People enlist in the armed service of the United States every day. When they do, they sign up and make a commitment to serve. They’re provided with new clothes. Their old identity as nerd, athlete, or dodgeball hero is all gone. They just become a soldier. Then they go into basic training where they endure physical challenges that get their bodies in shape and their minds in line with the rules of the service. In exchange for all this, the government feeds, clothes and houses them during this time and pays their way.
Did you know that as a Christian, you have been enlisted as a soldier representing the Kingdom of God? You no longer represent yourself. In God’s Kingdom, He will clothe you, feed you and provide for you. He also will train you through the Word of God through your pastor’s teaching and your personal devotional time. There are some hard things you have to endure in your soul (mind, will and emotions) and your flesh- like forgiving people and being kind when you don’t feel like it.
Paul wrote a letter to Timothy and encouraged him:
2Timothy 2:3-4 – “Therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one who wars tangles with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who chose him to be a soldier.”
The purpose of hardness we endure is to get us in shape. We don’t always feel like praying or reading our Bible, but we know we have to spiritually fit to combat the attacks of the enemy, the devil. In order to win the battles of life, we have to submit to being trained or disciplined by God’s Word so that we win! Just like a soldier in Basic Training, it’s not always joyful- but it reaps a great reward. We learn how to live as a team, rather than just for ourselves.
Hardness does not include sickness or depression. God never trains us with these- these are attacks of the enemy, the devil. We’re never to endure sickness or depression. Soldiers aren’t trained with these things.
You may be trained through a job with a tough boss. You may be trained in school with a tough teacher. You may be trained through a irritating brother or sister to walk in love and forgive. Just remember, every time you submit to this training and respond correctly, you’re getting in better shape all the time to be a good soldier in God’s army.
Pray: God, I realize I am not my own and you bought me in order to put me in Your army (the church) and represent you to this world. I’m a peace-keeper, I’m resisting the enemy and his attacks with the weapons of Your Word in my mouth. Help me submit to the training because it’s making me a better soldier.
Listen: Draw the Line – by Disciple