“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)
Many decades ago, C. T. Studd wrote a booklet called “Chocolate Soldiers” in which he lamented that the Christian church under heat from the world had gone soft, pliable and been moulded to the world’s ways and affairs. It may well be that we are more like that than what C. T. Studd observed.
Hymns like “Soldiers of Christ Arise” and “Onward Christian Soldiers” are not even sung in this age of chocolate Christian soldiers. It seems that we would rather offend Jesus Christ than the unbelieving world.
The “hardship” Paul exhorted Timothy to endure was not the normal difficulties of human existence but hardship that comes from being a soldier and servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Where are the soldiers of Jesus Christ today? Where are the Christians who refuse to be entangled in the affairs of the world? Where are the Christians who are only concerned with pleasing Jesus Christ?
Do we think that if we don’t offend the world but live like it (as Lot did) we are somehow serving Jesus Christ? Have we have become so embedded and entangled in this world that we are useless in Christ’s heavenly army?
Does it really cause us any concern that baptisteries are dry? Could that be a reflection of the dryness and barrenness of the church? Any living thing that does not reproduce after its kind is doomed to extinction. The same is true for churches – many have trundled that path. The health of any living organism is not measured solely in numbers but also in its ability to reproduce.
Paul’s letter to Timothy gives us a clue to the attitude that we would do well to adopt: We are soldiers in Jesus Christ’s army enlisted by Him in order to please Him. A soldier does not serve his own interests but those of the head of the army – in this case, Jesus Christ – and neither do soldiers serve alone or they die.
The biblical response to these questions is not more resolve, activity, programs or energy. The response is that we acknowledge our woeful position, humble ourselves before God, turn from our worldly sinful ways and call upon the name of the Lord.
There are a number of women recorded as barren in the Bible but each became a mother after drawing near to God. God is more interested in our relationship to Him (knowing Him intimately) than any temporal interest of ours.