Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.2 Timothy 2:3-4 NIV
Paul uses several similes to describe the Church and its members. We are the family of God and the body of Christ. We’re the temple of God. He calls us farmers, laborers, and athletes. In this verse, we’re soldiers. As such, we’re encouraged to share in hardships that come with warfare. As part of that calling, we separate ourselves to the cause, avoiding entanglements with the world around us. I am most impressed with the call to “join me in suffering.” There is a bond that comes from being in battle together, each bearing his share of the load.
As fellow soldiers, what do we need from one another?
- I need you to have my back. Cover me in prayer. Defend me from attacks, whether demonic or human. We are brothers in arms.
- I need a place to have my wounds treated and my resources renewed. I need the refreshing of the Spirit, the sustenance of the Word, and the encouragement of fellowship with those on the same mission.
- I need to be trained for the battle ahead. My skills need to be sharpened and my strength increased. Push me to grow!
- I need to be informed of the battle plan. We are in this together, but we each have our individual responsibilities. We need to know the mission and the methods. We have to keep communication lines open.
There are probably more, but you get the idea. If Paul’s language means anything, we are soldiers in the same army on the same mission enduring the same hardships. Our gathering together is essential. We can’t afford to be separated from the group. Alone, we become sitting ducks for the enemy. As we gather today, let’s each do our share so we can each receive our share. We are on a mission.