1 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus,
2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.
3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.
5 An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.
6 It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.
7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. - 2 Timothy 2:1-7
This passage reminds us to share in suffering as a good soldiers. Paul chose the analogy of a soldier for a reason - the comparison helps us to visualize what it means to prepare for and to stand in the battle. Soldiers prepare for battle through intensive training - we are to prepare the same way. God gave us His Word as a way to prepare. When we get in to the Word every day, we adjust our mindset and allow Him to strengthen us so when the trials do hit, we’re ready and we know how to respond. We must make meditating on and memorizing His truths a priority in the good times, or we will falter in the difficult times. When His promises are stored in our hearts, they are great weapons in battle with the enemy of fear or despair. If we wait to train until we’re in the midst of a battle - if we wait to get into the Word until times get hard, we will have a difficult time standing firm when conflicts arise. It is at these times He will bring to mind the truths we have memorized and the promises He has made, and it is through His Word that He will bring peace and strength. As a soldier, we are also called to stand firm in the battle, resting on the foundation of our training and trusting in the One who oversees the battle. We know who wins in the end, my friends. We don’t need to fear in the battle. One of my favorite battle songs in this current trial is “Eye of the Believer” - I find so much strength in the lyrics, “whatever battle may come, you know He’s already won. So put your gloves on and pull out the fighter.”
A friend of mine who was an Air Force pilot told a story the other night that has stuck with me. I keep replaying it in my mind because it brings me such hope in this battle. She told the story of when she went through an intense period of enemy camp training while in the Air Force. She shared how she struggled with fear as they placed a bag over her head, heard others being tortured, and was dragged out in the middle of the freezing night to stand for hours. They flew the enemy’s flag and played the enemy’s music. She said the greatest battle was in her mind, and that she kept reminding herself this would all be over soon. She reminded herself this trial was just for a short time, and it would all be over soon, so she found the strength to endure till the end. After a long night outside, just as morning began to dawn, she said they were commanded to do an about face. They turned around to see that the enemy’s flag had been replaced by the American flag, and they instantly knew the drill was over. They were free. She shared the overwhelming sense of relief and joy that the training had come to an end. That story created such a beautiful image of redemption for me. The way those soldiers must have felt when they turned around and realized their struggle was over reminds me of what we’re going to feel like when we meet Jesus. The feeling of freedom, the exhuberant celebration, it will be indescribable. We will stand at the moment our battle ends knowing we fought the good fight, knowing we kept our eyes on Him, and we will revel in the joy that He’s come to take us home. The enemy may surround us while we’re here on earth - this is the place he flies his flag. But that flag will be replaced someday soon by the One who frees us. This battle we’re in is only temporary. Soon and very soon, we’re going to see the King.
Remembering my battle with cancer is only temporary brings me peace. Recalling my training, bringing to mind His promises and the truths I’ve memorized brings me strength. Knowing He has already won this battle brings me hope. I know He’s got this, I just need to stand firm on my training in the battle.
Press on ~ you are loved
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