The life of a civilian and the life of a soldier are worlds apart.
The civilian is under no one’s order. He can do as he pleases. From nine to five he can work as an employee at his job, earn his money, go to his home in the evening, enjoy his weekends and plan his vacations. He is a civilian.
But the soldier’s life is different—he is under orders. He cannot simply do as he pleases. He leaves his family with the awareness that he may then be put on the front lines and might give his life there. But because he is a soldier, he responds to the call, leaving his own desires and life behind in order to fulfill the commitment he has made to his commanding officer, his nation and its security.
The Mindset of Paul
The Apostle Paul understood very well what it meant to be a soldier. The Roman soldiers surrounding him in prison lived away from their homes and suffered for their cause. Their loyalty to their country and king was proven true by the way they suffered for it.
And we see from Paul’s life that he also understood suffering and paid the price, his own body marked with the wounds of serving Christ, his Master: “I bear on my body the marks of Jesus” (Galatians 6:17).
Similar to the Roman soldiers guarding him in prison, Paul’s loyalty to Christ was proven true by the suffering he endured. His life consisted of shipwrecks, nakedness, beatings, stonings, misunderstandings, desertion and being left to die.
The pressure, tension and anguish were so great that in 2 Corinthians 1:8, he said, “We were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.”
But Paul’s certificate of authenticity was not his accomplishments in the ministry…
- Not the churches he planted
- Not the revelations he had received
Rather, his certificate of authenticity was his own personal commitment to inconvenience and his willingness to suffer.
Paul calls Timothy to this same acceptance of hardships, knowing that in the work of the Lord, suffering is bound to come. Paul explains in 2 Timothy 2:4 —“No soldier entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.”
If Timothy wanted to please the Lord as a good soldier, there was a price he must pay. He must conduct himself differently than those he lived among, keeping himself from getting tangled up in the affairs of this life.
- There would be things he must say “no” to
- Things he must go without
- Suffering he must endure
Dr. KP Yohannan, founder and director of the nonprofit organization Gospel for Asia, has written more than 200 books, including Revolution in World Missions, an international bestseller with more than 4 million copies in print. He and his wife, Gisela, have two grown children, Daniel and Sarah, who both serve the Lord with their families.
Gospel for Asia is a nonprofit organization serving the “least of these” in Asia since its beginning in 1979, often in places where no one else is serving. Gospel for Asia supports national workers who are serving as the hands and feet of Christ by ministering to people’s needs so they can understand the love of God for them for the first time. Gospel for Asia is engaged in dozens of projects, such as caring for poor children, slum dwellers and widows and orphans; providing clean water by funding wells; supporting medical missions; and meeting the needs of those in leprosy colonies. Through Gospel for Asia’s Bridge of Hope Program, tens of thousands of children are being rescued from the generational curses of poverty and hopelessness.
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Learn what the fruit is of being willing to pay the price.