“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.”2 Timothy 2:1-4
When we think of a soldier, several things come to mind.
- Chain of Command
There is a discipline needed to avoid getting distracted by things of this world, which lead us to ignoring those activities that have eternal significance. What are they? Relationships. Leaders often are overly focused on getting results, and not enough focused on building relationships. The key relationships we need to be build, in this order, are with God, ourselves, and those God has called us to serve. It takes a great deal of discipline to keep our focus on this, and not let the tryingly of the urgent keeps from doing what is truly important.
The following of orders is an essential component of being a soldier. Without obedience to commanding officers, an army is not an army, but a disparate group that can not be effective against another army. There is an enemy we are fighting as Christian leaders. He has a name. Satan wants to destroy those who follow Christ. There is a true war. To be victorious, we must have an army that is obedient to its commander in chief.
Chain of Command
There is a clear chain of command that leaders must follow. This principle ties in with obedience, but goes even further. As a leader, we need to be a great follower. That is the mark of a top leader. Without this quality, a leader can not be effective. It takes great discipline and obedience to continually remember the chain of command. The concept is easy: “There is a God, and I am not him.” We report to the King of Kings. We wait for instructions, and validate that we are hearing clearly and correctly. When we believe that we have guidance, we act… we execute according to the plan. The Apostle Paul tells Timothy: “The things you have heard me say…” When following other leaders, who lead us to Christ, we need to validate the message. If we are under their authority, we must follow the chain of command, and submit to their God-given authority as if we were following Christ himself.
Leaders follow leaders. Great leaders want to follow great leaders. Leading leaders of leaders requires greatness. And the path to true greatness requires discipline, obedience and following the chain of command.
Are you disciplined in your walk with Christ? If not, how can you improve your game?
Are you letting the affairs of this world distract you from your mission to attack and destroy the enemy? If so, what can you do to get better about following the chain of command, give up control of your life, and get in line behind Christ?
Are you walking in obedience? If not, what are the areas of your life that you need to pull back in line so that you can please your commanding officer?