“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 Timothy 2:4
It seems like “the affairs of everyday life” increase with each generation. It would be interesting to know what came to the Apostle Paul’s mind when he used that phrase. Whatever it was, he warned Timothy that they were entanglements that could interfere with his service to the Lord. If that was true in the First Century, then it’s certainly timely advice for busy believers in the 21st Century!
So, what exactly does it mean to be “entangled?” Well, it’s the idea of becoming involved in an activity to the point of interference with other activities or objectives. Now, Paul doesn’t mean that we should ignore our responsibilities. That wouldn’t honor the Lord, either. Rather, his advice should cause us to be on the alert for the acceptable and good pleasures of life that can easily interfere with serving the Lord.
Avoiding entanglement is a frame of mind that largely determines what we do with our time and efforts. Since followers of Jesus Christ are primarily citizens of Heaven, then we should be busy with heavenly affairs. In other words, we should prioritize the eternal over the temporal.
Jim Elliot was a martyred missionary, and 2 Timothy 2:4 was his life verse. Before his death, Jim wrote in his journal, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Jim Elliot had an eternal point of view, which allowed him to discern between the permanent rewards of Heaven and the passing pleasures of the world.
It has been said, “If you find yourself loving any pleasure better than your prayers, any book better than the Bible, any house better than the house of God, any table better than the Lord’s table, any person better than Christ, any indulgence better than the hope of heaven—take alarm!” So, what about you? Is your time, energy, and affection given first to God for His purposes and glory? Or, does He get whatever is leftover? Just remember, when pleasing yourself takes priority over pleasing the Savior, it’s a sure sign you are entangled.