“Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 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” (2 Tim 2:3-4).

One of the more unifying aspects of life in Israel is mandatory military service for men and women. Being a citizen means military service. All of us set aside our civilian lives for a period of time to do our part for a larger cause. We also raise our children with the expectation of dropping them off at the enlistment station one day. Service for country is not a voluntary sacrifice, but part and parcel of what it means to be an Israeli. Paul, who is in prison for his faith, describes the life of a believer with a military metaphor. It’s not at all clear to me where the prosperity gospel fits into his equation.

One thing is certain, however: we ought never be surprised when our walk with the Lord becomes incredibly uncomfortable, and times when God calls us to burn the wick at both ends.

We ought to be more surprised, or perhaps concerned, when life feels like one big picnic. Suffering for the gospel is part and parcel of what it means to be a citizen of heaven.

“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity” (2 Tim 1:8-9).

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