Word@Work, Let God's Word energise your working day!

Disciplined Service

2 Timothy 2:3-7
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. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this. (NIV)

For some people, the Christian faith is a nice way to be comforted and feel better about yourself. Certainly God brings us real comfort as we trust in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 1:3-5), and those whose hope in Christ is firm have a confidence to move forward in obedience. But our faith is not about us feeling good about ourselves; the goal of our faith is that we will be pleasing to our commanding officer, Jesus Christ. And that will involve disciplined, sacrificial service.
Paul introduces three pictures of how we should follow Jesus: as our military commander, as the one who arranges an athletic competition and as a farmer who works hard for a good harvest. All three scenarios demand hard work, discipline and endurance. There is no suggestion of personal comfort being one of the objectives, quite the opposite. The motivation to continue is not the immediate ‘feel good’ factor but the end result. That result brings glory to God and also a reward to those who have served faithfully. That reward is literally ‘out of this world’: it is not accessible in this life but assured in the next.
It is important to think about why God has saved us. Otherwise we will live the Christian life to suit our own convenience. Instead, He has saved us to participate in the battle to expose the evil in people’s hearts and announce the gospel; to run the race which Jesus has arranged uniquely for each individual believer; to sow the seed of the Word and to harvest the crop of righteousness and new believers. That is why Jesus paid for us with His blood and bought us: He therefore owns us and has full rights over us. Pleasing Him should be our highest ambition. So let’s think about how closely our lives match up with that – and having thought, lets decide to make decisions which will lead to self-denying, God-glorifying action.

Supreme Lord of all. Thank You for being in charge of everything and for uniquely tailoring my fight and race of faith so that I can bring glory to You. I am sorry when I have sought my own comfort and ignored my responsibility of being a good soldier of Jesus Christ (not in physical violence but standing against the devil’s lies); to control myself and strive for the objectives You have set into my life; and to sow the Word and reap a harvest of souls and righteousness. Please help me to have such a desire to please You that I will work hard and endure suffering for the sake of the gospel. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Bible Book: 

© Dr Paul Adams