Being Good Soldiers


Photo by Daniele Fantin on Unsplash

2 Timothy 2:1-3 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. 3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

When a Christian is first “born again” into God’s Kingdom he or she is a “babe in Christ”. But we are not to stay as babes in Christ. God expects us to grow in faith, to “grow in Grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever” (2 Peter 3:18). Just as a young baby grows into a toddler, then a child, a youth, then an adult, every believer is expected to grow spiritually strong and robust. It is abnormal to remain a baby Christian. It can happen, and does happen. The Apostle Paul chastised the Corinthian Church, saying:

1 Corinthians 3:1-3 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

The marks of the baby Christian are three-fold:


Many Churches follow the pattern of Corinth, struggling to be effective for the Lord because they are fragmented – children fighting in a sandbox over the toy truck. But as the Apostle said in Hebrews 6:9,

beloved, we are persuaded better things of you,
and things that accompany salvation”

God wants us to grow to be good soldiers of Jesus Christ. Not just “soldiers” but “good soldiers”. The Apostle Paul often used the image of the soldier to describe the Christian purpose in life. In Ephesians a very familiar passage tells us:

Ephesians 6:11-12 Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

It is the soldier who puts on armor, the soldier who fights an enemy. The Church of Christ is in a battle against a powerful and evil force. The force that we fight is not flesh and blood, though often this force inhabits humanity. This force is angelic, devilish, fallen, and will do everything it can to destroy our cause. We are called of God to be not just soldier, but good soldiers of Jesus Christ!

The Good Soldier Endures Hardness

2 Timothy 2:3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

Hardness and discomfort is expected by the soldier. No soldier expects every day to be comfortable and easy. We are in a battle with a superior enemy, Satan and this present world. If we are at one with the world then we are no threat to Satan. But if we stand in Christ, if we are:

2 Timothy 2:1 … strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Then we are an enemy of the devil and of darkness. When our Lord Jesus came to this world He was constantly attacked, constantly hounded, constantly libeled. Who attacked Jesus first? Was it not the devil, the General of Evil? The devil came tempting our Lord to compromise with darkness:

Matthew 4:3 … if Thou be the Son of God, command these stones be made bread ..

The devil’s intention was to get Jesus to compromise with him. If Jesus operated according to the direction of the devil then that devil would own Him. But Jesus refused, saying:

Matthew 4:4 … Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

What has GOD said? Jesus lived His life following the Word of God. He listened to God. He acted according to God’s Word and his order. When the devil tempted Jesus, encouraging Him to follow the devil’s command rather than the Father’s order, Jesus replied:

Matthew 4:7 … Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

The soldier follows the order of his Leader. Jesus maintained His focus on what God had sent Him to do. If the devil can get you to compromise the Word of God, get you to water down what He has commanded, then it will not be long until you defect to the devil’s side. Christians, you will be tried in this world. You will be tested. You will suffer hardship.

Remember Jesus.

2 Timothy 2:8 … Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:

How did Jesus die? Did He die in a comfortable bed, just drifting away in His sleep? Did He die of a sudden heart attack? I have heard of preachers who died in the pulpit of sudden heart attacks. What a glorious death that would be! Did Jesus die in such a way? Did Jesus die with His friends and family around Him, laid to rest in a beautiful coffin, with dignitaries attending His funeral? No!

The day Jesus died He was unlawfully tried. The day Jesus died the Bible says:

Matthew 26:59-60 … Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; 60 But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses …

Jesus Christ did no wrong, yet was persecuted by the forces of darkness. The early Church was persecuted for the cause of Christ. The Apostle himself was persecuted, attacked by forces of darkness:

2 Timothy 2:9-10 Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. 10 Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

Jesus endured persecution for our sakes, so that we might be saved. Paul endured trials and tribulation for the elect’s sake, for the sake of those who had not yet heard the Gospel. If you are doing the work of Christ you will suffer hardship, you will be persecuted. Jesus told us:

John 15:20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

Not too long ago I was talking with my son Michael’s pastor, Brother David Rogers of Crosspointe Church in Valdosta, Georgia. As we were discussing our experiences as Pastors Brother Rogers shared how he had been betrayed in the past by those he thought were supporters and good friends. As he shared this the Spirit spoke this word to my heart, and I shared it with Bro Rogers – so I want to share it with you. “For every Pastor and every person that Christ calls there is a Judas Iscariot. Jesus Himself was betrayed by Judas Iscariot, a friend that He loved. The Psalmist prophesied of this in Psalm 41:9 – ‘Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against Me.’ Jesus applied this prophecy to Judas in John 13:18. Jesus had His Judas – and we will have ours if we are His followers. Take care that you yourselves do not become Judas Iscariots!”

The soldier expects offenses, expects battle. Jesus told us:

Luke 17:1 … It is impossible but that offenses will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!

The Gospel that does not offend is not the Gospel. The Gospel offends. The Gospel will be attacked, and us with it.

We will be misunderstood, mislabeled, and mistreated. The soldier of Christ must expect offenses … and follow the path of Christ. The Scripture tells us to be:

Hebrews 12:2-3 … Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

The Good Soldier Lives For God Not For Self

2 Timothy 2:4-5 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. 5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.

One of my favorite characters in the Scripture is a soldier who was murdered for his faith. His name was Uriah. You may not have heard of Uriah, but his name means “The Flame Of The Lord”. This unknown man was dedicated to God and to the King who ultimately murdered him. King David committed adultery and took Uriah’s wife Bathsheba to himself. When she became pregnant David concocted an elaborate scheme to make Uriah think that he was the father of that child. David summoned Uriah from war and told him to go to your wife and make yourself comfortable (2 Samuel 11:8). Rather than go home the Bible says:

2 Samuel 11:9 … Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and went not down to his house.

When King David found out that his little trick didn’t work he asked Uriah “why didn’t you go home as I ordered?” (2 Samuel 11:10). Uriah replied:

2 Samuel 11:11 … The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing.

A lesser man would have used the King’s order as an excuse to do the dishonorable thing. Uriah wouldn’t do it. Uriah lived for the Lord, and so should we! To be a good soldier you cannot entangleth yourself with the affairs of this life. The good soldier lives his life to please the One who called him.

You have been called into salvation by Jesus Christ, and you are to live your life so as to please Jesus Christ.

The Apostle said in 1 Thessalonians 2:4 … as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.

The day that Christ saved us by His Gospel He entrusted this same Gospel to us. We who are His are to live so as to share His Gospel. We are to not live to be pleasing men, but God. It pleases God when we share His Gospel of salvation. We are to serve the One Who saved us. We are to please the One Who saved us. The Apostle said:

2 Corinthians 5:9 Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.

When Vice President Mike Pence’s wife Karen went back to work as an art teacher at Immanuel Christian School, both he and his wife were viciously attacked. Why? Because the secular media said that this was evidence that the Pences hated those who identify as LGBT. Did the Pences back down? No. When asked how he dealt with the forces of darkness that malign and attack he said,

Number one – spend more time on your knees {in prayer} than on the internet. As a Christian believer, we’re charged to pray for our loved ones, but also pray for our enemies. You have lots of opportunities in politics to do that,” he said, receiving chuckles from the crowd. “Forgiveness is a great gift.”

The darkness will threaten, but we are to keep our eyes and mind on our God. As we strive for the Lord, we are commanded to strive lawfully. The good soldier obeys the lawful command given him by His Commander. We are to know what God has said, and to live our lives DOING what God in Christ has told us to do. We are to study our orders:

2 Timothy 2:14-15 Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. 15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

The Christian soldier is to know what the Bible says, and to obey it – to do it. To merely hear the Word of God and not do it is useless. We are a doing people. We are not to consider the foolishness and the theories of this world, but are to heed our God’s Word. We are not to get into foolish debates with empty headed but blind worldlings. God knows what is best.

2 Timothy 2:16-19 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. 17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; 18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

There may be spies or saboteurs of the faith. In Paul’s day he cited Hymenaeus and Philetus who, though they acted as if they were believers, by their very words they were unbelievers. They were messengers of Satan who were sent to destroy the Church by infiltration, overthrowing the faith of many. Hymenaeus and Philetus were probably teaching the same false doctrine that the Sadducees were teaching, that there was no resurrection, and that this life is all the life there is. Their false teachings spread throughout the early Church and had to be fought by the Apostle. In one case he wrote:

1 Corinthians 15:3-8 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

We know that the Sadducees are wrong, and that there is a life beyond this life. We know this because Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose again on the third day. Jesus WAS SEEN. Over and over again, Jesus WAS SEEN. The Sadducees and the other false teachers – agents of the devil – come in to destroy the faith of Christ and the population of His Church. Many times in my lifetime I have heard of some Christian artist, musician, or writer who suddenly recants the faith and rejects Christ. Let them. Their failure does not effect me, nor should it effect you. The Lord knows them that are His, and them that are His have an OVERCOMING faith.

1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

We reject the words of the devil and the world, and believe in the Word of the Lord. What our Commander has said is true. We will focus on His Word and not on the darkness!

The Good Soldier Lives Honorably With Others

2 Timothy 2:19-22 let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. 20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor. 21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. 22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

When Christ came into this world it was with the intent to:

Matthew 1:21 … save His people from their sins ..

1 John 3:8 … for this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.

Jesus did not come and give His life on Calvary so that we can be greater SINNERS, but that we might be SAINTS, set apart for the glory of God. The good soldier knows that to revel in sin is to stand in opposition to the purpose of God. We are to purge ourselves of sin. We are to live so as to honor and glorify our Savior and Lord. We are commanded of Christ to Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace.

We are to LOVE as Christ loved, not LUST.
We are to pursue righteousness and holiness.
When we sin, we are to confess sins in Christ’s Name.
We are to live lives of holiness and repentance, believing in Christ.
We are to maintain PEACE with God and with others
We are at war with evil, but at peace with our Lord.

The good soldier does not war alone, but battles with other like minded soldiers. We are told to be …

2 Timothy 2:22 … with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Lifeway Research recently discovered that 65% of Church goers say they can walk with God without other believers. I knew that there are many Christians who believe that they can live the Christian life apart from the Church. I didn’t know the number was that high. May I say, they are mistaken. God calls the good soldier to be connected with other good soldiers. In the early Church we read:

Acts 2:44-47 … all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

The Church must not be divided into cliques and small special interest groups. We who are saved by the grace of Christ are called to be in one accord, loving God and loving one another. We stand together against a common enemy of darkness. What does the Lord command?

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

Hebrews 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

God calls His people to lift one another up and support one another. This is what makes a good soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ. Beloved, let us be good soldiers. Let us live for Him Who gave Himself for us – TOGETHER.

May God touch your hearts with His Word!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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