This Memorial Day had special significance for me. My son recently graduated from high school and joined the Army. He turns eighteen at the end of June. I can remember as a young boy my father telling me about his cousin. His cousin died on the USS Thresher- a Navy submarine. The Thresher left Portsmouth, New Hampshire in April 9, 1963 and never returned. Having a son in the military brings things even closer to home. My thoughts and prayers are for peace.
The Bible often compares the Christian life to a war. We are commanded to fight the good fight (1 Timothy 6:12). Jesus told His disciples to sell their coats and buy swords (Luke 23:36). Jesus often battled demons and even Satan himself (Matthew 4:1-11).
One of my favorite Books in the Bible is 2 Timothy. The apostle Paul found himself in the Mamertine Prison. This time there would be no mercy. Emperor Nero offered no clemency. Paul knew that his death was imminent. In 2 Timothy 2:3-4 Paul gives great counsel to every believer in Jesus Christ. Scripture says, “Suffer hardship with me as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the One Who enlisted him as a soldier.” 2 Timothy 2:3-4 teaches three keys for effective service.
The first key is that we must endure hardship. Verse 3 says, “Suffer hardship with me as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” Our society is soft. Serving as a soldier is hard. Jesus endured great hardship. The entire Roman cohort (six to seven hundred men) attacked Jesus. They mocked Him. They spit on Him. They beat Him (Matthew 27:27-31). A Roman soldier often served for twenty years. A Roman soldier was not allowed to marry. They were devoid of any real civilizing influence. They beat the Lord Jesus (I believe) two separate times during His trials.
I served in the military. One day on Easter Sunday we took our M1 tanks out for an exercise. We somehow got our tank stuck in chest deep mud. I’ll never forget diving into that mud trying to secure the tow cables! Serving in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm was a privilege.
My friend’s father served as a M60 machine gunner in the Korean War. He was tough! He and his wife homesteaded on Hatcher Pass. His life was not easy. He helped build the Parks Highway. He was always smiling. Why do I assume my life should be easy?
The second key is that we must not get entangled in the affairs of this life. Verse 4 says, “No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of every day life…” A good soldier is single minded. Hebrews 12:1 warns about the sin that entangles us and weighs us down. We must lay it aside. We must live for God’s glory. Paul said, “I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8).
Three things often destroy a man- gold, glory and girls. A soldier says goodbye to civilian life. Jesus left heaven. He came to earth. He died for us. He offered a perfect sacrifice. He satisfied the Father’s wrath against our sin. He did not get entangled in sin. We must not get entangled either.
PLEASE PRAYERFULLY CONSIDER DONATING TO HELP MY MINISTRY, WITH YOUR HELP I WILL BE ABLE TO SPEND MORE TIME DOING MINISTRY WORK, THANK YOU