How often do you get taught in church that you are a soldier? You might hear it now and then in regard to spiritual warfare, but I doubt you hear it very often. A soldier's life is a hard, disciplined life. A soldier on the battlefield has an even harder time. So, who really wants to sign up to be a soldier? Not me. I'm more built for comfort LOL. Yet, the Apostle Paul actually called his fellow believers "soldiers" quite a lot. Here are a few Scriptures.
Put on the full armor of God [for His precepts are like the splendid armor of a heavily-armed soldier], so that you may be able to [successfully] stand up against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil. Ephesians 6:11
Take with me your share of hardship [passing through the difficulties which you are called to endure], like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 2 Tim 2:3
Meanwhile, I thought I should send Epaphroditus back to you. He is a true brother, co-worker, and fellow soldier. Philippians 2:25
...and to our sister Apphia, and to our fellow soldier Archippus, and to the church that meets in your house. Philemon 1:2
No soldier in active service gets entangled in the [ordinary business] affairs of civilian life; [he avoids them] so that he may please the one who enlisted him to serve. 2 Timothy 2:4 AMP
It is this last verse I wish to focus on. Paul didn't just refer to believers as soldiers during times of battle. He referred to them as soldiers all the time. The fact of the matter is, there is never a time when we, as followers of Jesus, aren't in the war zone. If you are alive and on planet earth and a Christian, you are in a war zone. You are behind enemy lines. There's no way to get out of it. Yes, I suppose you could be a lukewarm or carnal Christian and stay out of the main battle, but you are still living on enemy territory. Eventually, you'll have to decide which side to take.
So, what is a soldier's life like?
- Basically a soldier's life is not his own. He does not run his own life. He gets told what to eat, where to go, where to sleep, when to work and when to play, and what to do with his time. Right?
- A soldier does not (except on leave) spend much time in civilian life, doing the things the world does.
- A soldier is disciplined. He keeps his mind and body sharp and fit.
- A soldier studies his enemy. He knows his opponent's battle tactics
- A soldier answers to someone above him in rank. Everything he does is in obedience to that person or to please that person
- A soldier is ready to go to battle at a moment's notice
The Bible tells us that Jesus is the Commander of Heaven's armies, hence we are His soldiers. We report to Him. So, our lives should reflect the life of a soldier in all the ways listed above. We should be obedient, committed, disciplined, battle-ready, know our enemy. We should NOT be tangled up in civilian life, in the things of this world... in its pleasures, distractions, worries. Yet, I'm sorry to say that is what I see most Christians doing.
Western Christianity is man-centric, not God-centric. Most (not all) pastors I hear on TV or in the pulpit preach about what God can do for you. How if you do this thing, God will do that thing for you... get you that job, that spouse, that promotion, that healing. Whatever it is, most preaching tends to be about US. Some pastors are even very good at cloaking the message in a need for us to commit ourselves to God, but with the end result that He will bless us. We will be judged on our motives.
Shouldn't we be focused on what we can do for God and His Kingdom, not what He can do for us? Doesn't the Bible say that if we seek FIRST His Kingdom, that all these things will be added unto us? Honestly, I'm sick and tired of listening to sermons whose main focus is on our comfort, our needs, our wants and totally ignore the fact that millions of people are one breath away from hell.
Yes, God loves you immensely and cares about your needs. Just like a general cares about the needs of his soldiers. He will provide. But you must behave like the soldier you are. Your top priority is obedience to the General and to win the war! Can you imagine soldiers in the trenches whining and complaining about being cold or hungry instead of fighting?
Don't be entangled in the things of this world. Yes, we have to live here and we have to make a living and do our jobs, raise our kids...etc. Do those things and do them well, but don't set your affections on anything in this world. Don't set your hopes on anything in this world. Don't allow yourself to dream about things you can have in this world. Why? Because you are a soldier and this is war. Fight the good fight, finish the race, set your affections on things above. Because this world is quickly fading away.
Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, 1 Tim 6:12