One of the many “pictures” of the Church in the New Testament is that of a “soldier.” The writers of the New Testament, especially the Apostle Paul, used that terminology. Paul and his readers were very familiar with the military concept in their lives. There were various degrees of military occupation in the provinces of the Roman Empire in the First Century. Some provinces required more military presence than others. Palestine was one of the most volatile places in the Empire so there was a large military presence there.
It was with this mindset that Paul penned these words in 2 Tim. 2:3-4: “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.”
One of the great hymns of the Church starts off this way: “Soldiers of Christ, arise and put your armor on…” The hymn writer (Charles Wesley) reminds us that it is in the strength of the eternal Son of God that we live our lives today.
The Christian “soldier” must, like the Roman soldier avail himself of all the equipment needed to be effective as a soldier. Because of our faith in, and obedience to the Gospel, we are now in the Lord’s Army! Jesus expects us to “let our light shine” and use the training we receive to not only help us be better soldiers for Him, but to help others in the same manner.
Charles Wesley wrote, “Stand then in his great might, with all his strength endured, and take, to arm you for the fight, the panoply of God.” If we will do this we will fulfill the words of Paul in 2 Tim 2:3-3. Because we have our eyes on Jesus at all times (Heb. 12:1-2), we will not as Paul says, “get entangled in civilian pursuits.” One of the songs we sing goes like this: “More about Jesus I would know, More of His grace to others show; More of His saving fulness see, More of His love who died for me.”
Christians must strive to be the best soldiers we can be. We can rest assured that our Commander, the Lord Jesus, is leading us by example and is out in the forefront of the battle. He has provided all that we need to fight the spiritual battle. We only need to be willing to “take up the whole armor of God.”