Summary: Serving in the Lord's army is a great honor but also includes many responsibilities. Our marching orders are to evangelize the world with the Gospel!
It was already almost a week ago when the incredible news hit that Osama bin Laden was killed by an elite squad of Navy Seals. We probably never will know the names of these brave men but they are due our thanks and gratitude for risking their lives for the country.
We as followers of Jesus Christ are also called “soldiers” according to 2 Timothy. What does that mean? Well, we too are at war. We too need expert training and are constantly being deployed against the enemy. Our aim as 2 Timothy 2:4 tell us is to please the one who enlisted us.
Another very well known branch of the military is the Ranger Regiment of the US Army. They too are specially trained and equipped for special operations such as those in Pakistan. I came across “the Ranger Creed” and I’d like to read it this morning:
“The Ranger Creed”
Recognizing that I volunteered as a Ranger, fully knowing the hazards of my chosen profession, I will always endeavor to uphold the prestige, honor, and high esprit de corps of my Ranger Regiment.
Acknowledging the fact that a Ranger is a more elite soldier who arrives at the cutting edge of battle by land, sea, or air, I accept the fact that as a Ranger my country expects me to move farther, faster and fight harder than any other soldier.
Never shall I fail my comrades. I will always keep myself mentally alert, physically strong and morally straight and I will shoulder more than my share of the task whatever it may be. One-hundred-percent and then some.
Gallantly will I show the world that I am a specially selected and well-trained soldier. My courtesy to superior officers, neatness of dress and care of equipment shall set the example for others to follow.
Energetically will I meet the enemies of my country. I shall defeat them on the field of battle for I am better trained and will fight with all my might. Surrender is not a Ranger word. I will never leave a fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy and under no circumstances will I ever embarrass my country.
What are the crucial points of being a “good soldier” for Christ? Of being “the best”?
1) Know who you are fighting for!
The Rangers make a vow to serve their country. They will never betray the country they serve. There is no doubt who they serve – they are proud of their country and are willing to die to protect it.
As Christian soldiers, it may seem very natural that it’s the Lord whom we serve but deep down many times we discover that it’s something else at the heart of what we do – even in church.
Sometimes we fight for our reputation – I want to look good in front of others. Sometimes we fight for our congregation’s growth and success. Sometimes we fight for the Lutheran church, or the AFLC, sometimes for a particular cause. None of these areas are what or who we ought to be fighting for.
As soldiers, we are “fighting” for Jesus Christ! “a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” Remember the children’s song: “we’re in the Lord’s army”? Are you? Or are you following someone or something else? Philippians 1:20-21 “as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Christ must be exalted. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords and we are his children. We are an Elite group of people – a chosen profession – to glorify the King!
The moment “our” ministry, success, reputation, popularity, etc. becomes our chief goal is the moment we lose the blessing and power of God. He is to be glorified as our chief and highest authority. John said HE must increase, I must decrease!
2) Know who you are fighting against (know your ENEMY)
One thing that any army must do to win a battle is study it’s enemy. Today it seems that everyone is reading about Islam and what they believe. We want to know how they think and then we’ll know how they will attack and how to defend ourselves. We need to know the weapons they have, the motives, the training, the size of army, etc. etc. As Christians, our strategy is not different. We must know everything about our enemy.
Who is the enemy? Ephesians 6:12 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Not a physical enemy. It’s a spiritual enemy. There are spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. It’s not people who are our enemies because those who are causing problems for us are not the enemy, it is Satan who has deceived them. It’s always a spiritual battle! Pray for them. That their eyes would be opened.