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WITH ME: sugkakopatheson (2SAAM): (2
Timothy 2:10; 1:8; 3:11; 4:5; 1Cor 13:7; 2Cor 1:6; Heb 6:15; 10:32;
11:27; 12:2;3 James 1:12)
Other translations = Take
your share of suffering (NET),
take your share of
Endure hardship with us (NIV),
Share in the
troubles that we have (ICB),
Bear your share of hardship along with me (NAB),
ready to do without the comforts of life
Suffer hardship with
(sugkakopatheo from the combination of
sun= together, with [speaks of
intimate relation] + kakós = evil
[of a soldier =
cowardly] + patheo = suffer) means to suffer what is
bad, to suffer ill treatment, to endure persecution, to suffer
misfortune, to be in sorry case, - and to do all of
these together with another. This compound verb is found only in here and in
commands Timothy to "join
suffering for the gospel according to the power
(dunamis) of God."
for discussion of
The basic meaning of kakopatheo
in use from Homer onwards is that of experiencing something which
originates from outside of an individual and which affects that
individual, either for good or ill.
NIDNTT writes that the
related root word
pascho originally meant
nothing more than “to be affected by”, but how one was affected had to
be expressed by additional words, e.g. kakos paschein, to be in a bad
situation (Homer, Od. 16, 275); eu paschein, to be in a good situation
(Sophocles, OC 1489). However, since such additions tended to be
negative, the vb. itself came to have a negative meaning, unless there
were clear indications to the contrary. Thus the idea of being affected
is replaced by that of suffering... In most cases it is a matter of
being delivered up to an adverse fate or to malevolent gods and men
(Diogenes Laertius, 5, 61; Diodorus Siculus, 13, 98, 2), and only rarely
refers to enduring a punishment." (Brown,
Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986.
Larry Richards writes that
this word group (pascho, patheo, etc)...
in Greek culture expressed the view that humanity is afflicted with
experiences that are beyond our control and yet cause us physical and
mental anguish. (Richards,
L O: Expository Dictionary of Bible Words: Regency)
Paul is saying "Timothy
be willing to take your share of rough treatment with me."
Suffer is not a suggestion
but a command - the
aorist tense and
imperative mood together convey a sense of urgency,
and even ring out like a sharp military command.
The idea of the aorist imperative is "Do this now! Do it effectively!"
Wuest comments that the
is a sharp command given with
military snap and curtness...How we in the ministry of the Word (Ed
note: and in some sense every believer falls into this category)
need that injunction today. What “softies” we sometimes are, afraid to
come out clearly in our proclamation of the truth and our stand as to
false doctrine, fearing the ostracism of our fellows, the ecclesiastical
displeasure of our superiors, or the cutting off of our immediate
financial income. I would rather walk a lonely road with Jesus than be
without His fellowship in the crowd, wouldn’t you? I would rather live
in a cottage and eat simple food, and have Him as Head of my house and
the Unseen Guest at every meal, than to live in royal style in a mansion
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans
The pronoun me is not in
the original Greek but is inferred from the preposition with
in the verb sugkakopatheo. By the use of this compound verb (especially
sun = with) Paul assures his young
protégée Timothy that he will not
suffer alone (cf note
1 Peter 5:9). Paul is not asking anything of
Timothy that he was not willing to experience himself.
In some of his last written words, Paul uses the root
kakopatheo commanding Timothy to
hardship (see note
This idea of suffering for one's
faith is foreign to most believers in Western Christianity and it's easy
to forget that the Christian life entails continual warring against the
forces of evil. Paul wanted young Timothy to have no illusions but
to understand that being faithful to the truth, unwilling to twist it or
compromise it for personal gain, and constantly preaching it even
against threat of persecution would inevitably lead to suffering. This
truth is well known to those who have come to faith in countries where
conversion is punishable by imprisonment, beating and even death.
All of this truth should come as
no surprise for Jesus warned His disciples of the certain
warfare declaring that...
the world (kosmos
represents the self-centered, godless value system of fallen
mankind which loves sin and error and hates truth and holiness)
hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.
If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you
are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the
world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, 'A slave is not
greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also
persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all
these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not
know the One who sent Me. (John 15:18-21)
Every true believer is in a
sense in "active service" and must expect
some measure of ill-treatment, even as every soldier does.
It is difficult for Christians in most of the Western world to
understand what serious spiritual warfare and suffering for Christ mean.
The secular environment in our society is becoming more and more hostile
to Christianity and to religion in general. But we are not faced with
loss of job, imprisonment, and execution because of our faith. With few
exceptions, being a Christian will not keep a student out of college or
a worker from getting a good job. But the more faithful a
Christian becomes and the more the Lord blesses his work, the more Satan
will put roadblocks, hardships, and rejection in the way, the more
evident the spiritual warfare will become, and the more frequent and
obvious the hardship will become." Chrysostom wrote that
"It behooves thee not to complain if thou endure hardness;
but to complain if thou dost not endure hardness. (MacArthur,
J. 2 Timothy. Chicago: Moody Press
Felix Neff adds that a
A Christian without affliction is only like a soldier on parade.
Christianity is presented to non-believers as the cure to all anxieties,
difficulties, and trials and this so-called "gospel" can result in false
disciples and/or false expectations. The essence of Paul's invitation
still rings true...
Take up your armor and join me in a lifelong struggle against the world,
the flesh, and the devil.
Christian life, inevitably, is accompanied by intense spiritual
warfare and opposition. Paul wanted to encourage young Timothy to stand
strong, as he himself had done for so long. Did Timothy obey? Paul
answers this himself writing later that
(closely, side by side) my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith,
patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings...
(2Ti 3:10, 11-note)
The writer of Hebrews has an interesting entry near the close of the
Timothy has been released, with whom, if he comes soon, I shall see
you. (He 13:23-note)!
Timothy surely would have been familiar with the attributes of Roman
soldiers and Plummer notes Timothy would have understood that Paul's charge
was no small matter but that it involved...
self-sacrifice, endurance, discipline, vigilance, obedience, ready
co-operation with others, sympathy, enthusiasm, loyalty.
Larry Richards writes that to suffer hardship as a good soldier
An easy life, distractions from our
goal, these are all to be rejected. We’re to pick up our packs, and
march through life as men and women on a mission." (Richards,
L. The 365 Day Devotional Commentary. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books. 1990
Just as the Roman legionnaires
suffered hardship in the service of the Emperor for temporal hardship
for temporal gain, even more should be the willingness and desire of the
Christian soldier in the service of the King of kings to suffer temporal
hardship for eternal gain!
A willingness to accept an assignment to suffer is the sure
mark of a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
In a parallel passage on the call
of disciples to suffer hardship Luke records that after Paul and
had preached the gospel to that city
and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and
to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them
to continue in the faith, and saying, "Through many tribulations
must enter the kingdom of God." (Acts 14:21, 22)
><> ><> ><>
FISHING IN A TUB - Endure
hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ - The other day I read
about a man who decided that his weekly fishing excursion was costing
him too much money and causing him too much work. Therefore he purchased
a large washtub, filled it with water, placed it under a shade tree in
his backyard, pulled up a comfortable lawn chair and started his
fishing. It seemed like a great idea. He thought of the money he was
saving, and of the fact that he was no longer weary from hooking and
unhooking his boat and loading and unloading his motor. He was also
avoiding the bother of toting a gasoline can, tackle box, and supply of
bait. Often he caught as many fish out of the tub as he did when he
worked so hard on the lake or stream! (Exactly nothing!) However, this
business of fishing in a tub gradually lost its appeal. He never felt
the tingle of excitement that comes when the bobber disappears and a
sudden tug is felt on the line. He also missed the fact that he no
longer could tell stories to his friends about the large fish he caught,
or the larger one that got away. Finally, he decided that although
fishing in a tub is cheaper and easier, it is not nearly as rewarding as
going to a lake or stream.
Christians who are primarily concerned with relaxation and ease will
soon find that life without discipleship and zealous service is not very
rewarding. It's like fishing in a tub! Paul knew this, so he exhorted
Timothy to endure hardness like a good soldier, to strive to excel like
a determined athlete, and to toil patiently like a faithful farmer. This
is the kind of Christian life that pays dividends and produces inner joy
and satisfaction. Only thus can one know the thrill of being a true
"fisher of men" and of bringing a needy soul to Jesus Christ! (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
would you be of men?
Cut loose every shoreline then;
Listen to the Master speak:
"Launch out! Launch out into the deep!"— J. Oatman, Jr.
are not "FISHING,"
you are not properly FOLLOWING the Lord!
Help Wanted! - Perhaps the most effective
advertisement ever written appeared in a London newspaper early in the
20th century: "Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter
cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger. Safe return
doubtful." Those were the words written by Sir Ernest Shackleton, the
famous South Pole explorer.
Commenting on the overwhelming response he received, Shackleton said,
"It seemed as though all the men in Great Britain were determined to
Shackleton's words remind me of Jesus' words in Matthew 16:24, "If
anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his
cross, and follow Me." The Lord was calling people to go with Him on a
hazardous journey—the way of the cross. He issued that call after
telling His disciples that He was going to Jerusalem to suffer and be
Through the centuries, thousands have responded to Jesus' words by
forsaking all to follow Him. But unlike Shackleton's expedition that
came to an end, the Lord's work goes on and volunteers are still needed.
He continues to call for those who will serve Him regardless of the
Have you answered His call?— Richard De Haan
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Never came the call more clear,
Midst the storms of hate and fear,
Jesus' love to show in this world of woe;
For His grace is ever near. —Loes
A faith that costs nothing
and demands nothing is worth nothing.
AS A GOOD
SOLDIER OF CHRIST JESUS: os kalos stratiotes Christou Iesou:
description of "Good Soldier" in Josephus, Gibbon's Decline and Fall of
the Roman Empire, et al) (See Torrey's Topic "Saints
Compared To" ~ Metaphors for saints)(2Cor 10:3, 4, 5 Eph
6:11-18; 1Ti 1:18 1Cor 9:7; Php 2:25)
The Metaphors of St Paul by John Saul Howson (1868)
Chapter 1 - Roman Soldiers
Chapter 2 - Classical Architecture
Chapter 3 - Ancient Agriculture
Chapter 4 - Greek Games
Other Translations =
as a loyal soldier (TEV),
as a good (first-class) soldier (AMP),
as one of the army of Christ Jesus (BBE)
Paul informs us in Ephesians that
all believers are involved in a spiritual battle
"against the schemes (methodeia
[word study] > English "method" = orderly
logical effective arrangement usually in steps - our mortal enemy is
very organized and methodical - Look out!) of the devil". Paul goes on to remind us
that our "struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the
rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness,
against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." The
need of the hour for every "good soldier" of the Lord is to "take up the
full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and
having done everything, to stand firm." (Ep 6:11; 12; 13-see notes
All believers must recognize that
the Christian life is not a playground; but a battlefield
where battles are being won and lost in real spiritual battles.
Ultimately Christ Jesus has was victorious over the powers of darkness
at Calvary, but in the meantime He has left us here and called us to be
Thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus
Christ. (1Cor 15:57)
[word study]) does not refer to that which is superficial or cosmetic
but to what is genuinely and inherently good, organically healthy, fit,
useful, serviceable. Another Greek word,
agathos is used generally for
what is good and useful, especially moral goodness in relation to God
who is perfect.
Although kalos can be used as a synonym with
agathos, kalos tends to stress more the aesthetic aspect, and
stands for beautiful, fine, free from defects. When applied to acts,
kalos means noble, praiseworthy. In secular Greek writings a
suitable kalos was used to refer to a suitable harbour (Homer); a
healthy body (Plato); pure, genuine gold (Theognis)
and an unblemished sacrifice (Xenophon). Kalos came
to mean that which was aesthetically beautiful. Finally the meaning of
kalos broadened to include the sense of morally good.
NIDNTT adds that
in the course of the history of
Greek thought, the concept kalos achieved an inclusive meaning, linked
with taxis (order) and symmetria (symmetry). In this context kalos came
to mean “the total state of soundness, health, wholeness and order,
whether in external appearance or internal disposition. For the Greek.,
then, the term applies particularly to the world of the divine” (W.
Grundmann, kalos TDNT III 537).
Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986.
Paul is urging Timothy to be a
fit, useful soldier (4757)
"of Christ Jesus", this latter phrase indicating that Timothy was
not his own but belonged to Christ Jesus and was His to engage in
spiritual warfare for Him. Roman troops were a model of discipline, and
because of that discipline, they were unbeatable. In a greater, grander
degree we as Christian soldiers who are obedient to our Commander and
empowered by His grace are even more than conquerors through Christ.
As a good soldier named
Joshua learned, Christ (Messiah) Jesus is the Commander of the army
of the LORD (Josh 5:14 NKJV) and in recognition of His Commander's
Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to Him "What
does my Lord say to His servant?
Joshua's response should be
the attitude of all who would be known by the glorious title "good
What do You command Your servant, my
Christ Jesus is our Commanding
Officer, and we owe total obedience to Him!
Paul knew the characteristics
of good Roman soldiers. When Claudius Lysias (see Acts 23:1-35) ordered Paul to
go to Caesarea for a government trial, two hundred soldiers, two hundred
spearmen, and seventy horsemen from the Roman army formed his personal
escort! He was also chained to a Roman soldier night and day for two
whole years. Paul was also chained to a soldier even as he wrote these words
and so he understood how good soldiers behaved, and how they obeyed the
commanding officer. And thus Paul calls on Timothy and all "recruits" of
Christ to endeavor to be good soldiers.
a spiritual Christian does not simply
do minimum duty for his Lord, Christ Jesus, but serves Him with
everything he is and has." (MacArthur,
J. 2 Timothy. Chicago: Moody Press
Timothy would be familiar with
"soldier language" because in the first epistle Paul had used the
military term command (paraggello
from para =
side + anagello = declare) 12 times (1Co 7:10; 11:17; 1Th 4:11;
2Th 3:4, 6, 10, 12; 1Ti 1:3; 4:11; 5:7; 6:13, 17).
Paraggello in the ancient
world meant to transmit a message or order from one to another and when
it was a military command it demanded that the subordinate obey the
order without hesitation. The idea inherent in
paraggello is found in our word "subpoena" where the refusal
to obey makes the recipient liable to punishment.
Paraggello was also used
of a doctor’s prescription or instruction to the patient, the failure to
obey having potentially serious effects.
Every example of paraggello
conveys the idea of binding the recipient or hearer to make the proper
response or else!
As the spiritual leader in the
church, Timothy was expected to give the soldiers under him God’s
“marching orders” and so Paul commanded Timothy to...
(paraggello; KJV, NIV = command and
= is a command to keep on "prescribing" or "commanding") and teach
these things" (1Timothy 4:11-note)
charge (paraggello) you in the presence of God, Who gives life to
all things, and of Christ Jesus, Who testified the good confession
before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or
reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1Ti 6:13 14)
As Warren Wiersbe quipped
If the men and women in the armed forces treated their orders with the
same carelessness the average Christian treats God’s Word—they would
probably all be court martialed!
for more on what characterized a good "soldier"...
Three Kinds of Soldiers - Ten
Principles of Warfare
The Roman Soldier
(Gibbon's Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire)
The Roman Soldier - Description
A Few Soldier Stories & Sermons
Roman Soldiers - by J S Howson
What else characterizes a "good"
Roman soldier ?
Roman soldiers were bound to
service through a long term, took a solemn oath, were never to desert
their standard (the golden eagle), were to submit their will to the
commands of the leaders, were to sacrifice their life for the safety of
the Emperor, received excellent pay, were constantly involved in
military exercises regardless of age or weather conditions, exercised
with weights double those used in actual warfare, cultivated the science
of tactics, were able to advance 20 miles in 6 hours even with their
baggage until they met the enemy. Soldiers were not allowed to marry
during their term of service and were to be strictly devoted to their
service for over twenty years but only about half survived to retire.
Alexander Maclaren has
In Paul's time there were no standing
armies, but men were summoned from their ordinary avocations and sent
into the field. When the hasty call came forth, the plough was left in
the furrow, and the web in the loom; the bridegroom hurried from his
bride, and the mourner from the bier. All home industries were paralyzed
while the manhood of the nation were in the field.
C Campbell Morgan has an
interesting note for those of us who have never suffered through a
"This word of Paul took on new
meaning for many of us during the years of the Great War (WWI). Indeed,
today it seems to some of us as though we had never seen it at all
before. Of course, we had seen it, and we had given it a certain
conventional interpretation. Our thinking, however, of what was included
in the phrase "the affairs of this life," was very superficial in
many cases. We thought of certain liberties and comforts, which the
soldier is denied; and, of course, that thinking was correct so far as
it went. We needed the stern and awe-inspiring experiences of those
dread years to enable us to apprehend the full content of the phrase.
Now we know that nothing is left out. The soldier on active service
breaks with everything except the War. We saw them go in millions,
leaving father, mother, brother, sister, wife, and lover; we saw them
march away from promising careers, loved occupations, high ambitions,
and the finest things of responsibility. Nothing was permitted to
entangle them, to hinder them, or in any way to interfere with the one
thing. This new understanding has brought a new revelation of the claims
which our Lord's campaign makes upon us. He only asks His people to do
what the sons of the commonwealth did, grudgingly. Does not the
consideration bring a sense of shame with it? How often those who should
constitute the sacramental host of God have played at war! May God
forgive us, and give us another chance! And if in His grace He will, may
we be worthy of it!" (Morgan, G C: Life Applications from Every Chapter
of the Bible. page 326, 1926). (Bolding added)
William Barclay commenting
on why Paul may have used the metaphor of a soldier writes...
The picture of man as a soldier and
life as a campaign is one which the Romans and the Greeks knew well.
“To live,” said Seneca, “is to be a soldier” (Seneca: Epistles
96:5). “The life of every man,” said Epictetus, “is a kind of
campaign, and a campaign which is long and varied” (Epictetus:
Discourses, 3, 24, 34). (Barclay,
W: The Daily Study Bible Series. The Westminster Press
"the Roman soldier -- always ready to faithfully obey his commander
without grumbling or complaining; constantly in training whatever
hardships must be endured; never leaving his post even if it meant
death; working with his company as a unit, carrying out his specific
task...received praise from his commander and was rewarded for his
C L - originally by Fritz Rienecker: New Linguistic and Exegetical Key
to the Greek New Testament. Zondervan. 1998)
The respected Jewish historian Josephus noted that
each soldier every day throws all his energy into his drill, as though
he were in action. Hence that perfect ease with which they sustain the
shock of battle: no confusion breaks their customary formation, no panic
paralyzes, no fatigue exhausts them. All their camp duties are performed
with the same discipline, the same regard for security: the procuring of
wood, food-supplies, and water, as required—each party has its allotted
task; nothing is done without a word of command. The same precision is
maintained on the battlefield; nothing is done unadvisedly or left to
chance. This perfect discipline makes the army an ornament of peace-time
and in war welds the whole into a single body; so compact are their
ranks, so alert their movements, so quick their ears for orders, their
eyes for signals, their hands to act upon them. None are slower than
they in succumbing to suffering. (Josephus:
Wars of the Jews: 3. 72-107 )
A good measure of all worldly
Does it (whatever "it" represents)
Have you become entangled in "Civilian" Affairs?
Matthew Henry writes
The soldiers of Jesus Christ must
approve themselves good soldiers, faithful to their captain, resolute in
his cause, and must not give over fighting till they are made more than
conquerors, through him that loved them,
Romans 8:37 (note).
Those who would approve themselves good soldiers of Jesus Christ must
endure hardness; that is, we must expect it and count upon it in this
world, must endure and accustom ourselves to it, and bear it patiently
when it comes, and not be moved by it from our integrity." (Matthew
Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible)
Dwight L. Moody did not want his
song leader Ira Sankey to use “Onward Christian Soldiers” in
their evangelistic meetings. It was all right for Sankey to have the
crowd sing “Hold the Fort, for I Am Coming” but not “Onward Christian
Soldiers.” Why? Well, Mr. Moody thought that the church as he knew it
did not look or act like an army of Christian soldiers, and maybe he was
Guy King writes that the
must not allow himself to get
entangled with civilian interests, when all his energies are supposed to
be devoted to the war. He must, for the time, forswear anything, and
everything, that would prejudice his soldiering.
A like sacrifice must be seen in the
soldier of the Cross. He may find that he will have to give up certain
things, certain interests, certain habits, certain amusements, even
certain friends - not because any of these are wrong in themselves, but
because they are a snare, an entanglement, to him; they get in the way
of his success as a soldier.
He will not criticise his fellow
Christians if they find no harm in such matters - it is not his business
to criticize; though, when asked, he is free to give his opinion, and to
explain the reason for his own avoidance.
Anything that interferes with our
being the best that we can be for Him is to be sacrificed - however
harmless it may be to others, and however attractive it may be to
ourselves; even though it be so darling a possession as a hand, or a
foot, or an eye, Matthew 18:8-9. Let it be made clear that there are
many things in "this life" that, for the Christian soldier, are plain
duty, family things, social affairs, business matters, that must be
attended to - and done all the better for the very reason that he is a
Christian - but the point lies in that word "entangleth": that is where
the emphasis rests. When anything, however otherwise legitimate, becomes
an entanglement, it must be severely, and sacrificially, dealt with. (2 Timothy 2:1-7 Some
Things Every Christian)
A. A. Harmer tells the
During the Crimean War a young chaplain, newly arrived in camp,
inquired of a Christian sergeant the best method for carrying on his
work, among the men. The sergeant led him to the top of a hill and
pointed out the field of action. "Now, sir," said he, "look around you.
See those batteries on the right, and the men at their guns. Hear the
roar of the cannon.
Look where you will, all are in earnest here. Every man feels that this
is a life and death struggle. If we do not conquer the Russians the
Russians will conquer us. We are all in earnest here, sir; we are not
playing at soldiers. If you would do good, you must be in earnest;
an earnest man always wins his way." Such was the advice of Queen
Victoria’s servant to the servant of King Jesus." (A. A. Harmer.
Ramsey has the following
notation on soldiers writing that...
The Roman soldier, marching under the colors of his regiment, was
marching under the standard of idolatry, for the standards (signa) were
all divine, and worship was paid to them by the soldiers as a duty of
the service, and all contained one or more idolatrous symbols or
representations; moreover he was frequently required, standing in his
place in the ranks, to take part in idolatrous acts of worship. The
soldier could not retire and take to some other way of life, for he was
bound to the service through a long term of years. Here, again, the rule
and practice of the Church seems to have been that in ordinary
circumstances the converted soldier should remain passive, and as far as
possible silent, during the ceremony at which he was compulsorily
present, but should not actively protest.
of a Good Soldier -
William Wilberforce's Source of Strength - When wanting to faint
after years of fighting against slave trade William Wilberforce leaned
upon the Lord for his strength. On his forty-first birthday, as
rededicated himself to his calling, he prayed, “Oh Lord, purify my soul
from all its stains. Warm my heart with the love of thee, animate my
sluggish nature and fix my inconstancy, and volatility, that I may not
be weary in well doing.” (Neh 8:10, Isa 40:31, Gal 6:9, Eph 3:16, Col
1:11, 2 Tim 2:1 ) (John Piper, Amazing Grace in the Life of William
Wilberforce, pg 48)
A GOOD SOLDIER OF JESUS CHRIST
C H SPURGEON
Click full sermon
"Paul does not exhort Timothy to be a common, or ordinary soldier,
but to be a "good soldier of Jesus Christ"; for all
soldiers, and all true soldiers, may not be good
be loyal to his King..."
A soldier of Jesus Christ owns the divine
Redeemer as his King, and confesses his sole and undivided
in the spiritual kingdom.
"Obedient to his captain’s
Are we doing all the Master’s
soldier who did not take the trouble to read the orders of his
superior, might justly be suspected of mutinous intentions.
Disobedience rankles in any
heart where there is
carelessness about knowing the Lord’s will. Be courageous enough
always to look Scripture in the face. It is after all nothing more
than your bare duty.
"To conquer will be his
The passion for victory with the soldier often makes him forget
everything else. Before the battle of Waterloo, Picton had had two
of his ribs smashed in at Quatre Bras, but he concealed
serious injury, and, though suffering intensest agony, he rode at
the head of his troop, and led one of the greatest charges which
decided the fortunes of the day. He never left his post, but rode
on till a ball crushed in his skull and penetrated to the brains.
Then in the hot fight the hero fell." ...To be a good soldier of
Jesus Christ, there must be a passion for victory, an insatiable
greed for setting up the throne of Jesus in the souls of men.
good soldier is very brave at a charge."
When the time
comes and the orders are given for the good soldier to advance to the
attack, he does not wish himself away; though a perfect hail of hurtling
shot whistles all around, and the ranks of the army are thinned, he is
glad to be there, for he feels the stern joy that flushes the face in the
light of battle, and he only wants to be within arm’s length of the foe
and to come to close quarters with him. So is it with the genuine
Christian when his heart is right with God. If he be bidden to advance,
let the danger be what it may, he feels he is honored by having such a
service allotted to him. But are we all such?
I fear not. How many of us are silent about Jesus Christ in private
conversation, how little do we show forth our light before men. If we were
good soldiers, such as we ought to be, we should select every
opportunity in private as well as in public intercourse with our fellow
men, and prudently but yet zealously press the claims of Jesus Christ and
his gospel upon them. Oh, do you this, beloved, and good will come of
it....My beloved, may you and I be ready for anything, and bold to bear
witness for Christ before a scoffing world. In the pulpits where we
preach, in the workshops where we labor, in the markets where we trade, in
every company amidst which we are called to move; wherever we may be, may
we be brave enough to own our Lord and to uphold his cause.
good soldier is like a rock under attack."
So British soldiers have been; they have stood in solid squares
against the enemies’ cavalry until their foes have dashed upon
them madly, gnashed their teeth, fired in their faces, thrown
their guns at them, and yet might just as well have ridden against
granite rocks; for our soldiers did not know how to yield, and
would not retreat; as fast as one fell another filled up the gap,
and there stood the square of iron defying the rush of the foe. We
want this kind of fixed, resolved, persevering Godliness in our
churches, and we shall have it if we are good soldiers of Jesus
Christ. Alas! too
many are exhausted by the zeal at first exhibited; for a time they
can reach the highest point, but to continue on, and on, and on,
this is too difficult a
task for them. How many
young people will join the church, and for awhile seem very
zealous and then grow cold! Alas! it is not always the young,
there be some among yourselves who were once most diligent in your
various forms of service; what doth hinder you that you are not
diligent in your Master’s business now? Has Christ given you leave
to retire into inglorious ease? Does he exempt you from service?
Take heed lest you are also exempt from reward. No, we must
through life still maintain our integrity, still resist
temptation, still tread the separated path, and, withal, still
seek the souls of men with undying ardor, with indefatigable
earnestness, still wrestling with God for men and with men for
God. Oh, for more of this stern determination to stand, and having
done all to stand!
"He derives his strength from on high."
This has been true even of
some common soldiers, for religious men when they have sought
strength from God have been all the braver in the day of
conflict....Often has my soul said to her Captain, “My Lord, I
will do that work if thou wilt give me a grip of thy conquering
right hand.” Oh, what power it puts into a man when he gets a
grip of Christ, and Christ gets a grip of him! Fellowship with
Christ is the fountain of the church’s strength. Her power did
never lie in her wealth, nor in the eloquence
of her preachers, nor in
aught that comes of man; the strength of the church is divine, and
if she fails to draw strength from the
everlasting hills, she becomes weak as water. Good soldiers of
Jesus Christ, watch unto prayer, “praying in the Holy Ghost,”
for so shall you be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his
Spurgeon's full sermon)
himself in the
(civilian affairs) of
so that he may
soldier when in service gets entangled in the enterprises of
[civilian] life; his aim is to satisfy and please the one who enlisted
Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: No soldier who is on active service entangles himself
in ordinary civilian business; he lays aside such things, so that by
good service he may please the commander who has enrolled him in his
KJV: 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.
NLT: And as Christ's soldier, do not let yourself become tied up in the
affairs of this life, for then you cannot satisfy the one who has
enlisted you in his army. (NLT
- Tyndale House)
Remember: That no soldier on active service gets himself entangled
in business, or he will not please his commanding officer (Phillips:
Wuest: No one when engaged in military
service allows himself to become involved in civilian pursuits, in
order that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: no one serving as a
soldier did entangle himself with the affairs of life, that him who
did enlist him he may please
NO SOLDIER IN
ACTIVE SERVICE ENTANGLES HIMSELF IN THE AFFAIRS
OF EVERYDAY LIFE: oudeis strateuomenos (PMPMSN) empleketai (3SPPI) tais tou biou pragmateiais:
Denial") (Dt 20:5, 6, 7; Lk 9:59, 60, 61, 62, 4:10; Lk 8:14;
1Ti 6:9;10, 11, 12 2Pe 2:20-note)
See related studies:
as Christ's soldier, do not let yourself become tied up in the affairs
of this life (NLT),
No one when engaged in military service allows himself to become
involved in civilian pursuits, (Wuest),
Whoever serves in the military doesn’t get mixed up in non-military
Every one who serves as a soldier keeps himself from becoming entangled
in the world’s business (Weymouth),
he does not waste his time doing the things that most people do (ICB)
one, nothing, none at all and particularly places emphasis on not
Some believers think they can be a Christian but not have to fight as a
soldier but they are deceiving themselves, for all believers are on "the
front line" whether they realize it or not. Those Christians who do not
realize the intent or intensity of the real spiritual war are
essentially "asleep at the post" a dangerous position to
Wayne Barber on Spiritual Warfare, Torrey's Topic "Warfare
of the Saints" for a good Scriptural review of this
in order that no advantage be taken of us by Satan...we are
not ignorant of his schemes [2Cor
in active service (4754)
from strategos = army,
stratos = an encamped army) means literally to perform military
service, serve as a soldier in the army, go to fight, carry on a
military campaign, make a military expedition, lead soldiers to war or
Most of the NT uses are
figurative, two speaking of believers "waging war" (not according to the
flesh, 2Cor 10:3; fighting the good fight, 1 Ti 1:18) and two speaking
of moral enemies that continually wage war against us (pleasure in James
4:1, fleshly lusts in
1 Peter 2:11)
Wuest adds that strateuomai
to make a military expedition, to do military duty, be on active
service, to be engaged in warfare.
Strateuomai is in the
present tense indicating that this active service is to be a lifestyle, not an
Strateuomai is used 3 times
(Judges 19:8, 2Sa
15:28, Isa 29:7). Here is a representative use...
Isaiah 29:7 And the multitude
of all the nations who wage war (Lxx = related derivative verb
epistrateuo) against Ariel, Even all who wage war (Hebrew
= tsaba = wage war; Lxx = strateuomai) against her and her
stronghold, and who distress her, Shall be like a dream, a vision of the
There are 7 uses in the NT...
Luke 3:14 And some soldiers
were questioning him, saying, "And what about us, what shall we do?" And
he said to them, "Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse
anyone falsely, and be content with your wages."
1 Corinthians 9:7 Who at any
time serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a
vineyard, and does not eat the fruit of it? Or who tends a flock and
does not use the milk of the flock?
2 Corinthians 10:3 For though
we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh,
1 Timothy 1:18 This command I
entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies
previously made concerning you, that by them you may fight the
2 Timothy 2:4 No soldier in
active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so
that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.
James 4:1 What is the source
of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures
that wage war in your members?
1 Peter 2:11 (note) Beloved,
I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which
wage war (present
tense) against the
soul. (Comment: Take careful note of the tense - fleshly lusts
will be ambushing us and trying to trip us up until we see Jesus face to
The point is that a good
soldier in active
service does not have a 9 to 5 job but is on duty (and needs to be
alert) around the clock, "7x24". All that the soldier is belongs to the
military in which he serves. A soldier on active duty is always a
soldier. He can't call a "time-out" in the middle of battle.
As we have seen in recent wars in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Iraq,
when the soldier is on leave, he is still subject to recall without
notice. Whenever he is ordered into dangerous duty, he is expected to
put his life on the line without question or hesitation. This picture
emphasizes the total commitment necessary in order to be a good
there is no discharge in the time of war (Ec
How would your "military service" be
Are you AWOL?
Are we acting like children playing "toy soldiers"?
calls for rigorous self discipline (1Ti 4:7; 4:8; 4:9; 10-notes
and unquestioning obedience (see Jn 14:15, 1Sa 15:22, 23).
A good soldier must have a steady intake of the "solid food" of truth
who by practice train his or her senses (He 5:14-note) to
distinguish between the "good and evil", between "good" and the "best", constantly striving to
choose the Commander's priority.
Either perpetual warfare
Plummer observes that
Military service implies vigilant, unwearying
and organized opposition to a vigilant, unwearying, and organized foe....
Military service is either perpetual warfare or perpetual
preparation for it. And just such is the Christian life: it is
either a conflict, or a preparation for one. The soldier, so long as he
remains in the service, can never say, “I may lay aside my arms and my
drill: all enemies are conquered; there will never be another war.” And
the Christian, so long as he remains in this world, can never think that
he may cease to watch and to pray, because the victory is won, and he
will never be tempted any more. It is for this reason that he cannot
allow himself to be “entangled in the affairs of this life." (Plummer,
Alfred: 2 Timothy) (Bolding added)
C. Garret says
"You cannot be a saint
on Sundays and a sinner in the week; you cannot be a saint at church and
a sinner in the shop; you can not be a saint in Liverpool and a sinner
in London. You cannot serve God and Mammon. You are a soldier everywhere
or nowhere, and woe to you if you dishonour your King."
Albert Barnes writes
He "wars a good warfare" who is
engaged in a righteous cause; who is faithful to his commander and to
his post; who is unslumbering in observing the motions of the enemy, and
fearless in courage in meeting them; who never forsakes his standard,
and who continues thus faithful till the period of his enlistment has
expired, or till death." (Barnes' Notes on the New Testament)
F B Meyer adds that
"It is good
to begin, but it is better to keep on steadily to the end. It is much
when the young soldier, well equipped for battle, steps out into
the early dawn, with the light shining upon his weapons, but it is more
important far, if, in the late afternoon, he is found standing in the
long thin line, resisting the perpetual onset of the foe. We are told of
Daniel, that he "continued" (Da 1:21-note).
This, perhaps, is the greatest tribute to him, that through decades
he did not swerve from his loyalty to God, or devotion to the high
interests which were committed to his charge. The men that are
steadfast in their loyalty to truth, in their prosecution of duty, in
their holding the post assigned to them by the providence of God, are
those which leave the deepest impression on their contemporaries. It
is not the flash of the meteor which the world really wants, but the
constant radiance of the fixed star. What though the storm beats in your
face, and every effort is made to dislodge you, though it seems as if
you were forgotten in that lone post of duty, still stand fast: the
whole situation may depend upon your tenacity of purpose, the campaign
may be decided by your holding your ground without flinching. If the
Master has put you as a light on the cellar stair, never desert that
post because it is lonely and distasteful, and because the
opportunity of service comes rarely. To be found doing your duty at the
unexpected moment, when His footfall is heard along the corridor, will
be a reward for years of patient waiting." (Meyer, F B: Our Daily
Walk) (Bolding added)
(empleko from en = in + pléko
= tie, braid, twist - pléko is used of the Roman soldiers
"weaving a crown of thorns" to mock Jesus in Mt 27:29)
means in general to interconnect closely and so to wrap or twist
together and thus entwine, intertwine, braid, entangle and finally to be
caught in. Figuratively empleko means to become involved in an activity
to the point of interference with other activities or objectives.
BDAG's lexicon has a
picturesque definition of empleko stating that it means
to be involuntarily interlaced to the
point of immobility" and was used "literally of sheep whose wool is
caught in thorns" and of the "hares (rabbits) who are caught in thorns;
Aesop's Fables (Arndt,
W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New
Testament and Other Early Christian Literature)
The picture of a sheep whose wool has
been caught in thorns illustrates the difference between involvement
and entanglement -
one is entangled when he is not free to get loose! When the affairs of
this life hem us in so tightly that we can't get loose to fulfill our
Captain's commands then we have become entangled in the "thorns" of
non-eternal pursuits. The world's pleasures can easily entwine us
especially in hedonistic America!
Empleko refers to the act of
getting so involved in something that one becomes restricted and
controlled, no longer free to do what one should do.
Liddell and Scott write that empleko
was used in secular writing meaning...
"to entwine one's hand in
another's clothes, so as to hold him."
Empleko is used only once in
the (non-apocryphal) LXX in Proverbs where the translation of the Greek
He that walks justly is assisted: but he that walks in crooked ways
shall be entangled therein.
The NAS reads
He who walks
blamelessly will be delivered, But he who is crooked will fall all at
once. (Pr 28:18)
Guthrie explains that empleko...
envisages a soldier's weapons entrammelled (hampered or obstructed by entangling) in his cloak. The main
point is therefore the renunciation of everything which hinders the real
purpose of the soldier of Christ. There is nothing intrinsically wrong,
in other words, about civilian affairs until they entangle. Then they
must be resolutely cast aside. (Guthrie, Donald . 2 Timothy).
Empleko was also used
of weaving or braiding the hair. This latter picture reminds us of
Samson, a strong soldier, who lost his power because he got entangled
with Delilah at first lying to her saying that
If you weave the seven locks
of my hair with the web and fasten it with a pin, then I shall become
weak and be like any other man. (Judges 16:13-note)
Lot was a lot like Samson, for he LOOKED at Sodom (Ge
then pitched his tent "TOWARD Sodom" (NIV "near
Sodom" Ge 13:12),
and finally was "LIVING IN Sodom" (Ge 14:12).
Little by little, Sodom began to move INTO Lot and
entangle him to the point that he did not please the Lord,
eventually costing him dearly. (Ge 19:15ff).
Empleko pictures a soldier's
sword becoming so entangled in his cloak that he is
unable to defend himself in battle!
The position of the soldier demands detachment from all that would
hinder his wholehearted obedience to the call of His commander.
James would call a soldier who entangles himself "a double-minded
man, unstable in all his ways." (James 1:8-note)
Like a single-minded soldier, we should respond to the orders of our
commanding officer, the Lord Jesus, with unquestioning and immediate
Deuteronomy 20:5, 6, 7, 8
warns a man not to go to war if there are unsettled affairs in his life.
The battle is serious and a soldier cannot be distracted by
entanglements of business or family affairs.
Plummer observes that the Christian soldier...
has a duty to perform “in the affairs of this life,” but in doing it he
is not to be entangled in them. They are means, not ends;
and must be made to help him on, not suffered to keep him back.
If they become entanglements instead of opportunities, he
will soon lose that state of constant preparation and alertness, which
is the indispensable condition of success. (Plummer, Alfred: 2
Timothy). (Bolding added)
Paul's description of the Christian
soldier who is not entangled so that he might please his Lord could be
summed up with terms like...
A man of one mind
Singleness of purpose
Bernard in his Pastoral
Epistles writes that...
Singleness of purpose and detachment
from extraneous cares are essential conditions of successful service.
The Roman code of Theodosius
We forbid men engaged on military
service to engage in civilian occupations.
John Bunyan (Pilgrim's Progress) would
undoubtedly refer to such a soldier as "Mr.
Matthew Henry has an
interesting way to describe not entangling oneself....
A soldier, when he has enlisted,
leaves his calling, and all the business of it, that he may attend his
captain’s orders. If we have given up ourselves to be Christ’s soldiers,
we must sit loose to this world; and though there is no remedy,
but we must employ ourselves in the affairs of this life while we are
here (we have something to do here), we must not entangle ourselves with
those affairs, so as by them to be diverted and drawn aside from our
duty to God and the great concerns of our Christianity.
Those who will war the good
must sit loose to this world.
That we may please him who hath
chosen us to be soldiers. Observe, 1. The great care of a soldier should
be to please his general; so the great care of a Christian should be to
please Christ, to approve ourselves to him. The way to please him who
hath chosen us to be soldiers is not to entangle ourselves with the
affairs of this life, but to be free from such entanglements as would
hinder us in our holy warfare. (Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole
Bible) (Bolding added)
Solomon picks up on Paul's
warning and exhorts all "soldiers" on active duty to
(command) (Greek word phulake pictures setting a sentry at the
"eye gate" of your heart) your heart with all diligence, for from it
flow the springs of life." (NLT translates it "Above all
else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do") (Proverbs
Paul would add that Christian soldiers
have been approved by God to be
entrusted with the gospel" and thus should "speak, not as pleasing men
but God, who examines our hearts." (see note
Lea writes that
Paul’s appeal shows the importance
of developing an ability to distinguish between doing good things and
doing the best things. Servants of Christ are not merely to be
well-rounded dabblers in all types of trivial pursuits. They are
tough-minded devotees of Christ who constantly choose the right
priorities from a list of potential selections. Paul prohibited the loss
of single-mindedness and the longing for an easy life. (Lea, T. D., &
Griffin, H. P. Vol. 34: 1, 2 Timothy, Titus. The New American Commentary
Page 203. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers) (Bolding added)
Life Application Bible makes
the point that...
"Christian workers, whether pastors
or laymen, must watch their outside involvements carefully. Business
ventures, serving on committees or boards, volunteer assignments, and/or
home projects can eat up valuable time and energy"... (and goes on
to add the caution that) "Some have taken Paul’s advice to
mean that Christians should do nonstop Christian work. While the image
of the soldier presents helpful insights about endurance, even soldiers
need rest. Wise commanders know their soldiers need breaks from the
action. Even when there have been no wounds, the soldier needs relief
from the stress of the battle. We must maintain a healthy balance in our
lives between spiritual activity and spiritual rest. Pastors, teachers,
and other ministers cannot function without times of refreshment. Do you
give yourself permission to take time away from work? (Barton,
B, et al: The NIV Life Application Commentary Series: Tyndale
Where would an army be if every
soldier had part-time work that took him away from his military duties!
Our main task is to please our Commander and Lord—not others and not
It was disobedient double-mindedness
of one (bad) soldier (Achan)
that led to Israel’s defeat at
Ai after their
great victory at Jericho (Joshua 7:1-26). Joshua had
given a clear command to the soldiers to dedicate to God all the
spoil from Jericho, but Achan who failed to guard the "eye gate" of his
saw among the spoil a beautiful mantle from Shinar and
two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold fifty shekels in weight,
then" he "coveted them and took them” (Josh 7:21)
Achan (and his entire family) were
stoned and then burned with fire. Israel also reaped a bitter defeat in
their first attempt to conquer Ai including the loss of 36 Israelites.
Why such tragedy? All because of one unfaithful selfish soldier
unwilling to remain unentangled.
The Roman soldier was to avoid all preoccupation with the
daily affairs of the marketplace in order to be free to obey without
hesitation or hindrance the commander's order. Engaged in a
continual spiritual war,
the Christian soldier likewise must ever concentrate on his Lord's work and must not
devote his time and interests to a business on the side which hinders
his faithful performance of his primary responsibility. Paul is not saying that a Christian
soldier should have no contact at all with his former friends and
surroundings, but that he is not to become caught up and enmeshed in
them. Furthermore, Paul does not mean that the Christian worker must never
engage in any secular work, for Paul himself was engaged in "tent making" for a
living, but it was only a means toward furthering his passion of preaching
Christ crucified. What
Paul is saying is that the "good
soldier" must not allow ordinary
affairs of life to become the main object of existence. Instead, the
active service for Christ must always occupy the prominent place, while
the things of this life are kept in the background.
The active soldier must be
on guard against becoming so involved in such pursuits that he no longer
feels free to give himself fully to the call of Christian service.
Stated another way, a believer's
life is not to be wrapped up in the passing pleasures and non-essentials of this life.
Because we live on the battlefront continually, all things are to be subservient to
winning the battle, remembering that "the battle is the
Lord's". (1Sa 17:47)
like soldiers in the field must avoid anything that hampers their effectiveness in battle. Christian soldiers should be so consumed with
their duties that they are oblivious to the passing pleasures and
enticements of the world like God's servant Moses (He 11:24, 25, 26-note,
reminds us that
"the world is passing away,
and also its lusts, but the one who does the will of God abides forever."
Paul advised the Corinthian saints
"Those in frequent contact with
the things of the world should make good use of them without
becoming attached to them, for this world and all it contains
will pass away." (New Living Translation paraphrase) (1Cor 7:31)
that in his wide experience,
Many Christians, pastors, special ministries, and doctrinally sound
churches have been undermined by concerns and activities that are
innocent in themselves but have been allowed to crowd out the primary
purpose of serving Jesus Christ in the advancing of His kingdom against
the forces of darkness. (MacArthur,
J. 2 Timothy. Chicago: Moody Press
Paul's point is illustrated by the
story of the Civil War soldier who had been a watchmaker in civilian
life and set himself up in business in his camp, repairing watches and
earning extra money. One day the bugle blew and his company was ordered
to be ready to move within the hour.
“I can’t do it!” the watchmaker
lamented. “I have too much work to do and I’ll lose my customers!”
Luke 9 gives 3 examples
of entanglement in the lives of individuals which impeded their active
service in the Lord's army. The first person confidently declared to
"I will follow You wherever You go"
but Jesus who knew all men's
"The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air
have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head"
indicating that this individual was more concerned with comfort than
truly following the Lord.
To another person Jesus said "Follow Me"
to which the individual answered with the excuse "Permit me first to
go and bury my father."
To which Jesus in turn replied "Allow
the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim
everywhere the kingdom of God."
Finally, the third said "I will
follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home."
But again Jesus made it clear He was not recruiting part-time,
half-hearted soldiers answering that "No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the
kingdom of God." (see Lk 9:57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62)
Similarly, Jesus taught that “the worry of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches”
(Mt 13:22) are some of those affairs of everyday
life that can keep an unbeliever from receiving Christ and by
extrapolation certainly can keep
believers from loyal, single minded service to their Commander-in-chief. Just as the dutiful soldier
places his life willingly on the line in service of his country, so the
faithful Christian will willingly “deny himself, and take up his
cross, and follow” his Captain (Mt 16:24).
A solider has to give up many things; some of them are bad things
(pride, independence, self-will), and some of them are good things (his
home, his family) - but if he is not willing to suffer hardship, he is
not a "good solider of Christ Jesus". The issue doesn’t have to be between “good”
or “bad.” Whatever gets in the way of serving our Commanding Officer,
and in the way of being a good solider, must be removed. Using a the
figure of an individual in a race, the writer of Hebrews gives a similar
exhortation that we
lay aside every encumbrance
(superfluous bodily weight athletes shed during training),
and the sin which so easily entangles us, and...run with endurance the
race (agon = fight, conflict) that is set before us."
One race. One
war. One life.
Will you fight the good fight?
Will you be willing to lay aside the good in order to experience God's
Here is a good
barometer by which you can assess every activity --
Does it entangle you?
We are called to be
in the world but not to be
One can do many things during wartime, but a faithful soldier does not
have the right to do anything that will entangle him and make him less
effective as a soldier. A good soldier must put priority on his
calling and be completely dedicated to his task and his Commander. When a soldier makes a decision, the
big question is not “Is it safe, popular or right" but "Is it
what my Commander-in-chief wants me to do?” We should follow the
lead of our Captain, Who in the heat of His most agonizing battle left
us "an example...to follow in His steps" (1Pe 2:21-note)
declaring "Not My will, but Thine be done". (Lk 22:42)
a soldier in the midst of battle going to his sergeant or his lieutenant
and saying, “Sir, I’m sorry to have to leave, but I have to go over into
the city to see about some business; and then I have a date with a local
girl, and I just won’t be able to be here for the battle tonight!” A
great many Christians are trying to fight like that today!...There
are those who interpret this verse to mean that a Christian is not to
get married. Well, he is not talking about celibacy, but he is talking
about being so entangled in worldliness that he is not able to live the
Christian life. (McGee,
J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson
Logos) (Bolding added)
This idea of "separation",
of being in the world but not of the world, is not an easy task. Every
believer faces the same danger as the frog in the kettle where the water
temperature is being slowly, imperceptibly increased.
must "examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good,
abstain from every form of evil" (1Th 5:21,22-note)
"trying to learn (dokimazo
[word study] = proving a thing as
worthy or not as in Ro 12:2-note) what is pleasing to the Lord" (Ep
5:10-note) in order to remain ready for action. We are to be constantly testing the
thoughts and trends of the world around us against the revealed will of
God (in the word of God) or we too like the frog in the kettle will become
gradually, imperceptibly entrapped in the web of this evil world system
and will become ineffective soldiers of Christ.
Peter using military language
warned the saints
as aliens and strangers to abstain (present
= continually) from fleshly
(strong desires that emanate/originate from the
fallen flesh ,
still present in all beleivers until glory - It can never be improved,
only defeated by walking in obedience to the Spirit - see Ro 8:13-note)
which wage war (present
= strategizes continually - this is why Jesus warned/commanded us to
continually watch and pray Mt 26:41 - we are continually in "harm's way"
and the moment you forget this fact, you are in even greater peril, dear
soldier of Christ. Furthermore, if you think you've conquered your
flesh, you are deceived! Only the power of the Cross conquers the flesh.
So daily [yea, even moment by moment] we must take up the mighty cross
[Lk 9:23, Mk 8:34, Mt 10:38, 39]
and deny ourselves! No furloughs in active spiritual combat [the war is
incessant, our enemies --
are relentless] dear brother or sister! ) against
the soul. (1Pe 2:11-note)
If we yield to our sinful appetites, then we will start living like the
unsaved world around us, and will become ineffective soldiers. And
don't forget the truth of Proverbs 5:22-note! A
good "soldier's prayer" would be to pray
that your love may abound
still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that
you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be
sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with
the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the
glory and praise of God." (Php 1:9, 10, 11-see notes
Php 1:9; 10; 11)
from from pragma = matter, business) refers to transactions, negotiations, business
Paul's point is that it's hard to obey
our Captain's orders when there are so many
Paul is emphasizing single-mindedness and focused purpose (cf "one
thing I do"
see Php 3:13-note), abstaining from anything
contrary to the will of the Lord.
It is interesting to
note that the related word (pragmateuomai) is translated occupy
Jesus told His disciples to
Occupy (do business
= Do this now! Don't delay! Conveys sense of urgency) until I come back.
Our word, pragmatic, is derived
from these Greek words. As Christian believers, it is pragmatic
for us to be active in our daily responsibilities while waiting for
Christ, but it is also spiritually pragmatic
not to be so involved with these activities as to hinder our service to
our Commander. In fact, even our daily occupations should be carried out
in His name and in ways that please Him (1Co 10:31, Col 3:23-note).
Plummer adds that
Paul does not suggest that Christians should keep aloof from the affairs
of this life, which would be a flat contradiction of what he teaches
elsewhere (1Th 4:11,12-note). He has a duty to perform "in the affairs of this life," but in doing
it he is not to be entangled in them. They are means, not ends; and must
be made to help him on, not suffered to keep him back. If they become
entanglements instead of opportunities, he will soon lose that state of
constant preparation and alertness which is the indispensable condition
of success. (Plummer, A: 2 Timothy)
Barnes notes that
Roman soldiers were not allowed to marry, or to engage in any husbandry
or trade; and they were forbidden to act as tutors to any person, or
curators to any man’s estate, or proctors in the cause of other men. The
general principle was, that they were excluded from those relations,
agencies, and engagements, which it was thought would divert their minds
from that which was to be the sole object of pursuit.
2Timothy 2:4 was
Jim Elliot's "Life Verse" as related by his widow Elizabeth Elliot.
Before she became Jim's wife, she was Elizabeth Howard a student at
Wheaton College. Elizabeth had scrutinized the boys on campus and
decided that there was really only one who interested her and his name
was Jim Elliot. He displayed a maturity and godliness she found most
attractive. When the school yearbooks were handed out, Elizabeth asked
Jim to sign hers, hoping that if there was any interest in her, he might
indicate so in signing her yearbook. When he returned it, she rushed to
her room, found his signature and read beneath it 2Timothy 2:4. He later wrote
He is no fool who
gives up what he cannot keep
to gain what he cannot lose.
was willing to suffer hardship as a good soldier even it meant dying for
his Commander which is exactly what he did. His actions backed up the
words he lived by in 2 Timothy 2:4. Jim Elliot was a good soldier like Paul who
I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in
order that I may finish my course, and the ministry which I received
from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of
God. (Acts 20:24)
SO THAT HE MAY
THE ONE WHO
AS A SOLDIER: hina to stratologesanti (AAPMSD) arese (3SAAS): (1Co
7:22,23; 2Cor 5:9-note;
his aim is to satisfy and please the one who enlisted him (Amp)
The one who
enlisted him (4758)
from stratos =
warfare + lego = in this instance lego means "to choose") primarily means to gather or select as a warrior or choose to be a
soldier and is used here in the verb participle form to describe the soldier's commander.
As discussed above, a Christian's
commander is Jesus Christ Whom, the One we are endeavor to
please. Paul's constant "ambition,
whether at home or absent
his Lord. (2Cor 5:9-note)
The paramount concern of every saint should be to please their Lord in
every area of their life.
And remember that you can't always be a "people pleaser" and "God
pleaser" at the same time. It
is impossible to serve two commanders, just as it is impossible to serve
two masters (Mt 6:24-note).
As the "good soldier"
gives himself fully to his calling, allowing no outside pursuits to
interfere with his duties as Christ's soldier, he may appear radical to
those less committed but he will "please" his Commander. To obey is
better than sacrifice. The faithful Christian’s fondest hope is to be
rewarded for loyal, obedient service and to hear his Master say,
good and faithful slave (Note reasons he heard well done - "good",
"faithful" or trustworthy -
Are you? Am I?
We all have some responsibility to be
good stewards - e.g., we all have been allotted precious moments of time
to redeem and use wisely for His glory! Don't waste your life - see
video by John Piper =
Don't Waste Your Life); you were faithful with a few things, I will put
you in charge of many things, enter into the joy of your master
from airo = through the idea
of raising up, elevating or exciting emotion - not everyone agrees )
originally meant to make peace, to reconcile someone, to be well
disposed to someone. It came to mean to be satisfied with, to take
pleasure in and then to take a pleasant attitude toward someone. In
short it means to cause someone to be pleased with someone or something
or to be pleasing to or acceptable to. Aresko can sometimes mean
to strive to please to accommodate one’s self to the opinions desires
and interests of others.
To please means to give or
be the source of satisfaction, pleasure or contentment to another.
It means satisfying or
behaving properly toward one with whom one is related and so to
agreeable and to please them.
Paul a good soldier of Christ
Jesus explains to the
Galatians what it means to please one's commander writing
am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to
men? If I were still trying to
men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.
Indeed a good soldier is in a sense a "bond-servant" of his
Commander-in-chief. Paul writes to the Romans that "those who are in
the flesh (non-believers) cannot please
God" (Ro 8:6-note).
So clearly to please the Commander one must be a believer and secondly
like a bondservant, he must be willing give up his will and surrender
to His will as Albert Barnes elaborates on below.
Barnes adds that a good soldier's
great object is to approve
himself to (his Commander). It is not to pursue his own plans, or
to have his own will, or to accumulate property or fame for
himself. His will is absorbed in the will of his
commander, and his purpose is accomplished if he meet with his
approbation. Nowhere else is it so true that the will of one
becomes lost in that of another, as in the case of the soldier. In an
army it is contemplated that there shall be but one mind, one heart,
one purpose - that of the commander; and that the whole army shall
be as obedient to that as the members of the human body are to the one
will that controls all. The application of this is obvious. The grand
purpose of the minister of the gospel is to please Christ. He is to
pursue no separate plans, and to have no separate will, of his own; and it is contemplated that the whole “Corps” of Christian ministers and
members of the churches shall be as entirely subordinate to the will of
Christ, as an army is to the orders of its chief. (Albert Barnes'
Notes on the Bible)
William Barclay writes that
The soldier is conditioned to obedience. The early training of a soldier
is designed to make him unquestioningly obey the word of command (Ed
note: see the illustration of this principle in the devotional below
"What Comes Naturally?") There may come a time when such instinctive
obedience will save his life and the lives of others. There is a sense
in which it is no part of the soldier’s duty “to know the reason why.”
Involved as he is in the midst of the battle, he cannot see the over-all
picture. The decisions he must leave to the commander who sees the whole
field. The first Christian duty is obedience to the voice of God, and
acceptance even of that which he cannot understand. (Barclay,
W: The Daily Study Bible Series. The Westminster Press
Guy King writes...
One bitterly cold winter's morning,
long before the War, the business men, warmly and snugly wrapped up,
arrived at their city terminus, to be met with the ticket-collectors'
chorus, "All seasons, please!"
So they had to unwrap and unbutton,
to search in every pocket for the ticket that, of course, they had
forgotten that morning and had left at home. Tempers ran out, and strong
words, likewise. As one man came to the barrier he said to the
"I'm afraid you're not very popular
this morning", to which the official replied, with a grin, "Well, I
don't care so long as I'm popular up there" - pointing to the office of
the General Manager of the Line. Splendid if he could manage to retain
his popularity with the passengers, but the principal thing, the
essential thing, was to be well-thought of by the Company.
Would you deem me irreverent if,
pointing my finger heavenwards, I say that the thing that counts is to
be "popular up there"? - "that he may please Him who hath chosen him to
be a soldier". To receive His smile - what honour, what ineffable
happiness, what all embracing satisfaction, And we haven't to wait till
the end to receive it, for, as Hebrews 11:5 says of Enoch, "before his
translation he had this testimony, that he pleased GOD."
Having come with me thus far, do you
wonder that both Timothy and we need strength to carry out what has been
laid before us? It will have to be a strength beyond our own. Very
affectionately Paul reminds Timothy of that strength before ever he
shows him why he will so badly need it. In the opening verse: "My son" -
it is "my child," really; so affectionately does this father think of
his son in the faith - "be strong [strengthen yourself] in the grace
that is in Christ Jesus".
You will only adequately strengthen
yourself when you learn day by day to draw upon His grace which alone is
sufficient to strengthen you for a life so strategic, so strenuous, so
sacrificial - and withal, so satisfying,
That will be, as we shall see later
on, the very last word that the Apostle will write to him: "Grace be
with you. Amen." (2 Timothy 2:1-7 Some
Things Every Christian)
Audie Murphy (Wikipedia) was an unlikely hero. Weighing in at only 112 pounds and
with the face of a child, Audie was 18 years old when he went overseas
during World War II. Nothing about him suggested a hero in the making.
Yet when called upon by his commanding officers to do the duty of a
soldier, Murphy held nothing back. By war’s end, the quiet boy from
Texas had fought with extraordinary bravery and saved the lives of
countless fellow soldiers. He returned home to an adoring public, was
awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, and received at least 36 other
medals—more than anyone else in U.S. history, all because nothing meant
more to him as a soldier than the will of his commanding officer.
The great puritan preacher
Richard Baxter wrote
It is a most lamentable thing to see how most people spend their time
and their energy for trifles, while God is cast aside. He who is all
seems to them as nothing, and that which is nothing seems to them as
good as all. It is lamentable indeed, knowing that God has set mankind
in such a race where heaven or hell is their certain end, that they
should sit down and loiter, or run after the childish toys of the world,
forgetting the prize they should run for. Were it but possible for one
of us to see this business as the all-seeing God does, and see what most
men and women in the world are interested in and what they are doing
every day, it would be the saddest sight imaginable. Oh, how we should
marvel at their madness and lament their self-delusion! If God had never
told them what they were sent into the world to do, or what was before
them in another world, then there would have been some excuse. But it is
His sealed word, and they profess to believe it.
><> ><> ><>
A strong desire to please God is the highest incentive for doing
His will and shows a true understanding of godly fear. We may have
other worthy motives, such as the inner satisfaction of doing
what's right or the anticipation of heavenly rewards. But we bring
the greatest glory to God when we obey and serve Him because we
long to do what brings Him delight.
Craig, a first-grader, beamed with satisfaction as he handed me a
spelling test on which his teacher had written a large "100—Good
work!" Craig said,
I showed this to Dad and Mother
because I knew it would please them.
I could just see him riding home on the
bus, hardly able to wait for the moment when his parents would
express their excitement with how well he had done. His desire to
make Dad and Mom happy obviously was a strong motivating factor in
When Paul used the
of a soldier serving with single-minded
devotion to please his commanding officer (2Timothy 2:3, 4), he
wanted Timothy to know the supreme reason for serving God, even
when the going gets tough. Wholehearted devotion, marked by hard
work and careful attention to God's rules, brings the greatest
glory to the Lord when it comes from a yielded, loving heart. Our
Savior, Who in His humanity shrank from the prospect of being made
the sin-offering for mankind, nevertheless prayed,
Not My will, but Yours, be done
Our motive, like His, should be
the desire to please the Father. —H V Lugt (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Man weighs the deeds;
God weighs the intentions.
><> ><> ><>
What Comes Naturally? -
The story is
told about an elderly man who retired after many years in the
British Army. One day a man who knew about his long and
distinguished military career decided to play a prank on him. As
the old soldier walked down the street with his arms full of
packages, the jokester sneaked up behind him and shouted,
"Attention!" Without hesitation, the military man dropped his arms
to his side, and every package went tumbling to the sidewalk.
Without a conscious thought, the veteran was doing what comes
naturally for a soldier. Similarly, as believers in Christ, we
should respond in a manner that corresponds with our new life. Our
behavior is to be more and more in line with the example of Jesus'
life. We still must deal with sinful desires, so we need to
discipline ourselves to be the kind of person God wants us to be.
Like a soldier or athlete in training (2Timothy 2:3, 4, 5), we need
to practice repeatedly until doing what's right comes naturally.
Through faith in Christ we are children of the heavenly Father. By
the power of the indwelling Spirit, therefore, let us develop the
habit of submitting to God's Word. Then, in every situation of
life we will increasingly find that obeying Him is "doing what
comes naturally." —R W De Haan (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Lord, may our lips and lives
The blessed gospel we profess;
So let our works and virtues shine
And speak of Him who is divine. —Anon.
When we walk with Christ, we become more like Him.
><> ><> ><>
Supreme Motive - April
15, 2006 READ: 2 Timothy 2:1-13
"walk worthy of the Lord, fully
pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work." —see note
A first-grader beamed with
satisfaction as he handed me a spelling test on which his teacher
had written a large "100%—Good work!" The boy said, "I showed this
to Mom and Dad because I knew it would please them." I could just
see him riding home on the bus, hardly able to wait for the moment
when his parents would express their excitement with how well he
had done. His desire to make Mom and Dad happy was obviously a
very important motivating factor in his life.
In 2Timothy 2:3, Paul used the image of a soldier who serves with
single-minded devotion to please his commanding officer. He wanted
Timothy to know the supreme reason for serving God, even when the
going gets tough. Wholehearted devotion, marked by hard work and
careful attention to God’s rules, brings the greatest glory to the
Lord when it comes from a yielded and loving heart.
In His humanity, our Savior desired that the prospect of a cruel
death and of becoming the sin-offering for mankind would pass from
Him. Nevertheless He prayed, "Not My will, but Yours, be done"
(Luke 22:42). Jesus’ supreme motive was a desire to please His
Father. That should be our incentive too. —Herbert Vander Lugt (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
In all I think and say and do,
I long, O God, to honor You;
But may my highest motive be
To love the Christ who died for me. —D. De Haan
Others see what we do, but God sees why we do it.
><> ><> ><>
Is Faith An Escape? -
November 25, 1996 - READ: Hebrews 11:32-40
Endure hardship as a good
soldier of Jesus Christ. --2Timothy 2:3
Travel to the moon is no longer
a fantasy. Human beings have walked on its surface. But years ago
when the Hayden Planetarium in New York advertised (merely in
jest) that it would take reservations for that lunar trip of
240,000 miles, 18,000 people applied within a few days.
A psychologist who studied their letters concluded that most of
them were eager to escape from their responsibilities and
problems. One woman wrote, "It would be heaven to get away from
this busy earth . . . and just go somewhere that's nice and
peaceful, good, safe, and secure."
Many who don't believe in Christ think of Christians as
emotionally weak people who are looking for an escape from real
life now and pie-in-the-sky later. But biblical faith is not an
opiate that induces drug-like passivity. In Hebrews 11:32-38 we
read about men and women who chose to endure torture rather than
renounce their spiritual convictions. And today, bold missionaries
throughout the world illustrate that following Christ is
As modern-day believers, we may not experience great persecution
for our faith, but we do face hardships and trials. Our faith in
Christ is not an escape; it gives us the strength to endure.
—Vernon C Grounds (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Against the foe in vales below
Let all our strength be hurled;
Faith is the victory, we know,
That overcomes the world. --Yates
Great faith is often built during great trials.
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