"Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus" - 2 Timothy 2:3 (NIV).
The Apostle Paul often drew illustrations of certain areas of life to emphasize a point. For example in 2 Timothy 2:5 he notes, "Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules". Paul used this metaphor of athletes in several other places (I Cor 9:25-27; I Cor 9:24).
One other area he normally referred to was of soldiers. In 2 Timothy 2:3 he notes, "Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus". You and I may ask that aside from athletes why was Paul also drawn to use the imagery of soldiers, who specialise in war. For example in Ephesians 6: 10-11, he notes, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes." He then goes further to urge to " Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (vv 17).
The use of this warriors imagery was not far fetched. Almost from inception God's people have been involved in battle against the forces of the enemy. The Israelites have from time to time to fight for every inch of their territory on this day. In preparation for his ministry Jesus went up to the mountain and fasted for 40 days to draw power to fight off the enemy.
As a believer you have no other but are part of God's army involved in a mighty battle "against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (vv 11-12). You are already conscripted in God's mighty army. Paul urges each one of us not to relax, but like good soldiers to be always on guard, and ever ready to "extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one" (vv 16).
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, as a soldier in your good army I pray to be always on guard and ready to fight off the enemy against all his dirty schemes and feeble attacks, this I pray in Jesus's name.