ODJ: soldiers, athletes and farmers

January 3, 2015 

READ: 2 Timothy 2:1-13 

Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus (v.3).

What do soldiers, athletes and farmers have in common? Discipline. Soldiers go through drills day in and day out. They want to be battle ready. Athletes undergo strict training so they can compete in the race. Farmers work from the rising of the sun until it sets, patiently toiling in hope of a bountiful harvest.

Believers in Jesus are to be like soldiers, athletes and farmers. That’s what the apostle Paul tells Timothy and us in 2 Timothy 2:3-6. Firstly, you’re a soldier. Recognise you’re always in a war, and don’t be surprised when you suffer. Expect it. Secondly, you’re an athlete. You’ve got to play by the rules to win the prize. Thirdly, you’re a farmer. The guy who works the hardest gets to be in line first to get the fruit.

That’s not all. Paul tells us to be “good soldier[s] of Christ Jesus” (v.3). The Greek word for “good” is kalos which means noble or excellent. In other words, we’re not to be just dutiful soldiers, we’re to be excellent soldiers who lead a disciplined life so as to please our Commanding Officer, the Lord Jesus Christ.

And like an athlete going for the gold, we give ourselves fully to spiritual training. We’re compelled to win, not just finish the race. We discipline ourselves and embrace hard years of effort so that we’re the best we can be, honing the gifts and talents God has given us to His glory.

Additionally, Christians are to be like hardworking farmers. The adjective hardworking used here means to work to the point of exhaustion. Christians work hard because they trust in God’s promises. He patiently works with us until success comes.

The question is: What kind of soldier, athlete or farmer will you and I be?

—Poh Fang Chia

365-day plan› Genesis 4:1-16

Read 1 Corinthians 9:7-25 and note how Paul describes his own ministry. 
Make a list of all the spiritual disciplines (such as prayer and reading God’s Word) you can think of. Which ones will you adopt in order to be a good soldier, a champion athlete or a hardworking farmer for God?