and dislikes, it is expected that you will push them aside in deference for the common good of the company. When commanded to move forward the soldier does not make excuses but works with the team. All of God’s warriors are team players. We work together as a body with the individual skills of each member combining to make the unit function in harmony. A healthy well coordinated body functions efficiently with each individual supplying that which the other lacks.
But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. 2Ti 4:5.
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. Heb 2:9-10
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. Rom 8:35-37
2. WE ARE CALLED UPON TO TO BE SEPARATE UNTO THE LIFE OF A SOLDIER
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. 2Ti 2:4
(entangleth himself with the affairs of this life "...with civil affairs, in distinction from military ones. The Roman soldiers might not follow any trade or business of life, or be concerned in husbandry, or merchandise of any sort, but were wholly to attend to military exercises, and to the orders of their general; for to be employed in any secular business was reckoned an entangling of them, a taking of them off from, and an hindrance to their military discipline: and by this the apostle suggests that Christ’s people, his soldiers, and especially his ministers, should not he involved and implicated in worldly affairs and cares; for no man can serve two masters, God and mammon; but should wholly give up themselves to the work and service to which they are called; and be ready to part with all worldly enjoyments, and cheerfully suffer the loss of all things, when called to it, for the sake of Christ and his Gospel: "-Gill)