Summary: Keep on the firing line!
Onward, Christian Soldiers
We love to sing the song, "Onward Christian Soldiers", but do we have a clue as how to prepare and fight a spiritual war? Do we have the commitment and intestinal fortitude to fight to the death like our forefathers? I have many doubts that we are or would. Many were incensed and inflamed over the September 11th tragedy and yet they seem to be tiring of the war already. We want a microwave war that is over in thirty seconds and then complain about how long it takes even then.
I do not know how long this current war will last, but humanity has been in one since Adam fell and the fighting has intensified since the Church has been established after Calvary. The only problem is that the fighting has intensified on the side of evil while the folks with the armor of God have gone AWOL, deserted or defected. They have been critically wounded because they left down their guard thinking they were on permanent R&R or that the war was over.
While this war has been ongoing for millennia it will continue for at least 1007+ years and only God knows how many more the plus are. The victory has been won, but there will still be skirmishes and even major battles until the final cease-fire is called. There are no civilians or neutral non-participants to be declared collateral damage. Everyone is on the battlefield. Everyone has chosen a side. The enemy knows how to equip and prepare his soldiers for combat. The Lord does as well, but the recruits do not always listen to commands or show up armed and in uniform. It is time for that pattern to cease.
First let us see how to prepare for spiritual warfare.
2 Tim 2:1-7
1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2 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.
3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
4 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.
5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.
6 The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.
7 Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. (KJV)
We must be made strong in the grace of Christ. Strong is a form of dunamoo from where we get our word dynamite. Literally, we are to be empowered with an explosive ability or one that will do damage to the kingdom of satan. We receive that empowerment through God’s grace not our efforts. We can do physical training five hours a day and still be as weak as a newborn babe spiritually. To be effective in the battle we must receive the strength and power he will endue us with as we surrender to His will.
What we learn we are to take and share with others who will then go and do the same. We go from recruit to Tactical/Drill Sergeant training others. We are not to be tin soldiers dressed up for a parade. We are trained to do battle and to train others. While we are doing this we should expect to come upon times of hardship. War is hardship and soldiers experience hardship. When we are fighting with our comrades in arms we become partakers of their afflictions. It is no longer about us, but about teamwork, mission, duty, honor. We do not wimp out! We shape up and endure the hardness as a good soldier.
We do not get wrapped up or entwined with the things of this world. Soldiers must be ready to move out and fight at a moment’s notice so we keep our powder dry and our packs light that we might respond rapidly and effectively to please our Commander. Whatever we accumulate while in garrison we must be ready to leave behind for we cannot carry much into a firefight. We must have the strength and mobility to cross over rugged terrain and engage in hand-to-hand combat. Too much baggage weighs us and wears us down making us vulnerable to attack. He who dies with the most toys does not win. He just dies and leaves it behind losing the battle if not the war.
Like an athlete and farmer, if we are to be good soldiers we must know what our goals are and then be consistent in taking the steps required to meet those goals every day rain or shine without shortcuts or cheating. Slackness makes weakness and weakness sets you up to be a casualty. No consistency or commitment results in no crown, no fruits, nor victory. If you prepare yourself by this exercising of the mind the Lord will put it all together and give you understanding of what else you need.