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No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. 2 Timothy 2:4 (NIV)

Military service is far more appealing during times of peace than in times of war. Growing up in the 1960’s, I remember the protests and controversy surrounding the Vietnam War. Every year the military drew dates for the draft. Those dates became the order in which men were required to report for military service and inevitably deployment overseas. The higher your number, the more likely you were to be chosen.

With few exceptions, there was no way out of fulfilling your requirements. Those that were called and survived left as boys and, the lucky ones, returned as men who’d seen things no man alive would want to see. But they hadn’t been called to be tourists. They were called as soldiers with a job to do.

It’s interesting that Paul makes the analogy of the servant of Christ and a soldier when he writes to his young protégé, Timothy. All those in the Mediterranean world knew about soldiers. Rome’s tight grip on the world was due to the presence of a well-trained and disciplined army. There may have been atrocities, but the main goal of the soldier was to keep Rome strong and they did very well at it for hundreds of years.

Soldiers aren’t called to live in peace, they are called to acquire and keep the peace. As soldiers for Christ we must remember that we are at war. Our main charge is not to develop strong churches and cool programs. While worship of almighty God is essential, one must never forget that we have but one command from our commander and that command is spelled out very succinctly in Matthew 28. We are to make disciples and teach them about Jesus.

Jesus didn’t make disciples from good, church-going men and women. He didn’t spend his time preaching to the choir; in fact he made it clear he was called to make disciples and followers from the sick, the destitute, and the immoral. The healthy don’t need a doctor, the sick do.

Each of us is called to be a soldier for Christ. Our primary job is to live the gospel of Jesus Christ out in a way that shows the world they can experience forgiveness and freedom from the sins and struggles that hold them captive.

Whether you are in full-time ministry or a factory worker, a teacher or a hamburger flipper, your mission is the same. Disciples aren’t made through well-designed programs or social media. Disciples are made through hand-to-hand combat.

As a soldier for Jesus, who can you touch today? Who do you know in your circles that need to feel the encouragement, forgiveness and freedom of the grace you have received through Christ? They don’t need to hear your sermons. You don’t need to have a seminary degree to show them the way. You just need to be willing to share your life with them.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, you have called us to be a soldier in your army. Empower us with your Spirit to stay true to our calling so that we may win others to you. Amen.

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February 2023
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