In 2 Timothy 2:4, Paul tells us that “No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in the concerns of civilian life; he seeks to please the recruiter.” Each of us has been recruited by Jesus Himself to serve as soldiers in His army. Our orders are to further His mission and bring about the Kingdom of God here on earth. When we said yes to Jesus, we enlisted in His service for the remainder of our lives. We surrendered our individual wills and desires in deference to the plans and purposes of God. We are no longer our own, for we were bought at a price (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
If we are sincere in our desire to follow Jesus, we understand that we have surrendered our lives to Him. Yet many, dare I say most, of us ignore the requirements of our position. We get that we are soldiers for Christ, but neglect the fact that we should not get “entangled in the concerns of civilian life”. For most of us, “entangled” would be putting it mildly. While followers of Jesus are called to be different, we live as if there is no difference between following Christ and chasing the American dream. We accumulate debt, possessions, and wealth just like our non-believing neighbors.
We need to think and behave differently. We need to start asking the question, “Will this glorify God?” before every purchase and every decision. How might our lives change if we implemented this discipline into our daily activities? Would we think of the poor every time we pulled out our money for a purchase? Might we consider the two billion starving people in the world before putting the next bite of cake into our mouths? Maybe we would think twice before taking that luxury vacation given there are millions of people living in refugee camps. Perhaps there is a better way we could spend the resources God has entrusted to us.
What might change in our lives if only we would consider whether or not our next action would glorify God? I believe we can all develop the habit of a “Christ-first” attitude. It’s not just a good idea; it’s what Jesus commanded us to do (Matthew 25:31-46). As soldiers of Christ, part of our mission is to make certain that God’s name is glorified in everything we do. Our lives are to reflect His love, grace, and mercy. This is hard to do when we’re busy keeping up with the latest trends or stressing out about the ever-accumulating bills.
Our job is to be so consumed with the things of God that we have no time for the things of “civilian life”. When we are focused on obeying His commands, expressing His love, and modeling the example He set for us, we will be free from the entanglements of society. It is a constant battle because the enemy is ever seeking new ways to distract and ensnare us. We can win these battles if we only remember to ask that simple question: “Will this glorify God?