Civilian Affairs or the Victor's Crown--by Kimberly B. Southall

Are you a good soldier of Christ? Will you receive the victor's crown? Have you given it much thought? In his second letter to Timothy, Paul wrote:
 

3Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs–he wants to please his commanding officer. 5Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules. –2 Timothy 2:3-5 (NIV)

Now is the time to give these matters serious consideration.

Are you more involved in civilian or worldly matters than you ought to be? Are you more concerned with worldly possessions than whether or not you and your family members are living according to God's Word? Does the scheduling of sporting events, school functions, or civic organizations have a higher priority in your life than worshiping God or meeting with your brothers and sisters in Christ? Is it more important to you to make sure that you watch your favorite television show than it is to make sure that you read your Bible? Is pleasing someone else–anyone else–more important to you than pleasing Christ? These are important questions to consider, for if you answered "yes" to any of them, then you are getting involved in civilian affairs and are not wanting to please your commanding officer (Jesus Christ) as you ought to be. Indeed, scripture makes it clear that if you are involved in civilian affairs, then you are not actually serving as a soldier of Christ Jesus!

Are you competing according to the rules? In other words, are you living your life the way God says to in His Word? If you aren't living according to God's Word, then verse 5 above clearly explains that you are not eligible to receive the victor's crown (eternal life). In a sporting event, an athlete is responsible for knowing what the rules are and is expected to follow them or he is not eligible to win and claim the prize. The very same is true for Christians, as pointed out in the passage of scripture above. We are responsible for reading God's Word for ourselves and knowing what God expects of us and then doing it. If we do not, then we are not eligible for the victor's crown, which is actually salvation and eternal life.

So often, it is easy to be caught up in the world around us and scarcely realize that we are wandering away from living the life God wants us to. But we must not continue to behave that way. We must live according to the rules, and we must be diligent to serve our commanding officer, Jesus Christ. Each of us has a choice. What's it to be for you–civilian affairs or the victor's crown?

Copyright © 2001 Kimberly B. Southall. All rights reserved.