Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Warriors for Christ

II Tim. 2:4 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.
In the context of this passage Paul is writing to a young pastor named Timothy, and encouraging him to be a faithful soldier in the army of Christ, not a physical army but a spiritual one where instead of killing your enemies you love and care for them. Paul is encouraging him to learn all he can of the scriptures and then to turn around and teach other men what it is he has learned. Paul says that in order to be a good soldier Timothy cannot become to involved in all the things of the world around him, Paul draws a parallel with something that Timothy could relate to, the Roman soldiers that were garrisoned in every town in the then-known world. Everyone knew that a good soldier had to make his profession his life, you couldn't be involved in every social program and entertainment center and still be the complete soldier you needed to be. Much like our modern athletes that play more than one sport, a problem arises when both start competing for your time and specific concentration. As a Christian, Paul emphasized the importance of keeping first things first and making sure you kept yourself free from the affections of worldly lusts which so easily ensnare us.
There is a glaring absence in today's "Christianity" of this kind of dedication to the things of God. A recent poll conducted by the Times Daily showed that almost half of the respondents didn't even attend a religious service on Easter Sunday. Many of these people probably call themselves Christians, but they cannot even obey the simple admonition to not forsake the assembling together of the believers. We go to church... unless there is a really good book we stayed up late reading, or a ball game we want to watch, or a school program our kids "have" to be involved in, or any other affection of the world that we have tied ourselves to. We read our bibles... unless we have too much work to do, or we're too tired, or we don't feel like it. Have the facts changed? Can a man be a warrior and yet entangle himself in the things of the world? The sad fact is that the facts are the same, which leads us to the conclusion that we aren't really soldiers at all. We have given up fighting in order to please our flesh, which in turn proves that we don't really care about pleasing God who has called us to be a soldier. If we don't care about pleasing God, why do we call ourselves Christians? Those sound like some pretty stark words, but what other conclusion can we come to if the bible says that you keep yourself from the things of the world to please God?
On the flip side of the coin, we cannot take ourselves out of the world and we must needs have have communications with ungodly people and organizations on a regular basis. The key word is "entangleth", it becomes a sin when we allow those things (and they may not even be ungodly in and of themselves) to get in the way of doing all those things that a child of God is called to do. Would you join with me in resolving to cut loose of the secular things that are keeping us from doing those things that are expected of a Christian? Would you decide that you are not going to let anything new tie you down and stifle your ability to serve God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind? Be a warrior for God, and make sure that whatever your occupation, it is just another tool to show forth the love and mercy of Christ on depraved, helpless sinners like us

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