There is a strong sense of resolve in a soldier—focus, determination. Soldiers have an objective. They eagerly put off things that might impede their efforts.
When writing to his young protégé, the apostle Paul used the picture of a soldier to emphasize a certain kind of resolve that all Christian leaders should have: “No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him” (2 Tim. 2:4). His resolve is qualified by his aim. Both aspects, his resolve and aim, describe for us key characteristics that will help us think in terms of conquering our goals.
A soldier has clear vision.
First, a soldier has an aim. It is “to please the one who enlisted him” (2 Tim. 2:4). To have an aim is to have a clear fix on something. It is to zero in on a target, draw a bead on a bull’s-eye. It defines an endpoint and clarifies an objective. It gives sight to a mission, meaning to a struggle. A soldier must take aim before he fires.
Repeated often is the phrase: “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never know when you reach it.” Knowing your destination is critical to getting there. Vision clarity is a step further. It is visualizing where you are going to draw motivation to get there. The clearer your vision, the more motivated you become. Here are seven descriptions of a soldier’s vision that will help us think more effectively about conquering our goals.
His vision is beyond himself.
The soldier desires to please the one who enlisted him, not himself. This is because he finds his mission elsewhere. It is not something limited by and to his own life and benefit. He fights in such a way that his superior would approve. This kind of clarity shapes his efforts and qualifies his labor. It clarifies how he must perform his duties and reach his goals—namely, in a way that pleases his superior. Our goals should be beyond ourselves to remove the focus from us.
His vision is bigger than himself.
The soldier’s superior always commands with a bigger picture in mind. There is something larger at stake. The soldier’s duties and responsibilities are a small part in a bigger war that his superior understands. And, though his specific role is small in comparison, it is still critical. His small battles help win the big war. The soldier must be mindful of that. We too should see the value of our small wins in light of the big picture God has for His kingdom.
His vision is connected to God.
A soldier having vision beyond and bigger than himself presupposes the superiority of those who command him. It goes without saying that his superior is superior. For a Christian, the superior is God, who is the Superior. This opens things up a bit more. God is never surprised and He never looses. His commands are not just right (Ps. 33:4), they are always effective (Is. 55:11). As Christians, we ought to visualize our goals as inextricably connected to God.
His vision is to glorify God.
The soldier who fights for something inseparable from his superior fights for the honor of his superior. As Christians, we wage war on our goals in order to bring honor to our God. We fight for His glory because it matters most to us. In what we do and in how we do it, we must “do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).
His vision is qualified by God.
If a soldier’s fight is connected to his superior and for the purpose of honoring his superior, then his fight is also defined by his superior. Likewise, a Christian must find the definition of his goals in God. As our superior, God discharges our roles and responsibilities. He determines what we fight for and how we fight. He qualifies our vision in order to bring focus to our fight.
His vision is strengthened by God.
There is something motivational about receiving commands from a superior. It puts the fire under our seats. It infuses us with strength and prompts us for battle. To Christians, the Lord’s commands are both inspiring and motivating. His words strengthen us for battle and give us the power to conquer the mission He gives us.
His vision is his pride.
Furthermore, a soldier finds his esteem and dignity in his superior. By pleasing him, he finds self-worth and honor. Likewise, Christians should find great honor in our work to glorify God. Obeying His commands, furthering His kingdom, and making His character more evident on earth brings a deep sense of joy. When our goals are aligned with God’s because they were defined in God, we can have a sense of pride in what we do and how we do it.
Tomorrow, we’ll look at a soldier’s resolve and how it speaks to our productivity as Christians. For now, consider your aim and how you glorify God with the things He’s given you. Do you have clear vision?