“No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.” ~ 2 Timothy 2:4 NKJV
This verse first struck me back in 2016, which was the first year I read the Bible cover-to-cover (and a year where I really drew near to God in a special way for the first time). I read it again recently, and I couldn’t shake it for the rest of the day. This verse is going to be my anthem for 2018. And to me, it’s all about “wartime living”. Paul is telling Timothy not to get caught up in earthly things or earthly struggles. Not to waste time on things that have nothing to do with his “mission”.
As Christians, we are engaged in a war. The Bible tells us that we wrestle not with flesh and blood, but rather we fight a spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:12). Our weapons are mighty for pulling down strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4). We have an enemy prowling around, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). God has provided us tools and armor to fight these spiritual battles (Ephesians 6:12-17). And to most effectively fight that battle, we have to cast aside everything that so easily entangles us (Hebrews 12:1), and push on toward the prize of the high calling of God (Philippians 3:14).
I’ve struggled with this idea before. Are we just supposed to stop our whole lives and walk around telling random people that Jesus loves them? Of course not. Although it’s an option (). To me, this means that everything I do, in word or deed, should all be for God’s glory (Colossians 3:17). And not just that I say “to God be the glory”, but that every decision I make, every word I say, every interaction I have with someone should point them to God and honor him.
This is honestly the basis for my 2018 initiatives. Simplifying life so I’m not so focused on things and doing and stress. No debt. No worthless pieces of “stuff” in my home. I don’t have time for stress. I’m fighting a war. I want to be financially free so I can give my money to kingdom-building ministries. I want to have a simple home that doesn’t need hours of cleaning just to invite someone over who needs to be loved on. I don’t want to be so focused on activities and rushing around for events that I can’t stop to notice someone and pray with them and hug them.
I am also reading this verse through the lens of a mother and a wife. I can spend my time trying to stage my little life and make it look perfect on social media. Or I can focus on ministering to the little hearts of my boys in a world that is hooked on pornography and cranking out passive “men”. I can entangle myself with “if only” in my marriage, and wondering if grass was greener elsewhere. Or I can dedicate my time and energy to helping my husband draw near to God and modeling for the world the relationship between Jesus Christ and his Bride, the church – extending that grace when the world says to be selfish.
To be quite honest, this verse hits me right in the feels. Which is why I am memorizing it and meditating on it and asking God to make it my way of life, starting this year. As I write this, I continue to be convicted. “No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life”. Wow, that hits home!
Father, as I start a new week, fresh with opportunities to choose between you or my own selfishness, help me to discern, moment-by-moment, how I can be kingdom-minded in every decision, word, thought, and deed. Help me to make the sometimes difficult choice to fight this war effectively, using all the tools you’ve provided. Help me to be in this world, but not of this world. And help me to love the people in this world, but not this world itself. Help me to wake each morning, rise and shine, and prepare for battle.