“Reinforce the guard, station the watchmen, prepare an ambush! The Lord will carry out his purpose.”Jeremiah 51:12 NIV
Characteristics of Soldiers of Christ
Over the last few months I have looked at the role of soldiers in the Old Testament – mainly in battles where faith in God our Father was important and often dictated the outcome as larger, overwhelming armies were overcome by smaller armies.
In the New Testament Christians are called to engage in spiritual battle with the forces of Satan, sin, and evil. Disciples of Christ fight with spiritual weapons, such as prayer and intercession, and the spiritual armour of God mentioned by Paul the Apostle in Ephesians 6. Paul called Timothy to be a good soldier of Christ and urged all Christians to fight the good fight of the faith.
“Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus … Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs – he wants to please his commanding officer.”2 Timothy 2: 1, 3-4
These words of the Apostle Paul to Timothy apply just as much today as they did to Timothy some 2000 years ago. The distractions of the world such as long involved hours in daily work and travel, time engaged in sports and other attractive things to watch and do, travel to exotic places, etc. constantly challenge our commitment to our call to be a ‘community of disciples on mission’. The immorality and spiritual immaturity of today’s post Christian society is a constant temptation for the believer who wants to live as a disciple of Christ. We are a new creation in Jesus Christ and the way we live now should be different from the world which does not know Christ. We must choose with God’s grace to live Christ-centered, blameless, disciplined, and loving lives that make a difference for God.
The costs of discipleship and the price of being a soldier of Christ are seldom mentioned today. The world’s emphasis on self-centeredness in all endeavours and on monetary success, and combined with easy access to entertainment through various media outlets can prevent us from satisfying our commanding officer, the Lord Jesus Christ. Many of the attributes of a good soldier, like discipline, commitment, sacrifice, service and self-control are less prized in today’s society. We can make a difference for God.
Soldiers of Christ, Arise, and put on the armour of Christ!
Top image credit: Photo of a Christian kneeling in prayer holding a cross, from bigstock.com, © rghenry, stock photo ID: 88983740. Used with permission.
Alan McKenzie is the National Prayer Coordinator of the Lamb of God, a community of the Sword of the Spirit with 7 branches located throughout New Zealand.