“Your OTHER left!”
This was the bark to me as a freshman in High School marching band trying to remember to step off with my left foot. It’s not that I couldn’t tell the difference, I was just learning why it mattered—or even that it mattered!
And my experience with High School and College marching band was the closest I ever got to military life.
But in our ongoing study of 2 Timothy, we’re reading someone’s writing who viewed the military of his day at a much closer vantage point. We read in 2 Timothy 2:3-4:
3 Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.2 Timothy 2:3-4
New International Version
As the Apostle Paul endured his imprisonment, it provided the aging Apostle with ample opportunity to observe the behavior of the Roman soldiers. It didn’t take him long to see the application of life in the Roman military to the life of a Christian in the service of Jesus.
And like a recruiter of today, he invites Timothy to stay enlisted. He’d already signed up but when the going gets tough, it’s easy to want to throw in the towel. And bear in mind where we’ve been over the past few weeks in 2 Timothy: Paul’s young protégé has watched his mentor being persecuted, abandoned, maligned, and imprisoned.
That doesn’t make for a good brochure.
That is, if you’re selling resort living.
But the Apostle Paul wasn’t selling an easy life. He was reminding Timothy to stand firm in the One Who stands firm for Him: Jesus.
A soldier doesn’t expect an easy life. They know what they’re in there for. Risk, difficulty, pain, discomfort—these are all part of a soldier’s life.
The issue for too many of us Christians is we are expecting something else. We forget we are soldiers in the Lord’s army.
And when we forget we are soldiers, we allow ourselves to get tangled up with things that aren’t why we’re here. These “entanglements”, as the Apostle Paul puts it in verse 4, will wrap around our feet and keep our eyes off the goal.
What are some of the entanglements threatening you? What’s causing you to forget your role in the Kingdom of God? Is it a relationship? Is it a possession? Is it your mindset?
Having “stuff” or relationships are not entanglements until they threaten our primary role in this life: living for Jesus.
We must constantly be placing ourselves on God’s altar and offering our lives to Him. Not a dying sacrifice, but a living one (cf. Romans 12:1-2).
When we are able to enjoy this life as the Lord intended and keep ourselves form entanglements, we will find ourselves marching in sync, in step, and successfully for Him. We march well when we focus on Him well.
Looking for more like this to help your spiritual journey with Jesus?
Then please consider my book, 31 Days of Spiritual Wisdom, based on a study in Proverbs. It’s available either in print or on Kindle.