A few days ago I was asking God to give me a word of encouragement for my husband. His job has been extremely stressful, and so fast paced that he barely has time to breathe. God did, and I was encouraged and blessed that I was able (through God), to help him gain his perspective and breathe. It was also a good reminder for myself, and one I believe we all probably need.
Take a look at what 2 Timothy 2:4 says from the NASB; “No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.” I love the thought…a soldier in active service, needs to keep his focus on what he’s been called to do, and not let all the other things in life around him screaming for attention distract him from his purpose. As a Christian, we are in the Lord’s army. We are soldiers of Christ, daily fighting battles all around us…but with one purpose…to let our lives… the way we live them…point always to Him, that others may come to know Him through us, and that we would please the One who has called us…enlisted us…saved us.
So what does it mean to get entangled in the affairs of this life? I believe we can get entangled many ways, many times without even realizing it’s happening. We are all busy…in many different ways. We all have responsibilities. We all have different loads to bear. But, I believe that whatever good we are doing, whatever stressful or busy circumstance we are in, if we are focusing all of our time and energy on that we become entangled. We get so caught up in “the affairs of this life”, the tyranny of the urgent, that we lose perspective of what is truly important. God, and any time with Him at all gets completely crowded out and we can no longer hear that still, small voice beckoning us to come.
A very long time ago, I remember hearing; “If satan can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy”. Boundaries. Margins. We all need them. No matter how many good and important things are screaming for us to tend to them, we need to prioritize. We need to spend time…even a few moments with God daily and let Him breathe some wisdom and discernment into our lives.
Take a look at John 10:10: “The thief comes only to kill, steal and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” Think about that for a moment in terms of our daily life. What is being destroyed in your life right now? What is satan (pardon me, call me crazy, I just don’t like giving his name a capital letter), trying to steal from you? Is he stealing your confidence, your joy, your peace? Time with God first…puts all the craziness into perspective. We have to learn to let go of some things…maybe many good things…for what is best.
As for my husband (how I love that man!), I simply reminded him that he cannot put out everyone’s fires all day, every day and still do his job (entangled). I reminded him of how he used to love what he does (God has truly gifted him and given him a talent, with a strong sense of integrity to go along with it.), and God has allowed him to make a decent living from it. Because of many things in his line of work that go on, satan has used it all to steal his joy, and nearly destroy his spirit in the process. Life has a way of beating us down if we let it, and satan loves nothing better than to jump on that opportunity when we are already overworked, overburdened, stressed and tired. Let’s not allow the deceiver steal and even destroy what we know, without a doubt, that God has given to us.
So, where does that title come from you might wonder? So glad you asked! Hebrews 12:1 tells us; “…let us throw off everything that hinders, and the sin that so easily entangles (there’s that word again!). And let us run with perseverance the race marked out before us.”
See, in all of our crazy, busy, chaotic and wonderfully blessed lives, we need to remember…if we are followers of Christ…that we are first – soldiers of Christ. If we are not looking to Him to set our priorities, they get out of whack. Then all the responsibilities, relationships, health problems, etc. (back to my little drawing), can actually hinder us from what God wants for us to do. When we allow all these things in our lives (good or bad), to become our main focus, it can become sin. For some, work can become an idol. For others, simply dwelling too much on a hurt or injustice can consume and discourage us. We become negative instead of thankful. There are many ways we can get entangled. We end up trudging through our days stressed, tired, without joy or thankfulness. We are to run with perseverance the race God has marked out before us! Life is a challenge. Are you up for it? Sometimes our circumstances in this life really stink. No doubt about it. Life can and does get horribly hard and at one time or another we all have to walk a hard road. But we don’t have to trudge through our days when we have Christ at our side. We can run the race He has marked out before us with joy…and a thankful heart. When we fix our eyes on Him, not on the problem, He will help us to run…above those problems in a supernatural way that cannot be explained.
Keep gazing toward the Son…fixing your eyes on Him.