Reading through the Bible together
A soldier, an athlete, and a farmer—Paul uses these powerful personalities, to convey the persevering journey of the Christian. Who is the soldier? The one who follows the orders of his or her commanding officer and will “do or die” to carry them out, even in the midst of battle. The athlete is next— well trained, disciplined, focused upon the goal of winning regardless of the cost or personal sacrifice. And finally, Paul adds the portrait of the hardworking and faithful farmer who trusts God for the harvest.
My grandfather was a farmer and typical of most farmers I have known over the years. He was very methodical, innovative, soft-spoken, and even tempered. After all of his hard work and long hours enduring heat, cold, and dry spells, he expected a crop in the fall.
Paul then tells us in no uncertain terms that some of our problems can come from fellow church members or perhaps from a pastor, elder, deacon or deaconess. But Paul continues in verse 19, “Nevertheless the foundation of God stands sure, having this seal: "The Lord knoweth those who are His." And, "Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity!"
The Devil wants to tear us from God by prying us away from the church! He may use someone you looked up to—remember, it was the “church family” that crucified Christ! Don’t ever fool yourself—if you stop attending church because of someone or something that has happened, you are leaving the sanctuary where the Glory of God dwells. Follow Paul’s counsel and stand on the sure foundation! Be strong in Christ and resist the Devil from without and from within.
Dear Christian, be strong like a soldier, following your Commander’s orders, “Depart from iniquity.” Remember, “All of His biddings are enablings” (COL p. 333). Keep your eyes fixed on the prize, as a well-disciplined athlete—to one day stand on the Sea of Glass with your elder brother Jesus. And finally, trust as the farmer, who having patiently endured scorching heat, storms, and pestilence, also maintains complete faith that God will provide an abundant harvest: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance ….” (Galatians 5:22, 23).
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