"Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus." (2 Timothy 2:3)
I can recall singing the song in children's Church when I was young:
I may never
march in the Infantry,
ride in the Calvary,
shoot the Artillery.
I may never fly ore' the enemy,
but I'm in the Lord's army!
As we go through the years, the Christian life can seem, at times, more like survival instead of victorious living, can't it? The longer we live, the more hardships we face--and the results can be quite detrimental if we forget what we are. We are soldiers. Paul David Tripp acknowledges, "Scripture presents spiritual warfare not as the violent, bizarre end of the Christian life, but as what the Christian life is!" The Christian life isn't supposed to be easy. Through trials and perseverance, we prove ourselves to be good soldiers of Christ Jesus our Lord. Our general. Our commander. Our king.
A soldier is trained to do two main things. The first is to keep orders. The soldier must listen to the commands. Equipped with the Word of God (the sword of the Spirit) we battle through the mire of temptation and darkness while keeping our orders. Scripture contains the marching orders and is our greatest weapon.
A willing heart. A willing body. A willing mind. Determination. Fortitude. This is the mark of a good solider.
The second is to carry out the mission--even in the face of resistance. Jesus taught His first fighters that, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33) The same is true for His soldiers today. We will have troubles. We will face hostile spiritual battles. We do have an enemy that desires to see our mission fail. There is a dark resistance. But, we can take heart. We can take heart because we know that our Lord has already won the victory. We are not fighting a loosing battle! Though he may be determined, Satan will soon know his end.
Today, no matter where you are on the battlefield of life, take heart. The statistics show us that America is now a post-Christian nation with the things of God slowly degenerating like a slow spreading Alzheimer's disease. But, though the church slumber, and though the darkness grin with evil intent, there will always stand a remnant of redeemed who are willing to fight as good soldiers and the Gospel of Christ Jesus will always prevail.
Jesus has conquered the enemy. There is nothing that this world can present that the redeemed in Christ cannot triumphantly, ultimately overcome through His power working within us.
We are in the Lord's eternally victorious army.
So, be encouraged. Continue marching forward as a good soldier in Christ Jesus!