4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. 5 Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. 7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this. 2 Timothy 2:4-7
With three short statements, Paul showed us how to keep focused. Having been a soldier and an amateur athlete, I know what it takes to obey my superiors and the rules placed up me. Not doing so in both instances was a recipe for disaster. They both had their consequences. The farmer in Paul’s illustration is also focused on harvesting his crop lest he and his family go hungry.
Combined with verse 3, “Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus,” Paul let us know that we should be focused the goals of our Master.
What are those goals? Well, it’s living the Christ-like life. It’s dying to self daily. It’s focusing on what matters to God. It’s living a Godly life in Christ Jesus through the help of the Holy Spirit. Actually, it’s quite a few of these and more because they are so closely woven together.