Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. –2 Timothy 2:3
Many who sing “Onward Christian Soldiers” on Sunday morning sulk away to pursue their own pleasures the rest of the week. They think of life as a playground rather than a battlefield. Consequently they shrink back far as possible from the front-line when duty calls. They are looking for fun rather than a fight. Those guilty of this crime, sin, need a reminder such as this:
We often get into states and frames of mind, where we need something else besides consolation. A child would not grow, if it were always fed upon sweets. It must have exercise, and be exposed to the weather, and have the cold winds blow upon its face, and be hardened, so as to enable it to bear the chill winter and the nipping frosts.
So the child of God is not always petted, and fed upon love-tokens. He is not always carried in the warm bosom, or nursing the breasts of consolation, but he has to learn lessons to fit him to be a soldier. The soldier, we know, has to endure hardships. He has to lie all night upon the wet grass; to be pinched with hunger, parched with thirst, and nipped with cold; to make demanding marches; to hear the roar of the cannon and the whistling of the bullets, “the thunder of the captains and the shouting;” to see the flash of the saber uplifted to cut him down, and the glitter of the bayonet at his breast, aye, and to feel painful and dangerous wounds.
So with the spiritual soldier in God’s camp. He has to hunger and thirst, to suffer cold, nakedness, and hard privations, to be shot at by the arrows of calumny and the fiery darts of Satan, to make demanding marches through an enemy’s country, to suffer painful wounds, and by these very exercises learn to be a soldier. Only so far as he is thus exercised spiritually can he learn the art of war, can he know how to fight and make effectual battle under the banners of the Lord against the enemies of his salvation. –From Daily Portions