2 Timothy 2.4-6 describes, no one serving as a soldier gets entangled in the concerns of civilian life; he seeks to please the commanding officer. Also, if anyone competes as an athlete, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer ought to be the first to get a share of the crops.
These three descriptions of the Christian life reflect three different but necessary attributes for living the Christian life in a way that honors God and makes clear to men and demons that we are truly committed to Him and His ways.
The soldier reminds us to be focused exclusively on Jesus and His mission for His people. The soldier doesn’t choose his dress, his meals, his residency or his mission. The Christian is to consider everything as meaningless compared to loving God with all of his heart, soul, mind and strength.
Second, the athlete exemplifies faithfulness to the ways of God. The means for God to accomplish His will on earth as it is in heaven is to love our neighbor as our self. We build His kingdom by loving others as we love our self.
The athlete doesn’t choose the rules of the game but he chooses to play by those rules. The Christian looks to the Scriptures for the rules for living and faithfully follows those rules whether he likes them or not.
Finally, the farmer represents fruitfulness in the work of God. All men will know we are His disciples when we bear much fruit. If we are fruitless in the work of God perhaps we are not truly a disciple but rather a branch God has trimmed off His vine because we were not in Him and therefore doing nothing for Him. The whole reason the Church exists is to bring people to faith in Jesus.
Failure to execute God’s mission means the Church ceases to exist. This is not acceptable to God our Savior Who has commissioned us, commanded us, to go and make disciples. Obedience to this mission allows us to experience fruit in our lives.
Focused, faithful and fruitful are the attributes of the truly mature Christian and the Bible’s stated goal for all those who follow Jesus.