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. (2 Tim 2:3-4)

“Soldier on” is an expression that depicts soldiers advancing in the pursuit of their mission objective despite hardship. The two words used in that simple expression say it all. A solider is one who is sent on a mission. He is to stay the course given to him, stay free from distractions, and do the job he is sent to do despite the hindrances and difficulties. If he was given a particular post to occupy he could not leave it. If he was given a specific assignment he needed to finish it. Simply put – he was to solider on with his duties.

Paul used this kind of military metaphor in his letter to Timothy, as well as other places in his letters. In his letter to Philemon he called Archippus, an additional addressee, “our fellow solider” (Philemon 2). In his letter to the Philippians he called Epaphroditus “our fellow soldier” (Phil 2:25).[1] The picture would be easily understood given the Roman cultural backdrop. Roman soldiers endured hardship in the service of the emperors that ruled over them.  They were not to be distracted by ease; they were not to be entangled by civilian affairs; they were to simply pursue pleasing their commanding officer and the emperor in whose name they battled.

It’s a fitting metaphor for a Christian isn’t it?

Paul tells Timothy, “You therefore must endure hardship as a good solider of Jesus Christ” (2 Tim 2:3). Starting with the latter, notice that Timothy is not his own. He is a good soldier of Jesus Christ. That being the case, it’s fitting for Timothy (as well as any Christian) to pursue rendering complete submission to the mission of Jesus even when it’s hard. Paul was honest with Timothy. He didn’t try to shield him from the reality of hardship. Persecution would come. If Timothy was of the world the world would love him as its own but Jesus had chosen him out the world. He was resurrected to newness of life and he awoke in the midst of a wartime scenario with a new life purpose – “please him who enlisted him as a soldier” (2 Tim 2:4b).

It is the same for you and I.

Christian, may you be exhorted today to solider on. Stay the course, your role is important; your hardship is worth it. Be not entangled with the affairs of this life; soldier on. Brave the storm. Wait in faith. Do your work today for God’s glory. Encourage someone. Support your local church. Call someone you think is lonely. Share the Gospel with someone. Text someone a verse of Scripture. Pray. Share with someone in need.

And all the while remember, the one who enlisted you as a soldier laid His life down for you and has already procured victory.


[1] A few verses later Paul described his solider-like activity when he wrote, “Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem; because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life” (vs.29,30a).