Becoming a Soldier of the Cross
The Church will begin to take on more of a "military mentality" in the coming times. We are called to be an army, and in many ways we will start to reflect this in a much more serious and focused demeanor in the leadership and the people. There is something about conflict that does focus our senses. We have been in a war against darkness of the most desperate kind for the whole history of the Church, but not all seem to understand this or live as they would if they did understand it. This, too, will be changing as more of God's people come to this understanding.
It is important that we keep in mind that the greatest warriors are also the greatest worshippers, just as we see with King David. These two go together, and if they did not the hardship of battle could produce some very unchristian behavior in Christians. We will not be able to take the intensity of conflict and battle without being hardened--if we are not continually softened by worship.
A Different Kind of War
Ephesians 6:12 - For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkenss of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
We are also in the most different kind of war.
We are fighting to save people, not kill or wound them. We are actually fighting to help free and save many of the very ones who will be used to attack us. We are not warring against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces that are using them. We must keep, not only a softer attitude toward people, but we must love our enemies. We love our enemies because we are fighting for them, not against them. This truth requires a higher vision, a higher reality, than just looking at things in the natural. We must have our spiritual eyes open to see and live another reality. Therefore, the great call of these times is to fulfill II Timothy 2:3-4:
"Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 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."
A soldier does not enlist for a vacation. Though many may have become Christians because of a promise of health, wealth, or the solutions to their problems, true soldiers have enlisted with the very real commitment to be willing to go into harm's way, and if necessary, pay the ultimate price for their cause. True soldiers of Christ go even further, resolving to die every day to this world so that they live for the sake of the Gospel. True Christianity is a life of sacrifice.
As we are told in Matthew 16:25:
"For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it."
It is true that when we lay down our lives daily for the sake of the Gospel we find a fulfillment in life, peace, and joy in a way that is incomprehensible to those who do not know Him. There is no greater liberty that we could ever know than to be Christ's slave. To walk in the courage that it takes to be a soldier of the Cross is the path to the ultimate freedom--the freedom from fear.
If we have died to this world, then there is nothing this world can do to us. One who is dead does not fear rejection, failure, or anything else. As one great soldier said, "A coward dies a thousand deaths, but the courageous only die once." The paradox is that being a soldier of the Cross is at once the hardest thing we could ever do and the easiest life we could ever live. Even so, true soldiers do not serve for the rewards or benefits, but because it is the right thing to do. The Lord is worthy of this devotion. We were bought with the ultimate price, His own life, and we now belong to Him.
As Paul wrote in I Corinthians 7:35, "And this I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is seemly, and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord."
A factor we must prepare for is that the brighter the light of the Church becomes, the more threatened those living and loving the darkness will become, and the more they will attack her. Christians who are not prepared for persecution are not prepared. Like it or not, the brighter our light becomes, the stronger we become, and the more we will have to fight. Even so, there can be no victory without a battle, and the bigger the battle, the bigger the victory will be. We also have the great encouragement that we are on the side that cannot lose if we remain faithful.
LIKE KING DAVID I MAKE WORSHIP MY DAILY TOP PRIORITY.
I DIE TO THE WORD EVERY DAY FOR THE SAKE OF THE GOSPEL.
EVERY DAY AND IN EVERY WAY GOD IS OPENING THE EYES OF MY UNDERSTANDING TO SEE INTO THE HEAVENLY SPIRITUAL REALITY.