Summary: Christ’s soldiers should acknowledge three things about themselves.
Choosing Sides Part 2
Last week we saw how all of us are engaged in a war that is much bigger than we are. It’s been going on for ages, and whether we like it or not we’ve all become a part of it. At stake is our freedom and the freedom of all of mankind. Satan is the great enemy, a terrorist if you will, and he has been doing a wonderful job of keeping people in bondage, a trade off of sorts for peace and comfort. But is that freedom? Is that a life worth living? Jesus said, "I have come to give you life, and to give you an abundant life at that." He wants so much more for us than to just exist – to get up and eat and do our daily thing and go to bed and do that until we die. He has created us for a great purpose and in doing that purpose we find life – but not just any life – it is an abundant life!
We also said that you must choose whose side you want to be on – either Satan’s or God’s. It is my hope and prayer that you choose the Lord’s side – that you are enlisted in His army through a personal relationship with Him. If you refused to be saved, if you didn’t see the need to repent of your sin and confess it to God, then you are in Satan’s camp and you fight against the Lord, but there was a second way you can be one of his soldiers, and that is to do so as a child of God. You see, you can be in Satan’s army by refusing to be saved, but you can also be in his army by refusing to live for Christ.
The greatest battle you’ll ever fight is choosing whose side you want to be on.
One of my favorite Bible passages is Joshua 5:13. In this chapter, the Lord has been preparing Joshua to lead the people of Israel to destroy Jericho. They are only waiting on the Lord’s command to move now, and Joshua walks to some place in the Jordan valley from which he can view the city. He has just walked away from the people and is alone to think about this first battle in the Promised Land. Now the land of Canaan does not represent heaven as it is so often talked about. It does however represent the abundant life. The abundant life is the life Jesus wants to give to you. It is a life of blessing and great joy, but it is a life of constant growth and personal battles. In this Promised Land called the abundant life, there are many battles to fight. As Joshua advanced toward this lookout place, the Bible records the following scene:
"And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, "Nay; but as captain or the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, what saith my lord unto his servant? And the captain of the Lord’s host said unto Joshua, loose thy shoe from off thy foot, for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so."
Here it is – Joshua goes to survey the coming battle, and the Lord is already there with His sword drawn. Joshua walks up pretty close and asks Him, "Are you for us or against us?" The Lord replies, "No." What? What does He mean by no? It means this: It wasn’t Joshua’s battle. It wasn’t his side or Jericho’s side. It was the Lord’s battle, and Joshua needed to make up his mind whose side he would be on. It is the same for each of us today.
Every day there are countless battles being waged in our lives, and we survey them wondering how they will turn out. Some of you have been faced with battles of a sexual nature. Others have faced battles involving addictive substances. You may never see an illegal drug, but many a child of God has struggled with the addictive hold a cigarette or bottle has on him or her. There are the daily battles that involve hate and prejudice and bitterness and unforgiveness. Maybe you fight the battles of verbal abuse. You don’t want to talk that way to your wife or your children, but it comes out. Some of you wrestle with emotional abusive and maybe even physical abuse. Others fight the daily battles of neglect and divorce and fear and self-esteem. These are not the battles fought with fists or even wits, but instead they are the battles fought in front of the bathroom mirror or in the presence of peers.