Wednesday, July 13, 2016

SAF to Be Safe

UV 2009/10000

SAF To Be Safe

Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
2 Timothy 2 v 3

The acronym SAF stands for soldier-athlete-farmer. We got to have this triune image of SAF imprinted in our hearts and minds in order to be safe and secure in our relationship with the Lord God. We need to be tough and resilient like a soldier and not a sentimental “namby-pamby.” Life with Christ and in Christ is difficult. IF it was extremely difficult for Jesus on earth, so much so, He being the dearest and only beloved Son of God shed sweat of blood and suffered such great agony, we cannot expect it to be much different for any of us. A life of faith is not for the weak-hearted but for the lion-hearted soldier in us who is ready to experience unknown and known threats, risks, difficulties, assaults and dangers. We need to have an attitude of toughness towards ourselves along with the tenderness and compassion towards others. Like a good soldier, we need to be prepared to fight the good fight, to put the enemy to flight and be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice of our lives. We need to constantly keep ourselves battle-fit and battle-ready in terms of spiritual warfare. We need to take care of our soldier’s kit and equipment to ensure these elements of our armour, our weaponry and transport are polished and in a state of good repair. We need to be obedient to our commanding officer, the Lord Himself and the people He has appointed over us. We need to be Spartan and cut out what is not needed in our schedules, relationships and lives. Our goal should always be victory and our confidence should not be in our abilities or our resources but in the Lord who we proclaim as Jehovah Nissi. The war banner over us in not hatred or hostility or violence but peace and love for all people. We are soldiers whose weapons are life-giving and life-enhancing. We are warriors for truth, peace and love.

As athletes, we should keep the rules. No stimulants or illegal performance enhancers borrowed from the world are to be ever consumed. We run with our focus on the crown the Lord has in His hands to reward all who finish. We have to cut the flab in our bodies and the slack in our lives by a life of discipline and self control. We subject our bodies to hardship in order to toughen it and make it obey the Spirit of God in us. We keep ourselves literally on our toes and listen and learn from those who mentor and coach us with an attitude of humility and submission. We train our appetites so that we are not drawn by things that adversely affect our health and fitness. We stay motivated and optimistic at all times even when the chips are down. Our focus is on reaching the finishing line, distant or close, with the same strength of faith with which we started or even greater faith. If the watchword for the soldier in us is endurance, for the athlete in us, it is stamina or staying power. As long as we stay with the Lord or abide in Him, we have power and our efforts will never be in vain. We do not do shadow boxing or chase illusions and mirages but we deal with the real.

As farmers, we need to prepare for the long haul. Our victory is not going to be instantaneous. We need to be patient. We need to read the weather of world events and prepare for the season we are in- whether it is a time of sowing, weeding, transplanting or harvesting. We would do our daily watering of the seed in us with the water of the Word. As farmers we know that we reap as we sow. If we sow in the flesh, we will reap in the flesh- sin, death, failure as wages. If we sow in the spirit, we will reap love, joy and peace. We remember that we are tenants and the Lord is our landlord. Anything we are or that we own can be added to or taken away by the Lord. As soldiers, athletes and farmers of Christ, we see the fruits of our faith ahead of time and hence, we are always filled with the peace and joy of the soldier that the war is already won on the cross, the joy of the athlete that the prize of eternal life is in our hands, the joy of the farmer that the harvest is plentiful and our little efforts have contributed by the grace of the Lord. We ought to remember that the image in which we have been re-created in Christ is SAF: a combination of soldier-athlete-farmer or one who fights for God, one who runs for Christ and one who sows and reaps in and for the kingdom of God.

Prateep V Philip

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