You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 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 2:3,4, NKJV).
When I read 2 Timothy 2:3,4 I think of the Children’s song about being in the Lord’s army. We do not often think of ourselves as soldiers but that is one aspect of being a Christian. This earth is a battlefield, not just a physical one but a spiritual one. Many today are worried as they have love ones in military service around the world. In the spiritual war there are souls on the line all around us. Souls are even more precious than lives because should a soul be lost it is lost forever. It is not that lives are not valuable, they are, for to each life a soul is attached. The spiritual war is often overlooked because it takes spiritual discernment to see it.
When Japan surrendered that became the official end of the WWII in the pacific. That however was not the end of fighting in the pacific. There were many Japanese soldiers scattered across islands that did not know that Japan had surrendered. They fought on until they got the word.
Almost two thousand years ago Jesus Christ died and rose again. Jesus won the war but he did not vanquish all of the enemy. Battles still rage for souls. People are still dying and going to hell. Jesus Christ has enlisted all faithful believers into the war effort. Our duty is to rescue souls. We are soldiers in the spiritual war. We do not volunteer for this duty. Jesus has drafted us. It is part of the very essence of salvation.
Paul reminds Timothy that his activities need to be guided by the war effort to rescue lost souls. There are three things that stand out for the Christian soldier in those two verses. First the Christian soldier must endure hardship. The Christian life is not about the easy road. Christ never promised that we will have an easy life in following Him. What He promised is the way to life is difficult (Matthew 7:14), we must take up our own cross (Luke 9:23, 14:27), and be persecuted in His name (Matthew 5:10-12). Hardship is an expectation of the Christian walk.
Second, we must not allow ourselves to be entangled with the affairs of this life. This is probably the enemies greatest weapon against us. An example is how some Christian get so wrapped in sports that they skip church so they can watch the games. They can tell you the full name, and stats of the players on their favorite team, but they can’t name the ten commandments. It is okay for us to participate and enjoy the things of this world like sports. We are not to become entangled by them. That is encumbered by them so that they drag us down.
Third, Our focus should be on pleasing our General. Jesus is the one that purchased us on the cross. It is His army that He enlisted us. We should focus our life around Him. Jesus taught us that no man can serve two master. You are either serving Jesus or you are not. The more you focus you life on Jesus the easier it becomes to endure hardship and avoid entanglement.