“A good soldier of Jesus Christ.” —2 Timothy 2:2, 3.
Paul does not appear to have pictured true believers as sluggards sound asleep upon the downiest beds; his description of a Christian in the text is that of a soldier, and that means something very far different either from a religious fop, whose best delight is music and millinery, or a theological critic who makes a man an offender for a word, or a spiritual glutton who cares for nothing but a lifelong enjoyment of the fat things full of marrow, or an ecclesiastical slumberer who longs only for peace for himself. He represents him as a soldier and that, I say, is quite another thing.
For what is a soldier? A soldier is a practical man, a man who has work to do, and hard, stern work. He may sometimes when he is at his ease wear the fineries of war, but when he comes to real warfare he cares little enough for them; the dust and the smoke, and the garments rolled in blood, these are for those who go a soldiering; and swords all hacked, and dented armor, and bruised shields, these are the things that mark the good, the practical soldier. Truly to serve God, really to exhibit Christian graces, fully to achieve a life-work for Christ, actually to winsouls, this is to bear fruit worthy of a Christian.
A soldier is a man of deeds, and not of words. He has to contend and fight. In war times his life knows little of luxurious ease. In the dead of night perhaps the trumpet sounds to boot and saddle, just at the time when he is most weary, and hemust away to the attack just when he would best prefer to take his rest in sleep. The Christian is a soldier in an enemy’s country always needing to stand on his watchtower, constantly to be contending, though not with flesh and blood, with far worse foes, namely, with spiritual wickednesses in high places.
From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "A Good Soldier Of Jesus Christ," delivered June 26, 1870. Image by mr-football under Creative Commons License.