“You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops.” (2 Timothy 2:3-6)
THE SOLDIER — THE ATHLETE — AND THE FARMER
1. The Soldier
The Soldier is trained in combat tactics. His government supplies him with military training, military clothing, and military weapons. He is ready to war with enemies who oppose his government. This soldier is not alone. Along with many others in his troop, and the vast army around the world, he follows orders from his superior officer. He has no desire to go AWOL – absent without leave. He does not concentrate or get all wrapped up and entangled with family issues or other controversies, for he knows very well that would distract him from his purpose.
*Take every thought captive to the Word of God. Stay focused and use your weapons.
*Further study: 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 & Ephesians 6:10-18
2. The Athlete
The athlete has a deep burning desire to attain the prize ahead of him. Every day he disciplines himself, training fervently, desiring to follow all the rules. He is focused on the end result and has absolute trust in his personal trainer; obedient to do exactly what he is told to do. He believes that he will receive the prize he is striving for and is daily encouraged by his coach that he can win!
*Forgetting those things which are behind, reach forward and press toward the goal.
*Further study: Philippians 3:13-14
3. The Farmer
The farmer tills his ground, plants the seed, waters it, fertilizes it and removes unwanted weeds. The farmer is watchful over his ground every day…keeping out animals, disease, and bugs that come to steal and destroy his crop. When the crop is in, he is first to eat and enjoy the fruit of his labor.
*The good ground bears fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.
*Further study: Mark 4:13-20
What does the soldier, the athlete, and the farmer have in common?
Purpose! ... and a driving will to fulfill it.
This is that…
which the soldier, the athlete, and the farmer receive.
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize?
Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.
“Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
“And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations…” (Revelation 2:26)