Although a week has passed since observing Veterans Day, I want to give a belated thanks to all of our veterans who have given of their dedicated service in the defense of the freedoms we all hold so dear here in the United States. An Act approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as "Armistice Day." In 1954 the word "Armistice" was dropped and the word "Veterans” was added. With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars. On October 8th, 1954 President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first veterns day proclamation which stated: "In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans' organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose….” To all of our courages veterans, please accept our heartfelt thanks for your service and sacrifice.
The observance of Veterns Day reminds me of the Apostle Paul’s words to Timothy who was a young spiritual warrior in the faith. In Scripture the Apostle Paul paints a portrait of a spiritual soldier. “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” (II Timothy 2:3-4)
Paul instructs Timothy to be strong and endure the difficult challenges of life, as a soldier would stand firm in their commitment to defend their cause. We all want the blessings of God in our lives. We want everything to go our way, no sleepless nights, no trials, no persecution, no heartaches, but remember we are in a spiritual battle. We fight the world, the flesh, the devil, making this world a battlefield not a play yard. God did not start the battle, the devil started the war and as the prince of the power of the air of this world the devil will stop at nothing to see to it that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is hindered and we as Christians are rendered ineffective. We are entangled in a battle whether we like it or not so as Christian soldiers we better get our armor on and our heads up so that we can win.
As soldiers we are to endure hardness (difficulties). The realities of the battle are that there will be casualties. There will be hardships and tough times. The reality of life is that Christianity has suffered tremendous persecution over the years. In the first three centuries we saw tremendous persecution at the hands of the Roman government. Christians were thrown to lions and burned at the stake. Some three million Christians were martyred for their faith in the first three centuries. It is believed that each of the twelve disciples was martyred for their faith as soldiers of Jesus Christ. Paul was awaiting his execution as he penned these words in the book of Timothy. As spiritual soldiers we would do well to understand that the Christian life of honoring God and following after righteousness does not always gain us accolades, commendations, and praise from the world, but rather it brings persecution, trials and estrangement.
Paul warns Timothy and us today to not become enamored by the enticements of this life and do not become entangled with the affairs of this life. This is especially good advice for the younger people who are exuberant about the prospects to go out and become independent and self-sufficient working and acquiring material possessions. All too often we get entangled in the snare of thinking success means I have to have all the things money can buy and we lose sight of what God wants for our lives. We begin to seek our own ambitions for our life instead of what God wants to do through our life and soon we find ourselves compromising our Christian principles to be accepted by the world. A soldier avoids the entanglements of this worlds system and philosophy.
The Christian soldier’s number one objective is to be loyal to his commander in Chief the Lord Jesus Christ. As Christians we are to take orders and execute those orders faithfully as found in the Word of God. As a good soldier the Apostle Paul had endured much affliction, false accusations, and even death threats by his own countrymen the Jews. They called him a traitor to the Jews. They said things about him that was not true. Paul however responded in love, as a soldier of Christ must. Paul says, “My hearts desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved”. (Romans 10:1) God will answer that prayer one day. If you have loved ones that are out of God’s will do not give up, keep praying, keeping soldiering for Christ because one day God may use you to answer that prayer.
It is our duty to follow orders and play by the rules with the right motives, right attitudes, right responses and endure affliction and hardness as a good soldier knowing that there awaits for us at the end of the battle our reward if we will endure hardness (difficulty) as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
Pastor, Randy Mason www.libertybaptistofmarshalltown.com
Liberty Baptist Church
Pastor Randy Mason