As I look around at the Body of Christ, it seems to me that a lot of believers are stuck in the muck of life. Spiritually inert. Entangled.
Paul admonished Timothy, “ No [solder] engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier” (2 Tim. 2:4 – NKJV). The Greek word for entangle is pleko and can be illustrated by sheep that get their wool caught in thorns when they wander off – as do believers when they wander off from their commitment to Christ. ” Unless we keep vigilant watch on our thinking and spirit, we will become snagged on the thorns of popular philosophy and current social values. We must be on constant duty, guarding our commitment and our desires .” 1
“A soldier is a soldier and nothing else; the Christian must concentrate on his Christianity. That does not mean that he must engage on no worldly task or business. He must still live in this world, and he must still make a living; but it does mean that he must use whatever task he is engaged upon to demonstrate his Christianity.” 2 “…A good soldier of Christ Jesus refuses to allow earthly matters to interfere with the fulfillment of his duty to his Lord. Many Christians…have been undermined by concerns and activities that are innocent in themselves but have been allowed to crowd out the primary purpose of serving Jesus Christ in the advancing of His kingdom against the forces of darkness.” 3
Let me suggest four ways we can know when we are entangled in the world :
- When what I love and what the world loves are twisted together :
“ Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world ” (I Jn. 2:15, 16). (See Matt.27:29; 2 Tim. 4:10)
- When I am caught in the world’s corruption : “ If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning ” (2 Pet. 2:20)
- When I am choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures : ” And the seed that fell in the weeds—well, these are the ones who hear, but then the seed is crowded out and nothing comes of it as they go about their lives worrying about tomorrow, making money, and having fun ” (Lk. 8:14 – Msg.).
- When there is a random aimlessness about my life; a lack of focus : “…I do not run uncertainly (without definite aim). I do not box like one beating the air and striking without an adversary. But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel and things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit [not stand the test, be unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit]” (I Cor. 9:26, 27 – Amp. NT). (See Eph. 5:14-17; Phil. 3:10-14).
This week, may you experience His grace, peace, and protection.
R. Dwight Hill
1Holman New Testament Commentary – I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon.2Barclay’s Daily Study Bible (NT).3MacArthur New Testament Commentary, The – MacArthur New Testament Commentary – 2 Timothy