2 Timothy 2:3
You therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
The question before us is, — How may we become good soldiers of Jesus Christ?
I. WE MUST WEAR THE UNIFORM OF CHRIST. This uniform is not made up of different-coloured cloth, such as we see other soldiers wear. No; but it is made up of the tempers, or dispositions, which form their character. To wear the uniform of Jesus, then, is to have the same mind, or spirit, or temper that He had.
II. The second thing for us to do, if we would be good soldiers of Jesus Christ, is to — OBEY THE ORDERS OF JESUS. Some time ago, a largo ship was going from England to the East Indies. She was carrying a regiment of soldiers. When they were about half-way through their voyage, the vessel sprang a leak, and began to fill with water. The lifeboats were launched and made ready, but there were not enough of them to save all on board the ship. Only the officers of the ship, the cabin passengers, and some of the crew, could be taken in the boats. The soldiers had to be left on board, to go down with the ship. The officers determined to die with their men. The colonel was afraid the men would get unruly if they had nothing to do. That he might prevent this he ordered them to prepare for parade. Soon they all appeared in full dress. He set the regimental band on the quarter-deck, with orders to keep on playing lively airs. Then he formed his men in close ranks on the deck. With his sword drawn in his hand, he took his place at their head. Every officer and man is at his post. The vessel is gradually sinking; but they stand steady at their post, each man keeping step. And then, just as the vessel is settling for its last plunge, and death is rushing in upon them, the colonel cries, — "Present arms!" and that whole regiment of brave men go down into their watery grave, presenting arms as death approached them. Those were good soldiers. They had learned to obey orders. But this is a hard lesson to learn. Several boys were playing marbles. In the midst of their sport it began to rain. One of the boys, named Freddie, stopped and said, "Boys, I must go home. Mother told me not to stay out in the rain." "Your mother — fudge!" said two or three of the boys. "The rain won't hurt you any more than it will us." Freddie turned on them with a look of pity, and yet with the courage of a hero, while he calmly said, "I'll not disobey my mother for any of you." That was the spirit of a good soldier. After a great battle once, the general was talking to his officers about the events of the day. He asked them who had done the best that day. Some spoke of one man who had fought very bravely, and some of another. "No," said the general, "you are all mistaken. The best man in the field to-day was a soldier who was just lifting up his arms to strike an enemy, but when he heard the trumpet sound a retreat, he checked himself, and dropped his arm without striking the blow. That perfect and ready obedience to the will of his general is the noblest thing that has been done to-day."
III. We must FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE OF JESUS. When Alexander the Great was leading his army over some mountains once, they found their way all stopped up with ice and snow. His soldiers were tired out with hard marching, and so disheartened with the difficulties before them, that they halted. It seemed as if they would rather lie down and die than try to go on any farther. When Alexander saw this, he did not begin to scold the men, and storm at them. Instead of this, he got down from his horse, laid aside his cloak, took up a pickaxe, and, without saying a word to any one, went quietly to work, digging away at the ice. As soon as the officers saw this, they did the same. The men looked on in surprise for a few moments, and then, forgetting how tired they were, they went to work with a will, and pretty soon they got through all their difficulties. Those were good soldiers, because they followed the example of their leader.
(Richard Newton, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.