The way of the soldier

I RECENTLY watched the movie All Quiet on the Western Front, the brutally realistic WWI film. It made me wonder about things like duty, honor, and courage — and how it all becomes senseless in the thick of war. But still, the infantry soldier pushes forward.

When I was younger, I thought I wanted to be a soldier. And in some ways, the follower of Jesus is a soldier. I think about it in these terms…

You may not understand what it’s all about sometimes, but march forward with courage.

When you get dog tired and exhausted, dig down even deeper for strength.

Somehow find the energy to pick yourself up and keep fighting.

Even when you feel that can’t move another inch — crawl and claw your way forward if you have to.

You may not find rest for days, you may go hungry, but never give in to the enemy — as he will always seek an advantage over you — so stay alert and aware no matter how hard it is.

The enemy is ruthless, relentless — your determination must take the shape of steel to defeat him.

Stop at nothing when given the order to move forward.

Be nimble, focused, and quick.

Do not look back.

Look forward to victory.

Can we apply these concepts in a spiritual sense? We don’t want to take lives, but how do we care for souls?

Can we be relentless in our obedience to love and to God? Can we forgo rest and comfort when we know someone else is hungry or hurting?

Can we look Satan in the eye and say, “No. You will not move forward against me. My captain is the Lamb of God. He is the Rock of my salvation. I will not be afraid. I don’t care how hard it is. Life is worth it. Love is worth it.”

Blessed be the Lord, my Rock,

who trains my hands for war,

    and my fingers for battle;

my rock and my fortress,

    my stronghold and my deliverer,

my shield and he in whom I take refuge,

    who subdues the peoples under him.

Psalm 144:1-2

Make no mistake. A spiritual war rages out there. Hopefully you do not experience it in physically violent ways. But very near to you, lives are at risk. Souls slide quietly into the abyss. But great hope resides in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Do not be afraid of the fight. Lean into it instead. Take the fight to the devil. Pray hard. Feed on the Word. Join with the Body. May the Spirit energize and strengthen you to be a formidable force.

When it’s time to rest — rest well in the Lord. When it’s time to fight — go all in. Show up; take responsibility. Fight with all your might — but with humility and confidence knowing that Jesus has already overcome the world.

This is no exaggeration. Tens of thousands of Christians are persecuted or die for their faith every year. Do not let their blood be spilled in vain. Instead, take courage.

Rise up with the Lord. Deliver the Good News with confidence — as a faithful, courageous soldier of God. And use the weapons given to you.

The Gospel of peace.

Infinite mercy.

Loving sacrifice.

Indestructible faith.

The promise of Salvation.

May no weapon forged against you prosper.

Go forth with confidence to serve your neighbor and the Lord your God. 

. . . . . . .

for he has said, “I will never fail you nor forsake you.” Hence we can confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper,
I will not be afraid;
what can man do to me?”

Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God; consider the outcome of their life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever.

Hebrews 13:5b-8

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