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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A Good Soldier (1 Timothy 2:3-4)

"Endure hardness with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs--he wants to please his commanding officer."

After candidates enlist in the military they spend time at boot camp where they begin their journey to become soldiers. Soldiers quickly learn that they are not their own, their time is not their own, and they learn how to function as a team member.
Boot camp:
  • Uniforms issued, haircuts and shots given
  • All personal stuff is boxed and sent home
  • Physical conditioning (rigorous training with a Drill Sargent (learn to follow orders, restricted diet and schedule)
  • Team building exercises
  • Weapon and safety training
  • Core values hammered into you (mental training)
Why does the military go to such measures to develop soldiers? Warfare requires men and women of discipline, team mentality, and training. Living and fighting in the desert or jungle under extreme conditions demands exceptional individuals and boot camp prepares them for that.

Paul, chained between soldiers, knows all too well about soldiers and what it takes to be a good one. He sees the parallels between good soldiering and living the Christian life. So, Paul encourages Timothy "to endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus". For Timothy to finish well he must be disciplined, physically fit, and a team player. Christians today must disengage in civilian affairs, live disciplined lives, and embrace other believers as teammates in order to endure the hardships ahead.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
2 Timothy 2:1-4:22
  • Even though Paul is chained to soldiers what remains unchained?
  • How does Paul view his imprisonment?
  • What instructions does Paul offer to reinforce his teaching about enduring hardness?
  • How does the devil seek to trap believers?
  • How do unbelievers differ from believers and how do they treat believers?
  • What role do the Scriptures play in the lives of those seeking to endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ?
  • What does Paul communicate to Timothy about God?
Hebrews 1:1-14
  • How does God speak today?
  • Why can the words and work of Christ be trusted?
  • What does the writer of Hebrews communicate about Jesus Christ?
Turning truth into prayer
Are you a good soldier of Jesus Christ? Where are you lacking? Ask the Lord to help you become more disciplined and more of a team player with other believers.