Sunday, June 4, 2006

Marching Orders

Soldier. Think about the sort of images and ideas that this word brings to your mind. Don't read beyond this point, just think about that word "soldier". What do you think about when you read that word?
Me, I think about discipline, training, sacrifice.
When engaged in battle, soldiers spend relatively less time in the actual engagement compared to the set up, and even all the training beforehand. Let alone the time when they are simply waiting for the engagement to begin.

God's training for us involves much discipline, hardships, instruction, tests and waiting on Him, long before He uses us in ministry and in spiritual warfare.

Much of Christianity today here in America is so comfort-oriented. It's almost like a self-help program: How can my life be bettered by Christianity? How can things be made easier for me? Will my needs be sufficiently attended to by Christianity?
Could you imagine a soldier asking such questions? An enlisted man asking these sort of questions of his drill instructor?? I don't think so!

And yet in a very real sense, we Christians are soldiers, warriors for God: unfortunately some in the history of Christendom have taken such ideas in a physical sense, and have killed in the Name of Christ. Of course, I'm talking about the Crusades, and the Inquisitions. This is NOT what Christ Jesus intended, nor did Paul the Apostle who was inspired to write Ephesians and 1st and 2nd Timothy.

2 TIM 2:3-4
"Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of [this] life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier." 

Endurance, that's another word I think of, when I think of soldier.

Jesus said Himself in JOHN 15:13 "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Thus the life of a soldier has been called the "most noble profession."

And in the Great, Invisible War of the ages, waged between the quite literal forces of good (God and His followers, angels and saints alike) and of evil (Satan, his evil angels, and unredeemed humanity, whether knowingly or ignorantly), the climatic Battle that sealed the fate of the entire War, spanning time from before the creation of man, and will continue right up to the end, just prior to the actual destruction of heaven and earth, the climatic Battle was won by the Son of God, GOD made flesh, as He hung on that cross in Judea, 2,000 yrs ago!

Thus as Christians, we do not march TOWARDS victory, but FROM victory. This is why Paul can say in ROM 8:37 "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us." We are more than conquerors, for conquerors in order to BE conquerors had to go out and well . . . CONQUER! Yet the LORD told Joshua in JOSH 8:1 "Fear not, neither be thou dismayed: take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land:"

Note: the LORD didn't say, 'I will give..." but rather, "I have GIVEN..." From God's point of view, it was a done deal. So Joshua and his armies didn't even have to fight? No, they had to show up, they had to do battle, but the victory was already assured, it was already given, it was as though it had already happened, just on God's say so. And God said so, as soon as Joshua dealt with the hidden sin of the people (namely Achan). Spiritual Victory rides upon the hosts of repentant sinners, who are cleansed, prepared and ready for the battle!

So too with our lives: we are given the promises of God, we have been assured of victory in Christ. There is nothing, Nothing, NOTHING that can be done with us, or to us that will EVER change that eternal truth. God's Word is truth, and though heaven and earth will pass away, His Word will NEVER pass away. His Word is more trustworthy than opening up your window and expecting to see the view of the earth and sky.

What are the weapons of our warfare? Paul tells us in

EPH 6:10-18

"be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places..
take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints"

I'd like to do an in-depth study on the armor of God (Look for it on The TRUTH Under FIRE!), but for now, let me ask you this: before a knight goes onto the battlefield, what does he get INTO? His armor, right? Well it's interesting that in Ephesians the phrase "IN Christ" occures 10x.

Jesus is our armor, that protects us from the onslaught of our vicous enemy that hates us violently with every fiber of his loathsome being (satan in case you hadn't guessed, heh). Whether you want to talk about the belt of truth... Jesus IS the Truth; the breastplate of righteousness... Jesus IS our righteousness; feet shod with the shoes of the gospel... Jesus IS the good news of our redemption; the helmet of salvation... the very name Jesus (Greek) is Joshua (Hebrew) which is a contraction of "YHWH saves."

So, our marching orders: lets get serious about our walks with the LORD! Let's be less concerned for our own comforts and wants, and focus on opening our ears and hearts to our KING, and say LORD lead me in Your will, empower me to obey and fulfill all Your will for my life, which belongs to You!

Let's get our Swords of truth, the Word of God dusted and off the shelf, read, learn, and apply to our lives; share with others to encourage and enflame them with the zeal and the love that the LORD would desire of us!
And among all the weapons in our arsenal, lets NOT forget prayer! If the sword of the Spirit is used for close-in engagements, you can think of prayer as catapults to strike the enemy at a distance.
What are we in this fight for? You may not believe as a Christian you are IN a war! In the daily grind of things, such an idea seems bizarre, but its true nonetheless.

May the Lord Jesus Christ Bless You All Way Too Much! NIKAEO AIONIOS AVRAS!



great post brother James and put very clearly even the "simply" should be able to understand this!!!

But it confounds the wise!!!

James J. Fire said...

That it does Granny, that it does. How it pleases the Father to conceal these things to the wise and prudent of this world - who think according to the wisdom of this world and its vain philosophies - and rather, reveals His precious truth and secrets to the simple, the 'babes' who belong to Him!
Thank you for the encouraging words Granny and may the LORD bless you!