No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.2 Timothy 2:4 ESV
How am I entangled in “civilian pursuits”? How am I spending my time, talent, and treasure in pursuit of the world and my flesh? I know that I become entangled in this far too easily and begin to give all my energy to accumulating not only the physical things this world offers but the self-centeredness of pride, arrogance, and prestige. I get entangled in civilian pursuits when I care more about what my family or friends think than what the Lord expects of me. I am entangled when I focus on pleasing anyone and everyone around me and neglect to even contemplate the necessity of pleasing Christ.
This entanglement begins when I look around at how everyone else seems to be doing in this life. When I see those around me prospering, while I struggle to make ends meet. When I hear the expectation and disappointment in the voice of those around me. When life seems to be stuck and I continue to be at a loss. Fear creeps into my heart and breeds doubt. Doubt begins to chip away at my heart.
What is the antidote to these false pursuits? Pleasing Christ in all areas of life is the answer. It’s the intentional cultivation of loving God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength in all facets of my life. Every single area of the entirety of my life. It’s being relentless in both mortifying sin and maturing in righteousness. It has to be both at all times.
There has to be a continual revealing of darkness that lies within me. Confronting this darkness in repentance before God. Laying bare before Christ the shame and guilt. Then replacing this darkness with light. I can’t just focus on removing the sin alone, as this will only leave an open space needing to be filled. No, I need to fill that space with the righteous pursuit of the opposite. Is there anger in my heart that needs to be repented? Then fill my heart with love and reconciliation. Is there lust seeking sinful pleasure? Then fill my heart and mind with having joy in Christ. Putting off sin and putting on righteousness. Truly repenting as I turn away from my pursuit of this world and begin to pursue Christ.
I have the Spirit of Christ dwelling within and he will bring: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are the pursuits I need to fill my heart and mind. Delighting myself in the Lord will keep me from becoming entangled in this world and as I experience the love of Christ welling up inside me, the fleeting pleasure of this world will fade away.
Journal Entry // October 14, 2021