“You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” 2 Timothy 2:3
“No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.” 2 Timothy 2:4
The image that these verses place in our mind is that of a “good soldier.” A good soldier has been trained to do one thing, perform his duty!
The word duty means “obligatory task.”
1. The duty of a soldier is to submit to authority.
- All soldiers have a number, uniform, and hair cut. This is to take away individuality. To make a man they must strip him of his own identity to take on the one they want to give him. He is given commands that push his self- will – such as, clean the commodes with a toothbrush, dig a hole and then fill it up again, etc.
- His mind is changed for him. He has to learn to think right.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2
Everything that God allows inside the protective hedge of our life is to bring our will into conformity with His.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:29
- John the Baptist – “I must decrease that He may increase”
- Jesus told Peter – “follow me and I will make you a fisher of men:
- Jesus said of Himself – “I must do the will of Him who sent me”
The soldier has his will broken so that he will perform his duty according to the authority that will be over him.
2. The duty of a soldier is to maintain his character.
- Loyal – he takes an oath to honor the constitution and to serve his commander in chief.
- Obedient – carries out his orders.
- Faithful – “sempher phidelis” — always faithful – is the motto of the marines
- Denies himself – “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”‘ Matthew 16:24
3. The duty of a soldier is to bear arms. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.” 2 Corinthians 10:4
- Sword of the Spirit – The Word of God ” . . . and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” Ephesians 6:17 “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
- Praying in the Spirit “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit . . .” Ephesians 6:18
- Releasing of our faith“And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon nd Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets:” Hebrews 11:32
“who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,” Hebrews 11:33
“quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.” Hebrews 11:34
“Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.” Hebrews 11:35
- The use of the name of Jesus – “in my name you shall cast out . . .”
4. The duty of a soldier is to lay down his life if necessary.
- Paul said, “to live is Christ to die is gain.”
- Other “unknown soldiers” suffered for the cause. “Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment.” Hebrews 11:36“They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented” Hebrews 11:37
“of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.” Hebrews 11:38
- We are included:
“By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” 1 John 3:16
Why give your life? You perceive the love of God.
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us . . .” 1 John 3:1
Therefore we count it not only duty but joy to fulfill . . . .
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1