Soldiers and civilians

2 Timothy 2:4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.

In this natural world, no one is a soldier and a civilian at the same time. You are either one or the other. You are either serving your country in the military (subject to the requirements and structure of that life) or building your own life according to your own desires.

There is a similar spiritual reality. We cannot be engaged in this spiritual battle and be entwined with the things of this carnal life. Yes, there are things that require our attention-work, grocery shopping, home maintenance, etc-but these things don’t need to disengage us from the battle. In fact, they could all be theaters where the battle is engaged.

How many believers indulge in entertainment that pollutes them or leisure activities that dull their spiritual appetites? We deceive ourselves when we think we are effectively fighting an enemy that we live in agreement with. A soldier that defects to the enemy is called a traitor and is subject to being charged with treason and we would agree that is the right thing to do. We are much more merciful to ourselves, justifying our daily defections as we romp carelessly in the devil’s minefields. Unaware of the danger that lies just beneath the surface, we risk being blown to pieces at any moment.

The true spiritual soldier realizes the importance of being focused in the battle and the danger of compromise, but his primary motivation is the pleasure of his commanding officer. He serves joyfully for the reward of the pleasure upon His countenance. He embraces the discipline required and the sufferings encountered because the battle is a worthy one and the reward is eternal. He is ever on the alert for a command that may be issued and hastens to perform all that his Commander requires, for he is well equipped and victory is assured. The affairs of this life pale in comparison to the excitement of his journey. He will live and die as a soldier of Jesus Christ.

Light bulb and lamp Christians

John 5:35 He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light.

In this time of trouble and fear, distinctions are made between the true and false, the mature and immature, the spiritual and the carnal, the lamps and the light bulbs

Lightbulb Christians are able to emit light but the source is not related to a flame. There is no heat, there is no burning and at any moment the delicate inner workings of the bulb could be disturbed by some shaking or other, burst, and the light be extinguished. The lightbulb Christian can be shining or not based on the flip of a switch that anything in proximity to it has access to. Life is good and all is happy-the switch is flipped on and the light is shining. However a little trouble comes into the life and it flips the switch off and the source of power is interrupted. The lamp Christian, however, depends upon the burning of the oil that is contained within and as long as there is a continual supply there is a continual burning and shining. 

A lightbulb with its artificial, man-made light, can shine without burning. But a lamp must burn in order to shine. The Holy Spirit will be faithful to provide the oil we need – so let us burn and let us shine.