What to Do About “Civilian Matters" ?
AMPC No soldier when in service gets entangled in the enterprises of [civilian] life; his aim is to satisfy and please the one who enlisted him.
CEB Nobody who serves in the military gets tied up with civilian matters, so that they can please the one who recruited them.
NASB 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.
NET No one in military service gets entangled in matters of everyday life; otherwise he will not please the one who recruited him.
What to do about “civilian matters,” the “affairs of everyday life”? How much effort and attention should go towards work, entertainment, exercise, food, music, arts, yardwork, education, shopping, news, sports, and the like? As I see it, there are three options on the table:
Cast off restraint and just do whatever you want to do. Set your own priorities and choose your own activities. Do what’s right in your own eyes. That actually didn’t work out so well for Esau (Hebrews 12:16-17), and the Bible calls it “godless.” If people around you Care, they won’t let you make that choice unchallenged. It’s a choice with dire consequences, but it’s a choice you could make. Get pent up and legal, always second guessing yourself, never knowing for sure if you did “enough of this” or “too much” of that. You’ll make yourself miserable, and you’ll never get beyond trying really hard to “do the right thing,” because you’ll never be certain what that is. OR… You could actually See, and never forget, that you are a soldier and that Jesus is your commanding officer. You can make it your goal to please Him. You can view planet Earth as a battleground you parachuted into and view your life and choices accordingly. And know what? I bet if we look at ourselves and Jesus that way, we will do the “right amount” of work, entertainment, exercise, and so on without a lot of introspection and analysis and with far fewer judgment errors. And we’ll be able to help each other stay on track, since soldiers naturally help one another.
Option 3 is actually what we signed up for, if we are Converted. So this is really only a reminder, I hope. Let’s live there!