A Good Soldier – II Timothy 2:4

by Pastor John Frdericksen

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In 2015, the movie, American Sniper, portrayed the life of Navy Seal Chris Kyle. Volunteering for service in the Iraq war, Chris became the most effective sniper in American history. He and a small team would be dropped behind enemy lines. They would position themselves in strategic areas and shoot those who posed a threat to American soldiers, thus protecting countless lives. Chris served with distinction and a deep sense of duty to his country and fellow soldiers. He also repeatedly put himself in harms way by volunteering for four tours of duty before returning home.

When Paul sought to encourage young Timothy as he ministered in Ephesus, he urged him to “…endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (II Timothy 2:3). Everyone around the Mediterranean in Paul’s day was acutely aware of Roman soldiers who conquered territories and enforced the tyranny of the Roman Empire. Roman soldiers were extremely tough individuals. They were expert fighters with swords, spears, shields, and more. They also had to carry over sixty pounds of equipment, plus three days of rations, while they frequently marched 15 to 20 miles per day. These soldiers were often in peril as they served at the pleasure of their Caesar. It was with this example in mind that Paul urged Timothy to be a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Neither Timothy, nor we, should expect the Christian walk to be one of ease nor one without sacrifice and dangers. Timothy was to see himself as a soldier of the greatest leader ever, the Lord Jesus Christ. He was to serve at His pleasure, fight for His cause, and seek to conquer others with His Gospel of Grace. This would mean vigilantly carrying the weight of ministry over the span of years, being burdened for lost souls, and helping believers to grow in their faith. Timothy needed a mindset to voluntarily endure hardships without ever deserting the battle. This would mean facing opposition with “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17), and being careful to not unduly “entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (I Timothy 2:4).

Dear believer, do you think of yourself as a soldier of Christ? Have you armed yourself with a mindset of toughness and sacrifice? The moment you trusted Christ as Savior, you were enlisted in His army. Serve with distinction and honor as a good soldier.

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."