I remember reading the book of Timothy some years ago, when I came across the passage where Paul said, “No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him” 2 Timothy 2:4.
This passage was profound for me in a season of transitioning to full-time church ministry as it confirmed what I sensed the Lord was calling me to. However, there is a wider application of this text for all believers, which is a call to be set apart for the Lord. It’s a call to turn from the ways of the world and to live by kingdom standards and principles.
Being set apart conveys the notion of being preferred, reserved, or separated for a purpose. We are called to be holy in our conduct and manner of life as God is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16).
I think one of the modern understated qualities of Christian living is the pursuit of holiness and being sanctified by the Spirit. This has sometimes been misunderstood for legalism or self-righteousness, whereas it is the right expression of being found in Christ Jesus. It is the quality of living like a vessel set apart for the purposes of God, similar to how the vessels in the Temple were used solely for the purposes of worship.
Paul reminds his readers of this truth in the book of Ephesians by saying that, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called” (Ephesians 4:1). Walking in the manner worthy of the calling, is to walk in holiness and to live like Christ as led by the Holy Spirit.
To be found in Christ, is to be set apart for the Lord. May we always be reminded of this truth as we live to please the ONE who ransomed us for himself.