Be like a good soldier of Christ Jesus
Praised be Jesus Christ. My name is Karol and I am the leader of the Community and School of New Evangelization “Sursum Corda” from Krakow. A community whose mission is closely related to that of the Redemptorists, because, like the Congregation, we want to proclaim the Good News about God, about God’s love for every person. We are an integral part of this mission.
Today I would like to share with you my personal experience of obedience. I have been a professional soldier for over 20 years. Obedience is part of my job and my identity.
“Be like a good soldier of Christ Jesus”, says St. Paul in his letter to Timothy. This is the word that guides me today as I share this testimony with you.
Many times, during my military service I had to obey. This obedience is accepting something that is not yours but that serves the other person.
This service to another person is connected with the Gospel – Jesus Christ came to serve you, to serve me. Service becomes more useful when you give a piece of yourself to serve. It often costs sweat and even blood. I experienced it because I also participated, apart from exercises and training in traverses, in foreign missions of the Polish Task Force.
And you had to obey everywhere, accept the will of the supervisor who knows more. As a single soldier you do not need to know everything. Many times I did not know everything and today I do not know it either. But I had to be obedient to the superior’s will, who knew more. For him I was extremely important in his operation. For this operation to succeed, he needed soldiers. And he entrusted a single soldier with the appropriate part. And you are to be responsible for your part in obedience.
Notice that Jesus Christ acted in obedience to God: “Dad, take this cup away from me; not my will, but yours be done.” Accept in obedience what is not yours. But that won’t enslave you more than it does enslave me! I see that when I come closer to God, when I begin to serve Him, that is, when I accept what is not mine, God guides and enables me. God gives His favors and sends His Spirit to my heart, to my family. In my family he is now in the first place! When He is first, everything is right. But this happens when I obey!
I see the image of obedience in one more issue.
My two sons are in my house. God has entrusted me with this responsibility and has trusted to me the grace of parenthood.
Does my young son have to listen to me? Does he have to obey me? Should he? Everything I do, everything I forbid him to do, is to protect him and reflects my love for him.
It’s the same with my relationship with God. He disciplines me, admonishes me, God shows me the way, He guides me. He does it out of love, as I in my family admonish and guide my son. It is me who has to take the first steps in society, at work, in the family and in the community – wherever God has called me. Before that, however, I am to invite God into my life. When I invite Jesus into my life, He is in front of me and He is my GPS, He guides me. He takes the first steps. I place my feet in His footsteps. And then I can lead my family responsibly. Then I can lead my community. Then I can guide others, especially those I love, those I care about.
This is my life: I come closer to him, I look at him and I follow him. He says: “Child, follow me!”. You see? the obedience to God is amazing! See what a Chief of Staff, see what a commander! “If you want, my child, follow me!” And every day I find joy in it and say: “God, I want to!” Because I know where this leads me to. Because I know that He is the best Dad, He is the best Superior. For my safety and my well-being, He never lets me out of his hand. He guides and enables. He sends the Holy Spirit. This is my experience of obedience.
Being obedient means accepting what is not yours. It is not yours! But that won’t enslave you. I have experienced it myself more than once. I accept what is not mine but God’s. Then God guides me, He enables me and strengthens me. Be obedient like Jesus Christ. And I will use this passage mentioned at the beginning: “Share in hardships and adversities as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim 2: 3) I want to be like Jesus Christ. And Jesus, in obedience to his Father, went to the cross and did the greatest thing. And I want to do great things because I want to be like Jesus Christ. I want to do great things because I have a great God. This is what I am destined to do, and I can do it. I am to be the best in everything that God calls me to do, but with the great humility that He Himself gives me when I obey.
God bless you. May He guard and guide you. Sursum corda!
Author: Carl Cierpica