Are You Armed and Dangerous
Are You Asleep or Daydreaming?
I think the church today is as a whole very apathetic. We are supposed to be in a battle, yet most of us are napping. Daydreaming can be dangerous!
Once, daydreaming cost me dearly! I was in my ninth grade Physical Education (P.E.) class and our coach decided our class assignment would be to play softball. I did not care about softball. Softball playing might involve sweat and dirt. Not for me! So, I did what I usually did, went out into the outfield and pretended to pay attention. After several balls went whizzing by me without me even noticing, the coach decided she would force me to pay attention. "Come up here, you're going to be our next catcher." Obediently, I trotted up to home plate, crouched down into my idea of what a catcher's stance would look like, positioned my hands just so, and then went back to daydreaming. If I had been paying attention at all, I would realize the next hitter had a habit of stepping back when she connected with the ball. But no, I was occupied with thinking about whatever ninth grade girls dream about. Smack! The batter connected with the ball by first smacking my hand with the bat. Needless to say, I had a broken hand to deal with for the next six weeks.
It could have been avoided if I had just been alert! Spiritually speaking, how many times could failure have been avoided if we had been awake, armed and ready for battle.
The Word says we are to be a good soldier of Jesus Christ!
Actually, we are going to have times of Enduring Hardship!
"And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. 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." 2 Timothy 2:2-4
Have we gotten ourselves so wrapped up in this earthly life that not only are we no threat to the enemy, we don’t even realize we have an enemy?
As some of you know, I am getting a new son-in-law, and he is in the military. As I have been hearing about him going to basic training and the changes he is going through, I started thinking of our call to be soldiers for Christ.
Training for Christ
When a soldier goes to boot camp, he has to train.
A Christian soldier has to study. Instead of building physical muscles, he needs spiritual muscles.
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15
When the enemy tries to lie to you, if you know the word, you can tell what the truth is.
"Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31-32
When satan tries to bind you up with lies, the truth makes you free. You don’t have to fall into the trap that is laid before you when you know better!
"I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." John 15:5-7
If you have been abiding, dwelling in His Word, fruit will start showing in your life. Remember what happened to the disciples? People took note that they had been with Jesus. They knew they were unlearned men, no college degrees, no fancy titles, yet there was just something commanding and powerful about them. It was the Jesus in them!
It takes work to really know the Word! I’m not talking about reading the bible through in a year (although that’s a good thing). Many times when people are on a quest to read the bible in a year, they are racing along and not really letting the word sink deep down in their spirit. They are not meditating or memorizing it. I’m talking about getting the word deep down in your spirit where you really KNOW what it says. That takes work – it takes effort!
A military man might have to hike 20 miles wearing all his equipment.
Can’t we work just as hard learning to be soldiers for Christ?
Look like a Soldier
A soldier also gets a new wardrobe, army fatigues, army boots, dress uniform, all the equipment necessary for battle.
A Christian soldier also has battle equipment, new shoes and clothing:
"Wherefore 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" Ephesians 6:13-18
All the equipment is defensive except praying and using the word of God. We have to study to know the word of God. We have to be sure that nothing hinders our prayers.
"Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered." 1 Peter 3:7
God cares how you treat your spouse - it could hinder your prayers! (Ladies, this includes you!) Unforgiveness can hinder you:
"And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses" Mark 11:25-26
Praying is a Christian soldier’s way to wage warfare. We are to be interceding for one another. We are to be in constant communication with the Holy Spirit so that when He wants us to move, we move, when He wants us to speak, we speak, when He wants us to be silent, we are quiet.
Remember, our weapons are not Uzis and derringers, bombs and swords. Our weapons are the word of God and prayer.
"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" 2 Cor. 10:3-5
It’s hard work to bring every thought into captivity! An apathetic person can’t do it, a daydreamer sure can’t do it!
Soldiers Are Alert and Vigilant
Soldiers have to take turns being a watchman. It would be really embarrassing to be caught asleep on your watch. You might be thrown in a brig (or worse) if you were caught.
Christian soldiers need to be alert at all times, too.
"Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world." 1 Peter 5:7-9
A soldier could be ambushed at any time. A soldier may not know when his leading officer will tell him to attack the enemy.
In the same way, we don’t know when a battle is coming:
"Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Mark 14:38
We don’t know when the Day of the Lord will come.
"Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming." Matt. 24:42
"But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man." Luke 21:36
"So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober" 1 Thess. 5:6
We are called to be watching!
Soldiers obey their commanders without question.
God expects us to obey.
"And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him." 1 John 2:3-5
Instead of feats of daring, He would rather know that He can count on us to obey.
"And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice..." 1 Samuel 15:22
Don’t get a discharge! Keep on Keeping On
Sometimes soldiers get discharged, honorably, dishonorably or for medical reasons.
Christ said in the last days, the elect would grow cold towards Him:
"And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." Matt. 24:12-13
"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not" Galatians. 6:9
"But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing" 2 Thessalonians. 3:13
Examples of Endurance
"For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise." Hebrews 6:10-15
"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin." Hebrews 12:1-4
See, don't be slothful (or lazy), run your race! Endure!
Even the longest battles are eventually over.
Eventually the tour of duty is over, the soldier goes on leave.
The Christian soldier goes through trials and tests, but they end.
"Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivereth them out of them all." Psalm 34:19
As long as we are on this earth, we face struggles and tests. This is not heaven on earth. (I’ve come full circle, right back to where I started!)
Here’s the good news:
Soldiers are often decorated for their bravery.
Earthly soldiers received stripes, badges and medals. Sometimes outstanding feats of bravery will net them a Purple Heart, but Christian soldiers will get crowns and gold!
"Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him." James 1:12
"And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." 1 Peter 5:4
"when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold." Job 23:10
Father, help us to be trained and armed for battle. Help us to be alert and obedient. Let us not grow cold but endure to the end. Help us win battles for You!