I was recently having a conversation with a teenager who is convinced that God is calling him to join the army. He is well aware of what this will involve in commitment, self-sacrifice and risk and knows that a high standard will be required of him if he is to be accepted for officer training. Nevertheless, this particular teenager has no other aspirations than to be a soldier. He sees the army as his calling in life.
The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy from prison - probably guarded by Roman soldiers. He had a lot of time to compare the Christian life with that of a soldier. He knew that the Christian life was warfare and that the soldier was provided with armour to put on and weapons to use. The ‘Good soldiers of Jesus Christ’ are so called because they are dedicated to Him, and have no other desire than to please Him.
Soldiers on active service cannot expect an easy time. Hardship, risk, sacrifice and suffering are part of their calling. When the going is tough, the soldier cannot simply leave the army. He has committed his life to a cause and he can’t give up. The Christian life is the same. The true Gospel doesn’t offer easy options – it calls for dedication to the Commanding Officer and a commitment not to get entangled in those things that distract from wholehearted surrender to the cause of the One who enlisted him.
From time to time every Christian is faced with a battle. The enemy attacks from within and without but we are not left helpless. We can take the weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left hand – the weapons that belong to every believer in Jesus. These weapons are the Word of God, the blood of Jesus and the power of a good testimony to Jesus Christ. The weapons we have are not the weapons of the world and they have divine power to demolish strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4).
Charles Wesley wrote encouraging words that apply to every believer – ‘Strong in the Lord of Hosts, and in His mighty power, who in the strength of Jesus trusts is more than conqueror’.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I put my trust and confidence in You today. You have called me to be a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Forgive me for any double-mindedness in the past as today I make it my goal to commit myself to the battle for the cause of Your kingdom. Amen.
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