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No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. 2 Timothy 2:4 (NIV)

Military service is far more appealing during times of peace than in times of war. Growing up in the 1960’s, I remember the protests and controversy surrounding the Vietnam War. Every year the military drew dates for the draft. Those dates became the order in which men were required to report for military service and inevitably deployment overseas. The higher your number, the more likely you were to be chosen.

With few exceptions, there was no way out of fulfilling your requirements. Those that were called and survived left as boys and, the lucky ones, returned as men who’d seen things no man alive would want to see. But they hadn’t been called to be tourists. They were called as soldiers with a job to do.

It’s interesting that Paul makes the analogy of the servant of Christ and a soldier when he writes to his young protégé, Timothy. All those in the Mediterranean world knew about soldiers. Rome’s tight grip on the world was due to the presence of a well-trained and disciplined army. There may have been atrocities, but the main goal of the soldier was to keep Rome strong and they did very well at it for hundreds of years.

Soldiers aren’t called to live in peace, they are called to acquire and keep the peace. As soldiers for Christ we must remember that we are at war. Our main charge is not to develop strong churches and cool programs. While worship of almighty God is essential, one must never forget that we have but one command from our commander and that command is spelled out very succinctly in Matthew 28. We are to make disciples and teach them about Jesus.

Jesus didn’t make disciples from good, church-going men and women. He didn’t spend his time preaching to the choir; in fact he made it clear he was called to make disciples and followers from the sick, the destitute, and the immoral. The healthy don’t need a doctor, the sick do.

Each of us is called to be a soldier for Christ. Our primary job is to live the gospel of Jesus Christ out in a way that shows the world they can experience forgiveness and freedom from the sins and struggles that hold them captive.

Whether you are in full-time ministry or a factory worker, a teacher or a hamburger flipper, your mission is the same. Disciples aren’t made through well-designed programs or social media. Disciples are made through hand-to-hand combat.

As a soldier for Jesus, who can you touch today? Who do you know in your circles that need to feel the encouragement, forgiveness and freedom of the grace you have received through Christ? They don’t need to hear your sermons. You don’t need to have a seminary degree to show them the way. You just need to be willing to share your life with them.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, you have called us to be a soldier in your army. Empower us with your Spirit to stay true to our calling so that we may win others to you. Amen.

A person’s steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand their own way? Proverbs 20:24

Once upon a time there was a commander of an army. He was a very wise Commander. He knew every move the enemy would make. His weapons were far superior to anyone else’s. His fighting men were given every opportunity to prepare for battle.

One day, word came to the commander that an enemy army was coming to destroy his kingdom. His weapons were in place. His battle plan was flawless. His men were ready…well, almost ready.

A call to arms was issued and everyone reported as trained. But just before the army was to embark on this mission, a mission which was destined to succeed because of better weapons and a superior strategy, trouble arose. One of the men approached the commander and said, “Sir, I don’t understand your plan. In fact, I’ve been talking with my friends and they don’t really understand your plan either.

Soon a murmur spread through the crowd. Some openly began to doubt the commander’s plan. Some of the men in the back ranks even questioned whether the commander was even real. Others argued that he was real alright, It’s just that his plan is outdated and his weapons too weak to overpower the enemy. Still others questioned the wisdom of going to war and complained that they were being confined by the strict rules of the commander.

The commander stopped. He began to go to each of his men to explain every move, the strategy of the enemy, the results of various other battle plans and how they would be benefitted by following his way. One by one, the men began to understand. However, in the time it took for the commander to explain every part of the battle strategy, the enemy overcame him and his nation was defeated, even though he was stronger and smarter than the enemy.

Silly story? Yep. But don’t we tend to take the same attitude when it comes to our Heavenly Father? We claim to have faith but we lack trust. Faith says I believe God is real and able to defeat my enemy. Trust says that even when I don’t understand the process God takes, I follow Him without question.

Several times in scripture we are likened to soldiers and this journey we call life is referred to as a battle. Our commander, Jesus, knows our heart. He knows what makes us afraid. He knows our limitations and weaknesses. He wants nothing more than for us to experience a close, loving relationship with Him

To be sure, there will be times when we don’t understand His ways. There will be times when we may lack a clear view of His presence. We may be battered and bruised by our decisions or the abuse of others. That doesn’t mean Jesus has left us. A good commander may put his men in a position that challenges them, but He will never allow them to be completely destroyed.

Trust in God’s plan doesn’t mean we’ll understand everything He puts in our way. Trust in God plan means we endure the hard times because we know that victory comes in the end. Every day, every moment, every nano-second of our lives are carefully planned by a loving, merciful, all-powerful God. You won’t understand everything He does-guaranteed! But by growing in relationship with Him you will learn how to fight the battles that come across your path.

PRAYER: Father God, I look back at my past and forward to my future and at times really struggle to know why things went the way they did. I ask that you would forgive me for doubting your plan and empower me by your Holy Spirit to trust your ways over mine. Thank you that my commander understands my every fear. In Jesus name, Amen.

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February 2023
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