Good Soldiers in Christ

I have been praying for you and trust you are doing well as you carry out your “marching orders” from God. I use that phrase “marching orders” because I was reading in 2 Timothy where Paul, in his final words before his death, gives this message to a young leader in the church named Timothy.

Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. 2 Timothy 2:3-4 (NLT)

Multiple times in scripture we are called “soldiers” or “warriors” for God. Paul wanted Timothy to know that as a “solider” you have been commissioned with a task. You have been given a mission and we are to let nothing distract us from completing our mission. And we all know there are plenty of distractions out there.

I heard a story night that exemplifies this idea of completing a mission in the midst of distraction. One of my team member’s grandfather was known as “Papa John” and was without question the patriarch of the family. The family gathered to honor Papa John and there was one interesting story after another. But the story that stood out to me the most was one that has a connection to the encouragement I am sharing with you now. You see, Papa John served as a Marine in World War II at Iwo Jima and Okinawa. American’s are quite familiar with this image from the battle of Okinawa.

Soldiers flag blog

I always thought this event, the raising of the flag, was an indication that the battle was over. However, as I listened to stories of Papa John’s life, I learned that is not the case. Papa John was actually there when the above photo was taken. He was a part of this legendary event. Papa John told his kids and grandchildren that as the flag was going up, the enemy was still firing at them. Bullets were flying through the air as these soldiers relentlessly struggled to raise the flag that represented the very purpose of their mission.

In Isaiah 13, God is calling an army to come against the nation of Babylon who acted as the rallying point of rebellion against God. Here is the battle cry God gives His people:

Raise a signal flag on a bare hilltop. Call up an army against Babylon. Wave your hand to encourage them as they march into the palaces of the high and mighty.  I, the Lord, have dedicated these soldiers for this task. Yes, I have called mighty warriors to express my anger, and they will rejoice when I am exalted. Isaiah 13:2-3 (NLT)

Our fight is not with flesh and blood and our primary distraction is not an enemy firing bullets at us. However, we are in a fight against a real enemy who works night and day to distract us from the mission God has commissioned us with. As one team, with one mission, let’s raise the banner of Christ high on the hilltop and be determined to faithfully fulfill our calling and commission as good soldiers of Christ Jesus.

Steve

 

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