Reporting for Duty

Tom Bast

READ : 2 Timothy 2:1-4

No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. (v. 4)

John Wooden, the legendary basketball coach at UCLA, began the first practice of each new season by teaching his players, freshmen and veterans alike, how to put their socks on correctly. Everything starts with preparation.

Our preparation as Christian soldiers begins with a simple resolution: we must be ready to die. Samuel Johnson said that the prospect of being hanged “concentrates the mind wonderfully.” Our minds need to be wonderfully concentrated on dying to self and living to the Lord. This means that even as we go about our “civilian pursuits” we do not become so distracted by them that we lose our primary aim, which is to please the one who enlisted us in his service.

Prayer is basic to this endeavor. There is no better way to please God than to rejoice in his presence, insofar as is possible, every moment of every day. Thankful as we are for such moments when we are sensible of his presence, our focus needs to be on pleasing God in any and every circumstance.

This preparation for spiritual warfare may, by the grace of God, bring us into closer communion with him. It isn’t easy, because our vision is limited to the looming death before us, not the glory that lies beyond. But victory in each small skirmish prepares us to face the next.


Help us to remember that when we are faithful unto death a crown of life awaits us.