Civilian affairs

Paul is writing to Timothy in what will be his final letter that we are aware of amongst Paul’s great writings recorded in the New Testament. Paul has been calling Timothy to imitate him, having received the Holy Spirit and being bold in sharing the Gospel with other people and being prepared to suffer as a result of the work that he has done.

Now in chapter 2, Paul tells Timothy, in essence, that he should “keep his head down” and keep working. He says:

No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.

2 Timothy 2:4

I say “keep his head down”, not in a way to suggest that Paul wants Timothy to ignore people or situations around him. Nor am I suggesting that he tries to stay hidden.

Instead, with diligence, with focus, Paul wants Timothy to doggedly keep working. He wants him to not become entangled in the things of the world. Jesus is both Paul and Timothy’s commanding officer. He is the one that is driving them forward and this commanding officer says that they shouldn’t be concerned about what they will eat, what they will wear, or be concerned about other things of the world. These are civilian affairs that will distract them from the work that the commander has called them.

In fact, Paul says that they are called to suffer. He tells Timothy that he should join him in suffering for Christ. Not “be ready” to suffer, but to join him in suffering, as a soldier for Christ.

This is not only the life that Timothy is called to live, but each of us. We should each live without distraction from these civilian affairs. We have been called to a life that focuses on pleasing our commanding officer, a life that no longer entangles itself in the things of the world, but moves forward for the sake of Christ, doing the work that he has called each of us to do, just as Paul reminds Timothy that he is to do.

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